Jesus is very MIGHTY!

jayso edemE.L.

As soon as this song came on I knew I was going to love it.  “Mighty Jesus” by Ghanaian artists Edem, Jayso, & E.L. is a Christian hip hop/rap song. These artists are using their God-given talents to give thanks to the highest of highs. It’s very crazy how God works. Who would have known that this song would come up for me to review. This song is something that I definitely needed to hear during this time in my life. Every morning before I start my day I play music similar to this song.

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HHAP Episode 9: A Discussion with Edem on Hip Hop and Language in Ghana

This episode is a conversation with Ghanaian hip hop, hiplife, and reggae artist Edem. Edem is one of the first hip hop artists to rap in Ewe. Many other Ghanaian hip hop artists perform in Twi or Pidgin English. In this conversation, we discuss hip hop and hiplife in Ghana. When it comes to hiop hop, Ghana follows its own rules. The relationship between hip hop and Hiplife in Ghana is an ongoing debate. This conversation with Edem covers that, as he explains how he uses different sounds and different languages in his music. Edem, like many artists in Ghana, has moved between genres, sometimes mixing genres in the same song. As one of the few artists to rap in Ewe, Edem also discusses the importance of language and culture in his music. As an artist, his music reflects his African, Ghanaian, and Ewe identities, something that Edem feels has been important in establishing himself as an artist.

Episode Outline:
Introduction
“The Legacy” (7:20)
“Angels and Demons” (11:20)
Conversation (13:45)
Outro with “Gbevu” (50:52)

You can find Edem online on several platforms: Edem’s music can bought on iTunes | on Facebook | on Twitter @iamedem

This episode is a conversation with Ghanaian hip hop, hiplife, and reggae artist Edem. Edem is one of the first hip hop artists to rap in Ewe. Many other Ghanaian hip hop artists perform in Twi or Pidgin English. In this conversation, we discuss hip hop and hiplife in Ghana. When it comes to hiop hop, Ghana follows its own rules. The relationship between hip hop and Hiplife in Ghana is an ongoing debate. This conversation with Edem covers that, as he explains how he uses different sounds and different languages in his music. Edem, like many artists in Ghana, has moved between genres, sometimes mixing genres in the same song. As one of the few artists to rap in Ewe, Edem also discusses the importance of language and culture in his music. As an artist, his music reflects his African, Ghanaian, and Ewe identities, something that Edem feels has been important in establishing himself as an artist.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 9: A Discussion with Edem on Hip Hop and Language in Ghana”

Ghanaian Groves

I’m relatively new to the intricate and unique sounds of African Hip Hop. There is a great sense of diverse sounding Hip Hop that I’m simply not used to nor was I aware of.  One thing that I’ve learned in my new journey into sound is the amazing music that is produced by Ghanaian rap artists. The Hip Hop scene in Ghana is responsible for producing some of Africa’s rawest sounding artists. Artists like Reggie Rockstone, M.Anifest, Wanluv The Kubolor, Tinny, Sarkodie, the list goes on. With that being said my discovery of Edem’s Gbevu was pleasantly on par with my expectations. Edem is a popular Ghanaian rapper who spits in ewe. For myself, I personally find his music a bet refreshing because the language barrier is easier to manage. Although this is not a socially conscious track I believe it has major international potential.

The instrumental to the track Gbevu has an almost Ghanaian/ middle eastern flavor. It’s pleasantly similar to a sound that Timberland the american super producer would create. I would like to note that the sounds of auto-tune here are pleasantly layered over his chorus vocals.  When I watched the official video for the track I instantly noticed the familiar fashion. Everything from the skinny jeans tucked in timbs, Adidas tennis shoes, Hennis & Morits sweatshirts, snap-back hats, ray band sunshades, form fitting extended length T shirts look American.

There are even instances in the video where popular american dances are either mentioned or subtly performed. (Edem mentions and does the migos’ Dab at 1:11 in the video above followed by a milly rock at 2:20) I mentioned that because I’m happy to see integration of African American culture with Ghanaian culture.  Growing up African in America its popular to believe that Africans in Africa want nothing to do with African-Americans or their culture. Seeing things like American dances, fashion and even hearing american influences debunk that belief. Edem is an amazing talent and I look forward to discover more tantalizing sounds of the motherland.

 

 

Ghana’s Hip Hop Artists

In this post I will analyze two different Ghanaian hip hop artists. The first is rapper Edem who has released two albums in his career so far. In Edem’s song Heyba he slams all of his competition claiming he is the best. “Heyba” translates into English as “Not on my level” Although the music is not in English, I found a website that translates the lyrics into English here.

In class we discussed how rappers from other countries make references to American culture. In order to do so however, one must be familiar with pop culture references as well as language. In the song Heyba, Edem makes references to Italian wine and Irv Gotti. Meaning that Edem is familiar with American hip hop culture.

The music video was extremely appealing. The women in the video were dressed in traditional African dress and makeup. The video had a scary element to it. At one point face were coming out of the wall and there was even a bengal tiger in the video. All of these elements were combined to show the power that Edem has as a rapper.

The second video by hip hop artist Sarkodie called Take it Back has the same scary feel to it. Again showing the power Sarkodie has a rapper. Although parts of the song were in English it was still difficult to understand. The visual elements help viewers to accurately understand what the artist is trying to say exactly. At one point in the video there is a person with a gas mask on burning a sign that says “weak flow” possibly referring to his competitors. From the video and lyrics combined my understanding is that maybe someone dissed him in another rap song and this is his reply to that song.

The videography in both songs were strong and appealing. They allowed for great entertainment and were visually stimulating.

 

Edem f. Sway “The One”

The video “The One” by Ghanaian hip hop artist Edem, featuring Sway tells an alternate story of the Gold Coast’s (now Ghana) interactions with Europeans. The video’s story begins in the Gold Coast in 1482 and shows European exploration of the region. The video shows powerful images of European exploration of Africa and the attempted enslavement of Africans.

Showing quotes such as: “The man in chains will break free from his captives & overcome his struggle” and “…this will never be repeated”, the video is a visual revolt against slavery. The video appears to be shot in one of the castles along the southern coast of Ghana. In the video the Africans break their chains and take back their freedom.

In one especially important scene, the video shows a man who is king looking out onto the ocean at the ships of Europeans in the distance. We next see him as a captive, captured and enslaved by Europeans. Instead of giving up and accepting his enslavement, the man stands up to his captors. Handcuffed, he stands up and attacks a European to save a fellow enslaved African from being killed. Even though the Europeans have stripped him of his crown, the former king leads a revolt and escape, in which others who have been captured take their freedom.

The video fits with the song in an interesting way. It’s a show of African men, refusing to submit and taking their freedom and maintaining their dignity in the face of European power. Given the historic impact of slavery on what is today Ghana, the use of this story in the video of two Ghanaian artists shows the importance of this history to Ghana today. It also shows that while Europeans invaded the people in the region, the dignity of the people remained, allowing Edem and Sway to stand and represent for those who stood tall in the face of European oppression.

One of the most important points of the video is that the Africans do not give up and they do not beg for freedom. As an African and an activist this is an important lesson for African youth, especially today. We are no longer enslaved or colonized, but we are still being oppressed. In the media, and even in other videos by African artists, artists try to be as European as possible and not to love their culture and what they have. It is good to see African artists representing our culture so strong.