In this palaver, we have a lively chat with Ghanaian hip hop/hiplife scholar Dr. Nii Kotei Nikoi. We talked about the hiplife and hip hop music industry in Ghana, especially one of the country’s most popular artist’s Sarkodie. Nii discusses the structure of Ghana’s music industry, the way artists construct their images, and the role of class (and language) in Ghana’s popular music scene. We also get into an interesting conversation around collaborations between African and Diaspora artists in Beyonce’s Black is King project and the depictions of Africa in the Black Panther film.
Nii Kotei Nikoi is an assistant professor of Global Media and Digital Studies at The College of Wooster in Ohio. He studies African popular culture, and has a special focus on how popular culture reinforces and challenges existing ideas around race, gender, and sexuality. His work is influenced by his background in graphic design and documentary photography. Currently, his research examines development discourse in Ghanaian popular culture.
Check out his latest article, “Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life.” in the International Journal of Communication 14 (2020): 19.
He also hosts the podcast Our Culture. Season 1 of the podcast includes on several reflections on a range of topics.EPISODE CONTENTS 1:50 The performance of material success in popular music in Ghana 8:08 The popular use of Ghanaian languages and clothing in the Ghanaian music scene 15:00 An analysis of the class divides and language choices in the beef between Sarkodie and M.anifest 26:20 The participation of women in hiplife 33:17 African scholars doing (hip hop) research at home 48:03 I try to get Nii to take the bait and engage in the discussion on Nigerians “borrowing” music from Ghana 52:52 Beyonce & the collaboration with African artists on the Black is King project 1:03:03 Black Panther & the homogenization of Africa, and the presence of Africa film industry in general
In March of 2017, Ghanaian hip-hop sensation Shatta Wale formerly known as Bandana released the hit “Taking Over” featuring fellow Ghanaians Joint 77, Addi Self and Captain. This smash hit, produced by Willisbeatz, boasts the beauty of the nation. With each artist comes their own interpretation of what makes the nation as beautiful as it
The song BRKN LNGWJZ by FOKN Bois is a song that really embodies the discussion revolving around the use of different languages in social settings. FOKN Bois is a Ghanaian rap group that consists of Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa. In this song, Wanlov and M3nsa talk about what makes them who they are and
Crowned King of Ghana Hip-Hop in 2017, M.anifest is nothing to play with. He is known for being a triple threat in the music business, as he is a rapper, singer, and songwriter. In most of his crafts he incorporates both his native tongue and English. An example of this is from one of his
You think being a female rapper in America is hard? Imagine coming up on the scene in Ghana as a female rapper. The music business shows no mercy. Hailing from the country of Ghana, Eno Barony is a female rapper who was put on the scene with her first single “Tonga” in 2014. Since then