We have failed for not investing in making hiplife attractive to younger acts – Okyeame Kwame 

Multiple award-winning Ghanaian rapper and songwriter, Kwame Nsiah-Apau popularly known as Okyeame Kwame has expressed dissatisfaction about the neglect of the hiplife tag by the current crop of Ghanaian rappers.

According to Okyeame, a lot of young rappers in Ghana would rather want to associate with hip hop or Asakaa (Ghanaian drill) now than call themselves hiplife artistes because it is difficult to find the genre name on digital music stores.

During an interview with Joy FM’s entertainment journalist Kwame Dadzie on X, Dadzie raised concerns about the perceived decline in the hiplife field.

Dadzie who expressed worry about the lull in the hiplife field wrote: “I admire @Okyeamekwame ‘s love for hiplife and his annual hiplife concert but what is the end-goal? Your people say hiplife is dead. Even these young rappers would rather want to identify with hip hop or Asakaa than hiplife?”

Responding to the post, Okyeame Kwame acknowledged the shift in preference among younger rappers and explaining that although they may not use the term “hiplife,” they are technically still creating music within that genre.

“A younger generation will give up on tradition when it fails them. If they call their music hiplife, how will it fit on Spotify and other streaming sites? People choose their business heroes based on financial and social impact, how many heroes did hiplife create? Nuances,” Okyeame Kwame emphasized.

Asked if he meant hiplife had failed, he answered in the affirmative and admitted that hiplife had indeed failed, pointing out several factors, including the lack of a digital platform to sell their art, the failure to turn their gifts into a multi-billion-dollar business collectively, and the absence of a welcoming culture to attract young artists.

Contrary to the belief that hiplife concerts may be unnecessary in recent times, Okyeame Kwame explained the importance of such events in evoking nostalgia and preserving the heritage of Ghana’s music genre, Hiplife.

“The goal is to evoke nostalgia and also maintain the heritage of Ghana’s music genre #HIPLIFE and make sure it is not forgotten in the annals of history. 

The beautiful #asakaa music is #hiplife (Hiphop + Highlife). The term hiplife has just not been used for it,” he explained.

Addressing the mention of Ghanaian drill by the Recording Academy of the Grammy Awards instead of hiplife, Okyeame Kwame dismissed it, stating that the Grammy Awards operate on a business basis.

“The Grammy award is not consequential here. It is an American award, they choose what will benefit their agenda financially. Do you think they involve some Ghanaian genres because they love Ghana or because they want to be relevant in Ghana? It is business not charity,” he stated.

Another iconic hiplife artiste, TiC, shared his thought on the matter.

“Hip Life is dead.” There’s no need to start the convo this way…. Is Hip Hop dead? No, but the real hip hop is not flowing like it used to. Again it has gone through different transformations, to the extent that the real hip hop lovers will say it doesn’t sound like before, yet hip hop is still alive. Why can’t we do the same here, accept that the original versions of HipLife is not flowing but we still got it in the new vibe rather than saying it is dead. Life goes on not backwards i guess,” he posted.

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