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How beneficial is the #godMC vs #Kanta beef for Ghana’s music industry?

The past week or so has been particularly exciting for Ghanaians and indeed for the Ghanaian music industry.
M.anifest and Sarkodie are both undoubtedly very talented musicians and are two of Ghana’s best, most celebrated and

most internationally-acclaimed rappers and for these two lyrically-adept giants to have struck a match and, subsequently lit a national fire in what has become known as the #god vs #King public rap battle, it could not have been anything less than a big deal.

So why do I assert that this epic battle is beneficial for Ghana’s music industry? Here are a few reasons why:

    For the first time, many Ghanaians who do not typically listen to rap are actually talking about rap.

This is a fantastic phenomenon because most cultural spaces around the globe are shaped by the work of cultural liberals, such as rappers. Cultural Liberals are members of a society who strongly believe in the freedom of individuals from cultural norms and practices. Such people often do and say what many others would love to do and to say, but for fear of judgement and marginalisation, they stick to the status quo. The result is often a missing conversation about society. In Ghana, there are relatively few Cultural Liberals and M.anifest and Sarkodie are among them.

Rap culture is believed to date all the way back to the ancient griots of West Africa who were seasoned orators. Through intricate combinations of well-crafted oral poetry and the rich rhythms of traditional West African drums and strings the griots are known to have orally passed on the history of their people and of their forefathers to younger members of the society. In the late 1960’s, African American freedom-fighters imbibed this culture and protested racial and societal injustice through oratory and rhythm. Then in the early 1970’s people began to recognise Rap as an official music form. Back then what rapping meant, basically, was that you tried to convey something—you tried to change somebody’s mindset with rhythmic words. That’s what rapping is, it’s in the way you “talk” the music.

Hence, if Ghanaians are joining in the conversations of rappers, then the musicians will be forced to do more to stimulate discussions that are reflective of our societal reality, regardless of how ugly it might be. This is how conscious music is born and history indisputably dictates that Rap was born as conscious music.

    If Ghanaians are talking about rap, then it means that we are actually making an effort to listen to the lyrics, which is a step forward for us!

Rappers such as M.anifest and Sarkodie have made it in the music industry, not just because of how entertaining they are, but also because of their lyrical dexterity. Some of our other musicians, including the likes of Efya, Okyeame Kwame, Six Strings, Noella Wiyaala, EL, Stonebwoy, Obrafour, among others, possess a repertoire of songs that have very beautiful and very profound lyrics. Such artistes understand that Art is meant to speak to people and to carry various messages to their audiences. Hence, they choose to incorporate rich lyrics into their music, in the hope that Ghanaians will hear them, feel them and learn something or change our ideologies about certain things. However, many of us prefer to ignore the lyrics and simply wind and grind to the beat. Yet we have always known that influential musicians, such as the #godMC and the #Kanta king wield so much power, even just by virtue of their popularity.

So if we are actually listening to their lyrics now and they feed us with wisdom, perhaps Arts (and Music for that matter) can finally take its rightful place in society as a medium that doesn’t just entertain, but one that also educates, informs and stimulates the mind.

    And the best part – The rappers are joining in.

Sarkodie’s ‘Bossy’ started it all, as we all know, then M.anifest moved in with ‘god MC’ and then Sarkodie shot back with ‘Kanta’…

Then suddenly, EL drops ‘Talk Don’t Bother Me’ and then Gemini slapped us with ‘Ceasefire’ and now Jayso has surfaced with ‘Preach.’

Even Shatta Wale, another King of sorts, got hyped and says that he’ll be the judge of this whole #Kanta –  #godMC battle.

And it’s all so beautiful, because it has encouraged some sort of harsh, yet healthy competition within the Ghanaian music industry. Plus, every song that has been released since ‘Bossy’ has been better than the one that preceded it, in my opinion, which is a clear indicator that creativity has been sparked and is at play.

Then it gets better: the radio stations are playing the songs back to back; even Jessica Opare-Saforo of the Traffic Avenue on 97.3 Citi FM is playing rap on air!

So what does all of this mean?

I believe that it proves that M.anifest and Sarkodie truly are a god and a king in their own right.

They have shown leadership by shaking up the music industry in a very dramatic manner. And while it’s all fun and games, I can’t help but conclude that the godMC and the Rap King have deliberately made themselves sacrificial lambs for the Art that they love so much, so that Ghanaians will no longer be dead goats to the music… And I love it!

By: Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong/citifmonline

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