Saturday, 9 May 2009

Ayigbe Edem: Hiplife’s New Poster Boy

Hiplife has attracted many dedicated followers ever since it emerged as an authentic music genre in Ghana in the early 1990s. For starters, hiplife is a type of Ghanaian music that incorporates some elements of hiphop (particularly rap) into the more popular and traditional highlife music. Due to its high marketability, the the hiplife industry is growing tremendously and consequently experiences a high turnover of musicians and performers. In most people's books, Reggie Rockstone, Obour, Obrafour, Tic-Tac, VIP, Samini, Praye and Sidney would go down as true hiplife greats. Lately, concern has been raised over the quality of hiplife music on offer. A number of music critics contend that there is a low degree of originality emanating from the Ghanaian hiplife scene. A new breed of Ghanaian hiplife artists are exerting their lyrical and rhythmic muscles to reverse this trend. Prominent among them are Kwaw Kesse (Abodam!), Asem, Richie and Ayigbe Edem. Ayigbe Edem's uniqueness is three-fold: language (he is the most notable Ewe rapper today), rhythmic quality and depth of lyrics. He also comes across as a humble and unassuming chap. In separate interviews with, Edem emphasises his originality and the irrelevance of language in communicating through music. In a short, concise and direct manner, Edem shares his passions, motivations and dreams with us.

Q: Why do you sing/ what influences your unique style?

A: I sing because that's my passion. Basically good music influences my style, and what happens in our part of the world also does. Every human being is unique -once you find yourself and what you stand for, you will find your style. From there, it takes you constant practice.

Q: Why do you rap in Ewe and not in Twi or English? How easy is it (rapping in Ewe) to accomplish?

A: Cos I don't have to rap in Twi or English...what I have to do to make it is to understand rap as an art form. Nothing is easy to accomplish. PERSEVERANCE is the word

Q: Who are some of the music stars you look up to?

A: Eminem, Mase, Bob Marley and Wyclef.

Q: How big would Ayigbe Edem be in 10 years?

A: Soo big... I aim to have my own record label, to be a guru in the industry and also export my music

Q: How well is the Ghanaian music industry doing? Why is Ghanaian music failing to sell outside Ghana, compared to Nigerian, South African and Congolese music?

A: Cos there is no formal structure in place...

Q: What are some of the interesting aspects of your life that you want to share with your fans beside music?

A: I love education...I am shy and I don't drink or smoke...I am also single

I'd take my leave now, allowing Edem to strut his musical stuff on The Gamelian World.

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