Various Black Stars: Ghana's Hiplife Generation

Out Here Records from Germany is a beacon for urban African music. Hiplife is one of Africa’s most appealing blends, with rap, dancehall and highlife music swirled into a range of up-tempo rhythms. Since most lyrics aren’t in English, the non-Ghanaian listener is more likely to pick up on an artist’s unique sense of flow, or moments that sound identifiably African. One of the genre’s leading artists is Batman, whose wider appeal is apparent due to his use of highlife guitar patterns, which give a greater sense of locale to his music. Otherwise, there is much in common with the rhythms and production techniques of ’90s dancehall, and the influence of high-energy Jamaican vocalists like Elephant Man or Shabba Ranks prevails. Also notable are the pan-African influences — "Ahomka Wo Mu” by VIP nods at South Africa’s kwaito, and various samples of acoustic instrumentation keep West African traditions mixing with new ideas. Unlike, say, reggaeton, Hiplife is more than just one rhythm pattern, which bodes well for the future of the genre. (Out Here)