Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Fux with...Hiplife (part 2 of 2 (or maybe 3))

Obrafour Mixtape (download)



Who Born You By Mistake?

Again, Maggie Ahuofe:

Obrafour ("The Executioner") traditionally is the person who beheads people sentenced to death by a chief. He came onto the rap scene in the late 90s. He was one of the fist rappers to spit solely in Twi. (Reggie Rockstone, the self-proclaimed Godfather of hiplife (and I don't disgree :)) rapped in both twi and english). What sets him apart from other Hiplife artistes is his prolific use of traditional proverbs and folklore in his rhymes.

Obrafour's first album was "Pae Mu Ka" which literally means "Split it say it" (It makes much more sense in twi, but an english approximation would be: "Say what's on your mind") . This album is arguable one of the most socially conscious and lyrically masterful Hiplife albums ever made. Notable tracks on this album include "Kwame Nkrumah" - a tribute to the country's first president and "Ghanaman" which is basically an interpretation of the cliched phrase: "Ask not what your country can do for you…." and "Yaanom" which calls on the people to listen!

Other Obrafour classics include "Who Born You By Mistake?" (One of the best insults you can say to a Ghanaian), "Maame" a tribute to mothers, "Ntitie Pa" good upringing.

His most recent album, "Heavy", saw him make a dramatic shift from standard Hiplife to the more traditional highlife style (Think Usher suddenly deciding to do an album full of 70's Stax soul). An average Obrafour fan might not appreciate Heavy but it takes more listens to fully appreciate the intricacies of what he does on that album. The title track is ridiculous!