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Ghanaian Hip-life Rap Music as a Popular or Political Rap, and a Mixed Cultural Bag of Ghanaian High-life and North American Rap Music

Summary of Article , 2009

Boateng posits Hip-Life as a hybrid culture of Ghanaian Highlife and North American Rap music. He explores the origins of Hip-Life, noting Reggie Rockstone’s Makaa Maka (1997) as the seminal release, and suggests that Accra’s urban setting and decreasing costs of digital recording software and hardware contributed to its development and proliferation. Boateng examines themes of five hip-life songs, namely: Reggie Rockstone and Nkasei’s "Eduano abu" (2002), Lord Kenya’s "Mr. P.O.P." (2002), Soni Achiba’s "Nipa bonnie fo" (2001), Reggie Rockstone’s "Se wompe noa" (2000), and Kontihene’s "Akatesia" (2002). In the textual analysis, the article notes themes of power, gendered experience and morality which emerge. Boateng suggests that Hip-Life, like Rap music, affirms the personhood of its practitioners via boast and braggadocio. He also notes the criticisms leveled at each genre, concluding that as parallel forms of expression, each genre serves as a platform for expression and socio-political commentary.

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