Answering this question is exciting and yet, never accurate. There are the obvious danceables, and once this town thrives on danceables.
But there are also the notorious: those songs which elude you till after you have made your list, and then the ones you are reluctant to include because to you, they haven’t merited enough to be ranked at the top.
And then there are your personal favourites. These are songs which are on your lips when you wake up, and/ or songs you wish could replace the songs you sing during offertory time at a church revival. But your favourites are your favourites.
The interaction your ears have with a song are definitely dissimilar to what happens with other people. It is ungodly to impose your favourites on everyone else. It is impossible, and a civil war could break out. When my favourite collides with your favourites though, we can have the happiest beer conversations. Let’s see…
The International Fisherman, Associate Fishermen.
Gasmilla has this year. I heard somewhere that Telemɔ might fall short of a Ghana Music Award laurel because it might have been released outside the year under review. That is a different issue. Fact is, this year, He has made an impact which simply can’t be ignored. For most of this year, it is what we have chanted to. Indeed, he’s the reason we even know a certain Atom, for Atom’s ” Yɛ Wɔ Krom” was sang over the “Telemɔ” instrumentation, which we already knew and liked, so it was easy for us to accept and like too.
Wisa Greid, with Ekiiki Mi, has set a bar you can’t look at without bending your neck backwards. I have already spoken extensively about it in my review of the song; it’s live, it’s energetic, it’s funny…it meets a particular need in our bones and is a serious contender for anything serious than mere nominations.
The fisherman rhythm has also drawn our attention to greenhorn like Nii Funny, for instance. With his “Broken Heart “…as well as whoever sang the ” Bra OT” song.
This year has been the fisherman’s year, but it has been a highlife year too…specifically Bisa KDei’s. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that others doing highlife this year might be deficient in their attempt to rub shoulders with Bisa, at least for this year. Two songs; Mansa, which is irresistible, and Brother Brother, which is not only good for Christmas but for Easter too, were enough to stifle competition from even Bisa’s mentors.
He (Bisa) has held the fort for the genre; he not only gave us impressive songs, but contributed his quota in the area of scandal too…you know, the gymnastics surrounding the definition of his relationship with Becca and all. Are they an item already or yet? Honestly, I do believe it’s more important to focus on the music…the other aspect is personal; no matter how apt it would be for tabloids.
This year, the highlife genre has been vehement not necessarily for Alewa and Mansa alone, but also for the scandals. Perhaps the Bisa/ Becca thing isn’t scandal enough, but Pastor Ofori Amponsah’s U-turn definitely is. God speed, pastor.
The Shatta Wale Orchestra
Shatta Wale has been up there since his comeback a few years ago. This year too, he has contributed to the talking point both through hits and well, by being himself. This year too, he has released countless songs, and many of them are popular; Mahama Paper, Hol’ it, Kakai, Ferrari, the one with Tinny, and so on.
In the end, Shatta Wale is both passionate and hardworking, and passion produces art, and hard work pays, so…
It’s not the only song Livingstone Etse Satekla, or Stonebwoy, has released this year, but it’s the one song which runs through all opinions. Go higher is energetic, relatable and lovely. I want to mention “Mightylele” but you’d say it’s too early. Anyway, Stonebwoy himself is charismatic and resilient.
This year is going to be memorable to us and to him, for both the good and bad. He won many awards, the most prominent being a BET, he toured with Morgan Heritage, he made peace with Shatta Wale, and lost his pillar. Rest in power, Madam Catherine A. Satekla .
Maybe you have already heard Rudebwoy Ranking and Rashid Metal, but there’s a whole army straight outta Nima, who are emerging with the force of something bottled up for too long. Among them are D Sheriff and Bastero. I just wanted to mention it here and now, so you won’t be too surprised when it finally happens.
As is characteristic of the music scene here, Nigerian music is either number one or number two. Their grip on our industry has not been as strong since Azonto happened. Still, they are in town; My Woman, My Everything, Reggae Blues, Bobo, Mr. Oreo, etc.
Kinaata and Donzy gave us a sudden hit, though I doubt if they broke through completely, M.anifest and Obrafour, amidst all that pounding music, made us reflect, and the most relevant gift R2bees gave us was a heartbreak song.
This year, Sarkodie promised Ace Hood a statue and gave us a work of art in Mary, regardless of how it performed commercially. I am certain that the creative process was deeply emotional, perhaps the most difficult thing he has had to do artistically, and the fact that he’s been able to do it is something to nod at.
EL’s “Koko”, and Stonebwoy’s “Mightylele” give us a taste of 2016 weather.
FlowKing Stone went at George Quaye, Sisqo came down, Reggie Rockstone is still fighting for the right to be considered Hiplife founder, Praye is back, Wanlov prophesied the demise of prominent church leaders, Obour is still MUSIGA president, Reggie and Bollie resurfaced, and Castro’s still hasn’t.
Maybe I’ve left out VVIP and their “Skolom” by honest oversight, as well as MzVee, maybe I wish the lad who played “Ahaban” was a bit more visible, and maybe I wish FlowKing Stone got more commercial viability than he got, but it’s all good. I am particularly optimistic about next year. I think you should be too. “You never know the plans we God get”.
These are my picks, what are yours? Merry Christmas to you.
By Gabriel Myers Hansen
The writer can be reached @myershansen on twitter and at email@example.com. Also on www.myershansen.wordpress.com.