Reggie GAK, Yaw Tog, Jay Bahd, unknown chap, City Boy and O'Kenneth via Facebook

by michael eli dokosi/www.blakkpepper.com/Ghana

Although some insiders say ‘Akatafuo’ music has always been part of the urban youth in Kumasi, Ghana’s most prominent second city, it is only recently and on the back of the ‘Kumerican’ craze that its urban music buzz has been reignited.

True, the city did provide heavyweights like Lord Kenya who was a fearsome hiplife general but has since gone the Jesus way. Okyeame Kwame, who once described himself as the best rapper alive and has since matured like fine wine and Flow King-Stone on whose back the city has had a seat at the table of Ghanaian urban music.

Blakpepper is unsure how the ‘Kumerica’ craze started this year but Syder38babies and Triple 4k going by the umbrella name G-Migos can lay a claim. They are out with their ‘Dem Dead’ track.

Alkaline Richest and Asare Richway, two Senior High School students from the region can also claim a hand in its popularity with their social media skits. Having found fame with their antics, earning retweets from Sarkodie and other notables, the duo have their eyes set on music with a tune already done with Tulenkey.

Ypee Bakope then set things on course with his Kumerica song which designated American cities to suburbs in Kumasi. When the Kumerica craze begun, it started off with the renaming of the towns in the city where Bremang became Texas, Manhyia the seat of the Asantehene became Washington DC, Bantama went by its known nickname Florida, Suame became Miami, Tafo took on California, Kejetia-New York and then good old Santasi took on the Minnesota cap. Kumerica merchandise are now a thing too.

Fellow blogger ZionFelix ever the businessman, made his way to Kumasi and assembled Amerado, Ypee, Brenya, Yaa Jackson, Osiekrom Sikani, Phrimpong, Rap Fada and Phaize on his Kumerica track to tap into the current vibe in town. The track also had Reggie Rockstone and Liwin making an appearance.

There was Flowking Stone with his Oseikrom Geng, featuring Phaize and Obey Tunez on his drill tune. Kawabanga served his Akatafuo tune featuring O’Kenneth, Reggie and Jay Bahd. Bahd proves he is one to look out for given his unique style. O’Kenneth’s melody is enveloping whiles Reggie is decent.

Although Ghana’s or better put Kumasi drill music, a subset of the general trap music tree is different, in that it doesn’t glamorize violent life like its Southside Chicago and UK drill counterparts, it stays true to its laid back style. And while Kawabanga makes for easy listening, becoming popular, there’s little doubt that the one tune which propelled the drill cum Kumerica movement the most is the Sore smash hit by Yaw Tog featuring O’Kenneth, City Boy, Reggie and JayBahd.

The video directed by Koopoku Studios is as gripping as the sound produced by Chrisrichbeats. Music enthusiasts got to see the way of life the Kumerica way. And at home and beyond, many have positively been stunned by the quality of the sound, the visuals displayed and by the general culture.

On Sore, meaning awake or stand up in Twi, the boys warn their emergence is a scary prospect. Tog serves notice with his Satan(si) boys-that is Minnesota by the way that “they don’t fear, they just do.” He adds even if the vehicle fails to arrive, they will still get to their destination.

When O’Kenneth comes in, his sound is so disarming that you just have to replay his part over and over again. He makes known that ‘Santamerican’ folks are his blood ni**ers. It should be noted that over here in Ghana, while the red bandana might lead some to think there is a Bloods gang here, with its attendant problems, the reality is much different. When they mention ‘geng’, it’s a collection of friends. A crew who undertake activities or projects together and when he says his ‘Santamericans’ are his blood ni**ers, he implies they’ve become family even though they are not biological brothers.

The hustle for daily living is real and as O’Kenneth puts it “they don’t earn salary” and for those who don’t practice what they say, he wants them out of the way.

City Boy’s rap is aight giving a vibe of the hiplife years from the 90s and 2000s. That is a blend of hiphop and Ghana traditional sound highlife whose fused sound was the music staple in many homes for years raking in wealth and fame for some of its biggest practitioners like Samini, Reggie Rockstone, Obrafour, Tinny and Lord Kenya. Unlike the typical drill sound, City Boy puts in some rhyme his delivery making Kumasi drill or ‘Asakaa’ distinctive.

Reggie has some good flow. He notes that himself and his crew; the Akata Boys are self-assured paying no heed to detractors.

Jay Bahd’s raspy voice has been beloved on this track. He notes in a COVID-19 pandemic, their music is banging adding “Kumerica, our music overtaking soon.”

From Tiktok to Twitter, the Kumerica craze has been immense with Americans unable to help but submit were he alive, Pop Smoke- the American drill artiste would have been mightily proud of the boys and the movement.

While O’Kenneth and Jay Bahd steal the shine on Sore, young fella Yaw Tog deserves commendation for marshaling the resources to pull this song, features and visual off so splendidly. The great hope is that the Kumasi drill and Kumerica movement has enough human resource, style, vibe and innovation to sustain it through the years.

After all is it not how hiplife emerged and was look down on by some folks only to ride on, become a great employer of the youth, win us international accolades and serve as base to veer into new genres?