KOFI KINAATA: WESTERN FRONT GHANA RAP MUSIC REVOLUTIONARY

​Kofi Kinaata hails from the Western Region of Ghana:Effua Kuma to be specific. He is part of a group of burgeoning musicians from the Western and Central Region – Teephlow, Pappy Kojo and others who revolutionised the rap scene after the first decade of the 21st century with their dialect (fante), punchlines and distinct and invigorating sense of humor. ‘Move’, ‘Effua Kuma wayasey’ and ‘Azaay’ are some adlibs of Kinaata.

During the last quarter of 2008 and early 2009,I listened to this uniquely talented young man in my undergraduate days in UCC in the Central Region. Regardless of the agenda to push Fante rap on radio stations in that area, not all fante dominant songs interlaced with bits of English language struck me as Kinaata’s ‘Kill them all’. It’s energy, rhyme, biting rawness, punches , timely humor and the surety of the then ‘underground’ rapper made sure some of us wanted to hear more of Kinaata. This was not surprising as the new generation of music listeners had been ushered in the new school of Ghana rap with Sarkodie, Asem, R2bees, D-Black, Richie and others at the helm. The fante rappers were also carving a niche for themselves and prominent amongst them was Kofi Kinaata.

There are talents that catch the eye and so was Kinaata’s. Fast forward a few months and he signed with Samini’s Highgrade Family which came to some of us no surprise because his talent was evident that the shocking aspect was why no one had not seen him earlier. He began with some freestyles and covering some foreign tunes. Popular among them was ‘Onnyi chorus’ and ‘Don’t judge.  He was obviously different and as he dropped ‘Different’ single it became clear. With high tempo beats being the trend in most songs from West Africa, ‘Oh Azaay’ became a huge hit on the airwaves. His cameo opening rap for Castro the Destroyer and Baby T’s ‘Odo pa’ ensured that most people who doubted his lyricism reconsidered their decision. To cement his stance on rap as far as fante was concerned, Kinaata released ‘Fante Rap God’ featuring the head honcho of the Highgrade Family, Samini. This song was captivating with its witty punchlines.

The music scene in Ghana shifted with some cross-genre creations. Collaborations intensified between gospel and secular artists; rappers gained huge hits with traditional hi-life styled songs; out and out rappers singing their own hooks became a common phenomenon. Artistes from Ghana were gaining more recognition from other countries, creativity was being pushed to its limits. Kinaata released the hi-life styled and his arguably biggest record till date, ‘Susuka’. Its simple and realistic subject matter ensured that in every nook and cranny of the country people sang it. It earned Kinaata the Song Writer of the Year at the 2016 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. The song was also nominated for ‘Hiplife song of the Year category. This was a sign of musical and personal growth for Kinaata. He was in the light; no longer on the fringes. He followed with similarly powerfully themed songs like ‘Sweetie Pie’ and ‘Time no dey’. Kinaata has featured on many songs since his emergence. There seem to be a special musical connection between himself and Donzy Chaka, a student in Sarkodie’s Rap University label. Prominent among their songs is ‘Crusade’. A song that was nominated for the VGMA 2016 Hiplife song of the year and best Collaboration categories. The video of ‘Crusade‘ also displayed Kinaata’s raw talent for acting as a future alternative.

It is evident that Kinaata has diversified his craft and this has brought out his dynamic talent. Few eyebrows were raised when Sarkodie released ‘Trumpet’ which supposedly featured the present and mostly the future of Ghana rap music and Kinaata was absent. Questions were asked and answers were given. Credit to all those burgeoning artistes. As Kinaata’s name was dragged into the song it just reminded me of his genius as a growing complete musician with more diversity than his peers. His recent ‘Confession’ is a creative piece to help the campaign against drunk-driving. You laugh and listen but his message and intent is distinct, clear and effective. This places him a step above the young revolutionaries in the Ghana music industry. My hope is that he invests in his craft as Africa waits for him.
NB: views expressed are personal. Artistes involved may not share this viewpoint. 

Links within the text were gotten from:

1. Youtube.com/gh

2. Urbanroll.net 

3. Wikipedia 

4. Ghanamotion.com 

5. Ghanamusicawards.com 

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