GH to the world: The artistes making Ghana proud on the world stage

Author: Elorm Kojo Ntumy & Kofi Duah
Big Shaq, real name Michael Dapaah
Big Shaq, real name Michael Dapaah

Undoubtedly, Ghana abounds in talent; from music to acting to the fine arts, the country has produced talents who are making us proud with their achievements.

It is not limited to the domestic front though. There are many Ghanaians who are lifting the flag of Ghana high on the world stage. In Hollywood, the United Kingdom and many other places, Ghanaians are leaving legacies that will endure for ages.

In today’s edition, we bring you a compilation of some of the musicians of Ghanaian descent who are taking the international music world by storm.

Stormzy

Stormzy, one of UK’s leading Grime and Hip hop artistes, is of Ghanaian heritage. His real name is Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, and he was raised by his Ghanaian mother. He began rapping at the age of 11 and has numerous hit singles to his credit. One of his biggest hits to date is Shut Up in 2015 which was first released as a freestyle on YouTube and has since racked up about 72 million views.

He’s been making videos on his YouTube channel since 2011 but it wasn’t until he started sharing his Wicked Skengman freestyles that he begun attracting much wider attention and plaudits.

Fuse ODG

Born Richard Abiona, Fuse ODG was born in London and raised in Ghana before leaving for the UK again for his secondary education. After the success of his single Azonto, he followed it up with the hit track, Antenna which peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. He has collaborated with a number of international artistes including Ed Sheeran, Wyclef Jean and Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage.

Fuse is credited for starting the TINA movement which stands for ‘This Is The New Africa.' The movement aims to raise the profile of Africa and Africans and present a positive image of the motherland to the rest of the world.

Vinz ( Nico and Vinz)

One half of the Norwegian based duo, Vinz, is of Ghanaian descent. Real name, Vincent Dery, Vinz is from Nandom in the Upper West Region but lives in Oslo, Norway. He and Nico came together in 2009 to perform under the name Envy before changing it to Nico and Vinz.

Their hit single, Am I Wrong, peaked at number two on the Norwegian Singles Chart, number two on the Danish Singles Chart, and number two on the Swedish Singles Chart as well.

Tinchy Stryder

Kwasi Danquah, better known by his stage name Tinchy Stryder and also as The Star in the Hood, is a Ghanaian-English rapper, singer and, entrepreneur Stryder has released three solo studio albums, Star in the Hood (2007), Catch 22 (2009), and Third Strike (2010).

His business ventures include the clothing line Star in the Hood, the Cloud 9 X Goji headphone and audio equipment range in collaboration with Goji Electronics. Tinchy Stryder had his first UK number one on the Singles Chart with the track Number 1, a collaboration with N-Dubz.

Kojo Funds

Initially getting his buzz through platforms like SoundCloud and Youtube with tracks like Anaconda, Arriba and Want from Me, Kojo Funds has been named as one of the UKs most exciting artistes to watch.

He had his breakthrough with the song Dun Talkin, a song which won the 2016 MOBO award for Best Song. Kojo Funds performed at Stonebwoy’s Bhim Nation Concert held at the Accra International Conference Centre on December 22 last year.

Michael Dapaah (Big Shaq)

Big Shaq, real name Michael Dapaah is a rapper, actor, and comedian. He is best known for portraying the fictional road rapper Big Shaq (also known as Roadman Shaq). Dapaah began his career by garnering a social following for his brief comedic online skits, which he then adapted into his mockumentary series on YouTube titled SWIL (Somewhere in London).

He rose to fame after his Man’s Not Hot freestyle video went viral worldwide. He has been referenced by British Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn in one of his political speeches. The Man’s Not Hot hitmaker also performed at Sarkodie's Rapperholic concert organised at the Conference Centre in Accra on Christmas Day last year.

Nadia Rose

Female rapper and cousin of Stormzy, Nadia Rose is another Ghanaian artiste taking the world by storm. Rose released her debut EP Highly Flammable on January 13, 2017 following the successful singles Station, BOOM and D.F.W.T.

With a string of sold-out live performances under her belt performing, alongside acts such as Section Boyz, Anderson & Paak, major brand endorsements from Adidas, G-Star, Beats by Dre, DKNY and a co-sign from R&B superstar Alicia Keys, Nadia is clearly raising the bar for female rappers in a scene typically dominated by men.

Vic Mensa

Full name, Victor Kwesi Mensah, Vic Mensa as he is popularly known was born on June 6, 1993 to a father from Ghana and an American mother. He started his music career by joining Kids These Days, which split in May 2013. After that break-up, he released his first major mixtape INNANETAPE. He released his debut studio album, The Autobiography on July 28, 2017.

Vic Mensa is the founder of SAVE MONEY and has had collaborations with Chance The Rapper and Kanye West. He is currently signed on to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label and received a nomination for Best Rap Song at the 58th Grammy Awards as a songwriter for co-writing Kanye West's single, All Day in 2015.

Sway

Derek Safo, better known as Sway, was born in Hornsey, London in 1982. His mother, a Ghanaian was making a trip from Amsterdam back to Ghana when she gave birth during a London layover. At age 11, Sway began rewriting the lyrics to his favourite songs and his love affair with music began.

Around age 16, Sway joined the hip hop group Phynix Crew, which then subsequently merged with 2 other rap groups. He has released many singles under different names including Sway DaSafo.

In 2005, Sway was named Best Hip-Hop Newcomer at the Mobo Awards, beating US heavyweights, 50 Cent and The Game despite having not released an album. Sway has his own production company, DCypha Productions. Based in London, the label is also affiliated to Akon’s Konvict Muzik label.

Dizzee Rascal

Dylan Kwabena Mills better known by his stage nam,e Dizzee Rascal, is an English hip hop recording artist and record producer. A pioneer of grime music, his work has also incorporated elements of UK garage, bassline, British hip hop, and R&B. He released his acclaimed debut album, Boy in da Corner, in 2002. It has since been considered a grime classic and earned him the 2003 Mercury Prize.

Follow-up albums Showtime, Maths + English, and Tongue n' Cheek have been critically praised and certified platinum, with Tongue n' Cheek going platinum for sales exceeding 300,000 units in the United Kingdom.

Lethal Bizzle

Lethal Bizzle’s real name is Maxwell Owusu Ansah and he is an English rapper of Ghanaian descent. His debut solo single Pow (Forward) charted at number 11 despite being banned from airplay and clubs for aggressive content. Throughout his career, Lethal Bizzle has experimented with blending mainstream chart genres such as dance music with grime, leading to numerous top 40 singles.

He is known for his singles Pow! (Forward), Rari WorkOut and Fester Skank, and other top 40 songs such as Rari WorkOut, The Drop, Pow 2011 and Party Right – all of which have been non-album releases.  Lethal Bizzle is also the cousin of former Arsenal player, Emmanuel Frimpong.