Hiplife is, as you might surmise, an amalgam of highlife and hip hop, with some reggae influence, which has found a growing following over the last few years in Ghana. For starters, this CD supports wider recognition of the artists featured by including a 24 page booklet packed with information on each one. This ? and the best of the music ? deserve the highest recommendation, but this is a perplexing compilation?.
?Do Something? by Batman Samini featuring Amigo has been going round in my head since I first heard it. The call and response between lead voice and chorus on the hook (?Do something before you die?) has the infectious groove of a Fela Kuti record. Sheriff Ghale?s ?Illusions? has the strongest reggae element here and beautiful soulful singing, but the opener to the album by King Ayisoba ft. Kontihene, Kwabena Kwabena & Kwaku-T sums up the problems I had with a lot of the pieces all too well.
?Modern Ghanians? is catchy, well sung and full of political comment, but I had to listen hard to hear all of this as I was so distracted by the tsk-tsk-tsk of a really nasty drum machine. Quite a few songs are marred by drum sequences and keyboard sounds that are straight outta the ?80?s ? there?s even one of those annoying whistles people blow at football matches, except I?m sure it?s a keyboard sample creating this sound, rather than air through a tube.
As I said, both the concept and the music which excited me warrant a 9/10, but for the overall effect as an album, I have to mark it rather lower. 6/10 -- John Cavanagh (13 May, 2008)