Da Hip Life is the newest series from Da-What shining a spotlight on the Ghanaian music scene past and present. Episode 1 kicks off with Edem, one of the biggest artists out there.
I knew of Edem well before I realized just who he was. My initial introduction was the song “Koene” that receives major spins on the radio and even more in any and every club. This song even won the “Afro-Pop Song of the Year” category at this year’s Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs); in fact, Edem was able to cash in three of his nine nominations for new hardware. My second connection was a recommendation from a musician friend, which threw me into my typical research mode to learn as much as I could. I found out that Edem is much more than the popularity of his most recent hit; truth be told, he has been making music at the “professional level” for about a decade already with plenty of accolades to show for it.
He is from the Volta region in Eastern Ghana and represents his home state every chance he gets. His first album and his music group/label are both named after the Volta. A lot of his music is actually in Ewe, Volta’s most common dialect. While he is a rapper, such a narrow title seems rather limiting when considering everything that Edem has done and continues to succeed at. His musical styles change from album to album showing a versatile range of skills that is exceedingly rare. He has also created a label/business that continues to grow and make bigger deals with each year that passes.
The latest album Books and Rhymes has been his most commercially successful and may provide a blueprint for artists here in Ghana looking to translate their fanbase into financial support. It has received the same love from the critics and even took home “Album of the Year” at the VGMAs this year. His music transcends language barriers but is even more powerful to those who understand. As displayed by his musical flexibility, he cannot be pigeonholed into any particular category or genre and the success of “Koene” will not change him into a club/‘turn up’ rapper. He takes his artistry seriously and understands the roles and responsibilities that he has created for himself. The goal of his third album was to “[sensitize] Africans on the continent to school themselves.” It is an honor to kick off the latest series ‘Da Hip Life,’ which aims to bring Ghanaian hip hop/hip life/contemporary rap music to new platforms and audiences, with an exclusive look into Edem’s world. Take some time to watch the interview above and GO SUPPORT his stuff on iTunes!! #GoGetEm