Pre-VGMA 2017

Award shows are always difficult to predict, each year they do well to divide fans of artists due to the final verdicts of who wins what. We can make a list of all things wrong with award shows but some way some how they’d get us to tune in the following year. One thing we’ve all come to understand about the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards is its knack at surprising us all with its final award winners. This year would by no means be any different. We at NarrowDown with help from some taste-makers in the industry have generated a preview of which artists might be bagging awards of the big categories.
Joe Mettle
Official Kwame: It’s quite obvious not every song he put out was an instant hit as compared to ‘Too Risky’, but let’s not doubt the fact that they were great songs, and as an artist, Medikal had the most presence in the Ghanaian music industry for 2016. He touched every stage possible and built a rather solid fanbase. 2016 was a roller-coaster for EVERYONE. No one truly dominated but his presence was consistent. Kofi Kinaata isn’t nominated in this category for some odd reason, but he low-key HIGH-KEY had a string of hits from ‘Sweetie Pie’, ‘Susuka’ and of course ‘Confessions’. It would have been incredible to see an artist who previously won ‘Best New Artist’, claim the ultimate prize the year after. But I guess he’d have to put in extra work to get the ticket next year.
Nii Aku: Medikal had an amazing run in 2016, moving from underdog to celebrity status. Even if you didn’t like his music you’d be forced to listen to his sound simply because his music was being blasted from every speaker. From street anthems like ‘Confirm remix’ (featuring Sarkodie) to ‘Too Risky’ (featuring Sister Deborah), watching Medikal’s rise to his current status was amazing. But as we have come to understand, the VGMA is a popularity contest, and as far as a wide audience is concerned, Medikal hasn’t reached Sarkodie’s height. With hits like ‘R.N.S.’ and the international success of ‘No Kissing Baby’ by Patoranking which he appears as a featured artist, Sarkodie had an awesome year as well as hopping on almost every big stage to perform. The award would certainly be given to “King Sark”.
Nel Magnum: This category this year is pretty intense. The nominee list is very competitive with E.L, Sarkodie, Medikal, MzVee, Joe Mettle and Stonebwoy going head to head for the crown. These are some very hardworking musicians and every one of them deserves this award. However, only one person can get the ultimate bragging rights as the overall artist from Ghana. Scanning back through the year, the most notable musicians on my radio have been E.L and Sarkodie. Medikal has been on the lips of Ghanaians for a while and is truly making an impact. His longevity though I’ll question. MzVee and Stonebwoy have rocked the airwaves and the pubs with their bouncy dance-hall riddims and anthems. Joe Mettle I have little to say. So my question is, whom do I give this award to? Shatta Wale? Well since Shatta isn’t here, I’ll pass it on to the R.N.S man, the Tema powerhouse, the Irish Cream rapper (who would forget this), the Mary album releasing superman, ‘Sarkodie’.
Hello featuring Sarkodie – Akwaboah
Me Ne Woaa – Nacee
Motromodwo featuring A.I – Trigmatic
Too Late – Adina
U x Me – Joey B
Nii Aku: Akwaboah is a highly talented singer/ songwriter and he showcases his mastery of the art on this single which features the super talented rapper, Sarkodie (Let’s imagine the line, “Your face dey glow (glo), no signing”, isn’t on the song). From the vocals to the crisp production, Akwaboah delivered a timeless song with ‘Hello’ which should easily nab the award for ‘Record of the year’. But it wasn’t a big hit as compared to Adina Thembi’s ‘Too Late’ which was written and produced by Killbeatz. Good song that it may be it lacks the vocal purity Akwaboah serves us on his song.
Official Kwame: U x Me was by far one of the most ubiquitous songs of 2016. Second only to his breakthrough jam, ‘Tonga’. There was very little promo but sonically and visually, Joey, Kuvie and Kemist Gold executed this song to perfection.
Low key, it would both be interesting and surprising to see ‘Motromodwo’ by Trigmatic and A.I win. It was a triumphant return for both Trigmatic and A.I. vocally and sonically.
Nel Magnum: Trigmatic has always been on the path of creating real life situational songs. Motromodwo in my opinion makes a real impact as it tells the story of betrayal and backstabbing. It really isn’t my kind of music, however it says something positive and as the record of the year, I’ll push for it. But the award scheme less often rewards real talent. I won’t be shocked if Adina’s “Too Late” should nab the award. I’m going with Trig’s ‘Motromodwo’ for this one.
Grind featuring A.I – Vision DJ
Kaa Bu Ame – E.L
Solo – Article Wan
U x Me – Joey B
Too Late – Adina
Too Risky featuring Sister Deborah – Medikal
Dance For Me featuring Mr. Eazi – Eugy
Nel Magnum: E.L came through with a great tune with ‘Kaa Bu Ame’, the message, rhythm and flow were all on-point. But at the end of the day one guy stole the show last year. Article Wan Solo! Solo! Solo! Solo! NeL Magnum Solo! [Laughs] Article Wan is a genius for making a song everybody in Ghana can vibe to. The remix with Stonebwoy is a bit of a disappointment. Er Solo! I vouch for this song to take home the award! He took everyone by surprise.
Official Kwame: This category is filled with tough heavy hitters. Because of international reach, it could go to ‘Dance For Me’ by Eugy x Mr. Eazi but, as his 3rd single Vision DJ solidified himself as an artist with this game-changing track, kind courtesy of Kuvie on production. In terms of creativity, lyrical and vocal delivery, A.I. was unmatched in 2016. ‘Grind’ was fresh, uplifting and there still is nothing else like it. The song made A.I. one of the hottest acts of 2016 and added to Kuvie’s catalog of killer anthems. It is one of Kuvie’s best work yet and completely rebooted the sound of GH music as one of the most progressive additions to Afro-Pop music across the continent. But it wasn’t as popular as Joey B’s ‘U x Me’ or even close to the mainstream success of Article Wan’s ‘Solo’.
Nii Aku: I’m honestly torn between three songs in this category. I believe it will be daring and it would spark more creatives to take different routes and experiment different sounds if Vision DJ’s ‘Grind’, which features A.I nabs the award. Kuvie did an amazing job with the production of that record. That song was a creeping hit, no one saw it coming. Article Wan’s Solo in honest opinion was the most popular in this category, every single person bumped to this jam but E.L will easily take this category with ‘Kaa Bu Ame’. It’s managed to stay relevant from the time it was released till now, that song has a longevity factor within it.
Confirm Remix featuring Sarkodie – Medikal
Trumpet ft. Teephlow, Koo Ntakra, Strongman, Donzy, Medikal & Pappy Kojo – Sarkodie
God M.C – M.anifest
Egboame ft. Cabum, Teephlow, Ayat, Gemini, Medikal, Mac M, Darkovibes & Bebelino – Edem
Tension featuring Cabum, Medikal & Sister Deborah – Okyeame Kwame
Lalafalama – E.L
Nii Aku: M.anifest got a technical diss song nominated for all the right reasons. For the first time in a very long while people paid keen attention to lyrics. But it comes nowhere when compared to the height of success E.L’s ‘Lalafalama’ attained. E.L should easily get the award for his hip-hop trap-infused club banger.
Official Kwame: I’d love to see God M.C by M.anifest take home this award simply for the lyrical dexterity he showcased on the song. On the other hand ‘Lalafalama’ by E.L was was hard and lit as fxck. E.L will win this category off the power of that song.
Nel Magnum: You know, sometimes I don’t get E.L. He came out with Shelele, Ayayaa, and now Lalafalama. I’m sure you know what I am driving at. He has these weird titles for his songs and I still wonder who Nana G is. ‘Lalafalama’ which is produced by LXXXVIII is a true banger! I remember when E.L launched his ‘B.A.R III’ mixtape at Kristal Nightclub, the whole place shook when they put on ‘Lalafalama’, they had to play that song three times continuously. The atmosphere was epic. ‘Lalafalama’ in my grandest opinion should easily take this award.
Alhaji featuring Patoranking – V.V.I.P
Bie Gya featuring Stonebwoy – Criss Waddle
RNS – Sarkodie
Go Low – Flowking Stone
Samba featuring Singlet – Guru
Club featuring Piesie – Donzy
Sweetie Papa – Kofi Kinaata
Official Kwame: Tough category but Kofi Kinaata should win and he will win.
Nel Magnum: Sarkodie’s ‘R.N.S’ is the bomb! Listen I’ll be a little real here, I don’t really listen to Sarkodie, because his lyrics are mostly braggadocios, and truly I am not into the bragging game. However when a sound such as ‘R.N.S’ is being played you’d actually listen to it, and you’d pay attention. He shared invaluable advice to the young Ghanaians.
Nii Aku: Who should win, Sarkodie ‘R.N.S’, who will win Sarkodie ‘R.N.S’.
Sarkodie is taking this award no two ways about this.
Mintse Bo – Wisa Greid
Confession – Kofi Kinaata
Jwe – Bisa K’dei
Bokor Bokor featuring Mugeez & Fuse ODG – Killbeatz
Christy – Dobble
Official Kwame: ‘Jwe’ was a sleeper hit for Bisa. It was a decent single but it can’t be compared to the incredible success he had with 2015’s ‘Mansa’ and ‘Brother Brother’. ‘Mansa’ made him a major player in GH music and opened him to international opportunities to tour. ‘Jwe’ kept Bisa sizzling in 2016 but one cannot deny how fast Kinaata’s ‘Confessions’ became a nationwide festive anthem. The message was good and the timing was perfect.
Nel Magnum: CONFESSIONS is one of the most relatable and popular songs out there right now. Friday night is full of social experiences in Ghana, and this song says it all beautifully. I mean Becca’s ‘Beshiwo’ is a great song and quite frankly, I’d relate a lot more to it if a male sang it, but Confessions is my winner here. It clearly made more waves with the masses than any song in this category. I love the idea that somebody is actually being real enough to say what’s going on out there on Friday nights. Confessions is funny, witty and quite daring. I love it!
Nii Aku: Confessions was a breakout hit. Kinaata really gave us a minute to think with that tune. He certainly deserves the award. I would least be surprised if ‘Bokor Bokor’ by Killbeatz which features his label boss FuseODG and R2bees’ very own Mugeez, pulls a a quick one wins this category.
Kuami Eugene
CJ Biggerman
AJ Lyricx
Cina Soul
Deon Boakye
Afezi Perry
Official Kwame: Cina Soul is very deserving of this award. With the release of the soulfully smooth magic that is ‘Julor’, her debut EP ‘Metanoia’, and supporting concert at Alliance Française, YFM New Lord’s win, as well as her appearance at Glitz Fashion Week and Jameson Connects/Takeover concert train she had a pretty decent year.
Secondly, CJ Biggerman who’s radio, party and campus hit, ‘Number 1’ came out in 2015 should have been part of this category in 2016. This year’s nomination feels more like a consolation prize.
Aside that, this award is heavily fan voted, which makes it really anyone’s game here. Which is great, but problematic for the diversity and quality of the artists selected for this category. Many culture advancing, ‘alternative’, avant-garde artists such as Worlasi, Okuntakinte, Ayat  were surprisingly left out of this list though they equally made important contributions to the advancement and variety of GH music.
Nii Aku: Cina Soul dropped one of the best full length projects from an R&B/ high-life artist in a long while. The quality of the project in regards to songwriting, production, mixing as well as mastering are unmatched. Her performances were unusually very good considering her status as a newbie in the music industry. If given the opportunity she could really become a huge star. But knowing the history of this category I wont be shocked to see ‘Kuami Eugene’ nab the ticket for the performance.
Nel Magnum: No other artist is more deserving than Cina Soul for the platform to display her talent to the mainstream. I do also believe this category is not always given to those deserving so let’s see how this plays out.
Nel Magnum is a sound producer/ engineer having worked with a diverse list of artists including E.L., C-Real, Gemini, ModuloTGB among others, his knowledge and expertise is invaluable. Follow him on twitter @nel_magnum.
Official Kwame is a radio personality from YFM, he has a show UrbanAfricana which comes on every Sunday from 1200GMT to 1500GMT. Follow him on twitter @officialKWAME.
This article was originally posted on 05/04/2017 but due to some technical issues had to be taken off and reposted. Thank you.

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