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Ako (war) - politics, verbal battles and heavy lyrics

Posted by abocco on Mon, 10/09/2006 - 02:21 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

It's two years to Ghana's next presidential election, and the race to govern/lead Ghana is heating up. Candidates have started campaigning and others are rallying support. I watched 'Good Evening Ghana' with Paul Adom Otchere on Africast recently and he was interviewing Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, an aspiring presidential candidate who doubles as Korle Bu's CEO. One major issue raised in the interview was that the professor was too 'cool' and didn't want to get involved in the dirty aspect of politics - verbal assaults, character defamation, etc. The other candidates are already resorting to criticizing their opponents, but our favourite cardiothoracic surgeon is trying to stay away. It's a political battle and the language used is not pretty. Well, maybe one person can battle and use pretty language, and that is none other than my favourite musician, Obrafour.

Obrafour released his fifth album, Heavy this year. People thought he had 'retired' after working on his compilation album (Execution Diary) which focused on promoting other hiplife artistes like Kwaw Kese, Tinny, Dogo, Okra Tom, Hotcore, etc. Heavy featuring Kofi B topped the charts for many weeks. The song that inspired this blog entry is Ako (war) which is also on the Heavy album with Auntie Akosua ba (with Kanda Bongo man - aka hiplife and soukous), Kae me, Odo nsuo, Wote puupuu and African Boy. Ako (war) is my favourite. Obrafour's lyrics look like lines in a rap battle. "He fights with his words and when he is in a war, he doesn't need his gun." Seems the song is about the beef Kontihene has with Kwaw Kese, the Last 2 camp and the Executioner himself which originated from Kontihene's 'Migizigi'. Obrafour does not resort to insults in his 'tirade', he uses well crafted idioms and proverbs to carry his points across so beautifully.

Rap beefs and battles are not new in the hiplife game. Ex Doe (Maba) and Chicago (Wobeko) got in the act after 'Daavi medekuku'. Obrafuo (Bra be hwe) and Lord Kenya's (Aka asi ani) battles have been well chronicled. It was reported that Tinny (Aletse Kankpe on Heko Ejorko - I believe I can fly) had buried the hatchet with Jay Q (and Shilo and Buk Bak) after they got together in the studio. K.K. Fosu seemed to tell Batman Samini it was through him he became famous (Na through me, Oga) and this continued with Quata and Gogome. Screwface came out with his reply (Gyae hye) to Batman Samini's 'Di wo line mu'. We still can't decide whose African woman song is the better one - Kokovelli or Amingo? These dudes must be selling records, people will say. I know it's all love though, none of these guys harbour any ill toward each other.

How about our politicians? Are battles and verbal assaults for them too? At least, I didn't hear Tinny go on air to blast Buk Bak. Our politicians seem to attack personalities instead of issues. The NDC has continued to criticize the NPP on many moves without providing much alternatives and their supporters have gotten into the act. The country is polarized (and this is not even along liberal or conservative lines). Even the cocaine crisis has been politicized (Mettle-Nunoo, MP Amoateng et al). But seriously, can't our politicians and statesmen 'debate' with class? I thought they are the educated ones, with the Western PhD's who are supposedly more civil. Prof. Frimpong Boateng is trying to change this culture and instead of encouraging him, we are telling him to get right out of it (and concentrate on performing heart surgeries), because he shouldn't be soiling himself with verbal assaults. I think our political climate needs a number of surgeries.

Obrafour sends his messages across with 'pretty', deep and wise language. He makes us think twice, listen thrice and appreciate what he says. Are our politicians failing to tackle these political battles intelligently because they are using English? What happened to the beuatiful proverbs and idioms we grew up with? If we will stoop low to attack personalities, we should do it with 'class', give them food for thought and advice. I would say, let's not attack people at all, let's attack issues. Our politicians should give us reasons to believe they will develop our country, fix and prevent problems and would act in the best interest of the common Ghanaian, our people and not our nation's image in the eyes of non-citizens. We want to vote for people who would help us attain the Golden age of business and not those who are angels relative to others.

I hope Prof. Frimpong Boateng stays in the race, listening to him made me feel he has the right ideas and attitude for Ghana's development. He seems to agree with me on the issue of political language. We don't want to see people throng the streets due to what some politician said, we want to see healthy debates about the way forward sparked by a politican's comment. Those of us who are not gunning for public office should learn to exercise restraint as well and not chastise our politicians without offering constructive feedback. If we can't say it nicely, we might as well shut up. Am off to listen to the Rap Sofour again.

Full Ako (war) lyrics.


Local Gov't

I wish people of Prof. Frimpong Boateng's caliber were more active and interested in local gov't (Assembly men/women, DCEs). People tend to ignore the importance of local gov't. I believe the key to real change/development in Ghana is in local gov't.