Ben Brako: Hip hop Is Not Good For Ghana
One of Ghana’s most outstanding Hi-life musicians, Ben Brako says Hip-hop music is not helpful to Ghana. He said while Hip-hop is foreign, Hip-life is Ghanaian and an offshoot of mainstream Hi-life. In an exclusive interview with myjoyonline, Ben Brako said the culture associated with Hip-hop comes with the 50 Cents culture, such as the dress code: wearing of big chains, and wearing the trousers to the hips. He said there was also the language and attitude which are contrary to Ghanaian culture. “I don’t like Hip-hop because I don’t like the way they dress,” he said. Adding that “we should be able to promote and project our own culture, and this is not about being patriotic, but it is also about economics,” he said. “We should be able to create our own music, with our own clothing, and fabrics – that way we would be creating more jobs,” he explained. He expressed concern that the youth of Ghana, who are the future of the country and music are buying into Hip-hop, instead of mainstream Hi-life. He also said, rap is not new to Ghana, because Gyedu-Blay Ambuley and so on have been doing rap for sometime now in Ghana, except that rap has now become acceptable. He said if Ghanaian musicians do not create Hi-life music in such a way that the younger generation buy into it, “we would lose it forever.” He advocated that Ghanaian musicians should create music that is more traditional, unique, and distinct and can easily be identified with Ghanaian culture. He spoke on his life, music and the music industry in Ghana. He said his award winning album ‘Baya’ which was released in 1987 is still selling. The album he says is unique because every single track on ‘Baya’ is a hit on its own. Ben Brako said ‘Baya’s’ success has been so phenomenal that his later albums seem to suffer some slow acceptance. He said his fans want to hear ‘Baya’ in all his music. He said, unlike other musicians, he did not want to use the rhythm on the ‘Baya’ album for his subsequent albums. He said he could have remixed the ‘Baya’ rhythm for all his albums but he steered clear off that path and became more creative by doing different rhythms for his albums after ‘Baya’. On the music industry, he said one of the effective ways by which music could get to the people is to project live music shows. He was however, quick to point out that there are fewer theatres for live shows in Ghana. He said, even the National Theatre which is available is expensive for a majority of Ghanaians, therefore, he said if live shows are organised at a venue like the National Theatre, the masses, who are a potential market, do not have the means to attend. He said, if there are venues that accommodated a large number of people who are made to pay what they can afford, the music industry will make money and at the same time reach a large number of people. Ben Brako, in his bid to revive Hi-life music, told myjoyonline he has initiated a project that will promote live Hi-life band performances in the country.
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