A key personality who contributed immensely to the growth of Ghanaian hiplife music has revealed that Reggie Rockstone and Panji Anoff did not originate the genre.
Abraham Ohene-Djan, a renowned filmmaker behind some of the hiplife music videos shot in the 1990s, explained that the two personalities, contrary to perceptions, did not invent the popular genre.
While Reggie Rockstone, for years, has insisted that he originated hiplife, several personalities – including Zapp Mallet and Panji Anoff – have disputed his claim.
Even though he has been disputed by many, Reggie Rockstone has worn the tag ‘Hiplife Grandpapa’ signifying that he is the ‘Godfather of hiplife’.
Resurrecting the never-ending debate about who truly originated the popular genre, Abraham Ohene-Djan, speaking in an interview on Showbiz 927 on 3FM with MzGee says Zapp Mallet is the originator.
“I will say something; it may be controversial; I don’t think it was Reggie [Rockstone] and I don’t think it was Panji [Anoff]…,” the producer-cum-director, who shot Reggie Rockstone’s ‘Twoo Boe’ in 1994, stated.
The CEO of Ohenemedia noted: “I think the person that we really need to look at is Zapp Mallet; seriously, because in terms of who defined the hiplife sound…it was Zapp who first put out what we refer to as contemporary, urban, or African or Ghanaian music. Yes Reggie was the one who was on the beat…Pandji was doing his thing…” he added.
Explaining the types of genres, Abraham Ohene-Djan clarified that what defines any genre of music is the beat.
Using gospel as an example, he said it is not a genre of music but reggae, rock, and classical music are considered genres of music because they are defined by their beat.
“It is the engineer that creates the genre…a subject or a style of rapper or singing doesn’t define the genre…”
He also highlighted that, “as time goes on information gets distorted” and fortunately for him, he has some records to prove who he believes started the hiplife genre.
Abraham said he still has some records and some rashes from ‘Twoo Boe’, which was originally called ‘Hiplife’ and others.
When asked who coined the phrase hiplife he admitted it was something that he is still researching since Panji said there was a publication with the term “hiplife” during PANAFEST 92 and he is still trying to find that publication.
The CEO of Ohenemedia revealed that “I’m putting something together. I need to digitise some old material… and I will make it all available online so people can go listen to interviews or at least research that information.”