Wow, it’s another year already and I find myself having to predict winners for the 2012 Vodafone Ghana Music Award. With a 75% - 90% rate of accuracy in the past 3 years, I hope to get as many of the predictions right, although I find most of the categories too close to call this year. I have a feeling that the biggest winner on the night will be Sarkodie and I am not surprised that majority of polls on various platforms including the official polls on the VGMA facebook page, suggest that the rapper will win the Artist of the Year nod. I feel that he will have some competition from 4x4, Stay Jay and Okyeame Kwame. Anywhere, here goes my prediction.
The artists which stood out for me in 2011 were Sarkodie, Stay J and 4x4 because they had or featured on the most number of memorable songs. I usually don’t like to use the number of public performances in my analysis because I think it’s largely the choice of event organizers based on who they want to use or can afford for their shows. And since most Ghanaian musicians don’t headline their own tours, it’s difficult for me to use such appearances as a yardstick. Since Stay J was not nominated in this category I will narrow it down to Sarkodie and 4x4 for their mass appeal. Perhaps simplistic but I think it is logical that the biggest artist of the year is likely to be the most sought after artist to collaborate with. So Sarkodie appearing on several big tunes and getting 3 nominations in the Best Collaboration of the Year category for ‘Sweetio’ with Raquel, ‘U Go Kill Me’ featuring EL and ‘I’m in Love With You’ featuring Efya, is hint enough that he was the biggest artist of the year. And even better, he headlined his own ‘Rapperholic’ concert that was sold out! Many people seem to rule out Becca, forgetting that she too had a good run with songs like ‘Forever’ and ‘African Woman’, Okyeame Kwame had one very good song, ‘Faithful’ but I don’t think he stood out as much as Sarkodie or 4x4. So my pick for Artist of the Year is Sarkodie.
The New Artist of the Year will surely be competitive this year. Atumpan had a big hit with ‘The Thing’ but I don’t think he stood out enough as an artist in terms performances and public appearance. Racquel was a true breath of fresh air in the industry. She made substantial impact on several songs and with her performances. Stay Jay like is said in my introduction was one of the biggest acts in the past year with several performances and hit songs to his credit. D-Cryme may have had one major hit song but it was one of the biggest songs of the year, and clearly he was one of the most loved acts of the year. EL had a remarkable breakthrough last year, featuring on one of the biggest songs of the year with Sarkodie, and perhaps carving a new sound for himself both as an artist and a producer with his infectious dance beats. But I don’t think he stood out very much as an individual amongst the mass of Ghanaians. Zigi’s ‘You Sey Weytin’ was big without a doubt but did he do enough as a new artist? I will narrow it down to Stay Jay and D Cryme and go against public polls which may be in favour of D Cryme, to say Stay Jay might pick the award.
For the African Artist of the Year I will narrow it down to Ice Prince and Cabo Snoop. Although I thought Ice Prince should have been nominated for Oleku the previous year it isn’t too late to reward him for having one of the biggest tunes in Ghana in recent times. I think it terms of mass appeal and generating more excitement, Cabo Snoop was a much bigger hit with songs like ‘Prakatatumba’ and ‘Windeck’ creating a dance phenomenon all over Ghana. But I think Ice Prince would have more star power to snatch it from Cabo Snoop.
Its difficult predicting any of the hiplife categories since it was the most competitive genre in the past year with several hits from various artists. As much as I wish Sarkodie could win all the awards I think it won’t be the case. Could the Hiplife Song of the Year be one that he will lose out on? In terms of mass appeal and popularity, I would narrow it down to Stay Jay – Shashee Wowo, Keche – Sorkode, Sarkodie – U Go Kill Me, Buk Bak – Kolom, and D Cryme – Kill Me Shy. I’m torn between Sarkodie, Stay Jay and D Cryme but I think Sarkodie may have enough star power to knick this one.
For a second year in a row, highlife music didn’t see too much activity in Ghana and so the Highlife Song of the Year is difficult to choose because not that many songs stood out for me. I think the winner would emerge based on star power or technicalities. Kwabena Maphia’s ‘I Go Pay’ was one of my favourites but sadly didn’t see it resonate with the masses that much. Lucky Mensah’s ‘Nkratuor’ was popular only for a short time and it was mudded with too much politics. I will narrow it down to George Darko’s ‘Lucky Star’ and Kwabena Kwabena’s ‘Be Gye Me’ only because the former represents a revival of real highlife for many pundits of the genre and the latter is seen as the biggest torch bearer for the modern face of the genre, currently. I think the industry people will vote for George Darko while the public votes for Kwabena Kwabena. However, if I am pushed to choose, I will pick Kwabena Kwabena because he has more public appeal.
I still don’t know what afro-pop music really is but I will narrow the Afro-Pop Song of the Year down to Becca- African Woman, Fuse ODG- Azonto, Zigi – U Say Wey Tin, and Atumpan – The Thing based on the strong elements of African rhythms in those song. And based on the impact of Becca’s African Woman, and what it reflects, I think she will knick it.
My favourite song in Hip hop Song Of The Year category is Sarkodie – I’m In Love With You but I wonder if it had enough mass appeal to win this one. D-Black – My Kind of Girl is a strong hiphop song but when it comes to mass appeal, I think Kwaw Kese – Poppin may just win this one. I would narrow the Gospel Song Of The Year down to Gifty Osei – Fefeefe, Philipa Baafi – Dea Eba Wosem Afe Yi and Selina Boateng – Me Nku Me Ho. But after winning the gospel album of the year, I think Gifty Osei may win this one too. I think in terms of star power, the Reggae Song of the Year will come down to a race between Blakk Rasta – Miss Right, Edem – Ghetto Arise, and Stonebwoy/Samini – Climax. I love Ghetto arise but I think the two established reggae acts in the running are Blakk Rasta and Stonebwoy, and Stonebwoy may just knick this one.
For Group Of The Year, I think it would be a close battle between R2Bees, Buk Bak, Keche, and 4X4 but I think overall, 4x4 did very well as a group and they could come up tops! My picks for Best Music Video of The Year are Becca – African Woman, Okyeame Kwame – Faithful , and M3NSA – No One Knows for their artistry. But M3nsa’s video may not be very popular in Ghana so I think it will lose out to the other two. Between Becca and Okyeame Kwame, I think the rap doctor may win this. Based on popularity, I would narrow the Best Rapper of the Year race to Sarkodie – U Go Kill Me, Okyeame Kwame – Faithful and EL – Obuu Mo. But I think Sarkodie has the star power to knick this one too.
Record of the Year due to its definition is one category that I often get confused but nonetheless I have got my prediction right on two occasions. This year, I will narrow it to Okyeame Kwame/Bertha – Faithful, Trigmatic/Irene – Light and Darkness, and Sarkodie/Efya – I’m In Love With You. I have I feeling that the industry vote would be unpredictable and I think Trigmatic and Irene will win this one, but Sarkodie and Okyeame Kwame are big contenders.
I still don’t know how Cash Unit’s ‘Ayoo’ missed a nomination in this category because it was one of the biggest songs of the past year in terms of mass appeal. I will however narrow the race for Best Collaboration of the Year to Eduwordzi/Stay Jay – Yenko Nkoa, Okyeame Kwame/Bertha –Faithful, Sarkodie/EL -You Go Kill Me in terms of mass appeal and star power. I have a feeling that Eduwordzi/Stay Jay will upset the star power of Okyeame Kwame and Sarkodie.
I would also narrow the Album of the Year down to Sarkodie – Rapperholic, 4×4 – Waist and Power, and Stay Jay – Repetition, due to impact and number of memorable songs on the album. I think 4x4 may just stun the competition and grab this one from Stay Jay. For Highlife Artiste(s) of the Year, my sentiments are same as the Highlife Song of the Year category and I think it would be a race between Kwabena Kwabena, Kwasie Pee and George Darko. But Kwabena Kwabena could have enough star power to win it. Gospel Artiste(s) of the Year follows a similar analysis and with the absence of the gospel heavyweights this year, Gifty Osei could grab this one too. Hiplife\Hiphop Artiste(s) of the Year would be more competitive and I think Stay Jay, 4×4, Sarkodie and D-Cryme will lead the race. But again, I think Sarkodie will have enough star power to win the nod.
Most Popular Song of the Year is certainly too close to call and I will narrow it down to
to Stay Jay – Shashee Wowo, D Cryme – Kill Me Shy, and Sarkodie – U Go Kill Me in terms of mass appeal and their durations, and Okyeame Kwame- Faithful based on appreciation of good music. But due to the response Sarkodie got with his song, and seemingly spearheading the Azonto phenomenon both home and abroad, I would give this one to Sarkodie.
Well join me at the VGMA’s tonight as we find out how accurate my prediction would be this year. If you can’t be the Dome of theAccra International Conference Centre to wintness the ceremony or watch it on national television, then follow all the updates on my twitter page (@ameyaw112 ) or Facebook page.