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Opinions of Friday, 13 March 2015

Columnist: Ahmed, Mohammed

Eno bi charter house, ebi cheating house

A tweet to ogyam!

…eno bi charter house, ebi cheating house…

My best line in Shatta Wale’s “Letter to charter house” track is this line… “eno bi charter house, ebi cheating house”. The punch line is not only dope but spiritual! It conveys the message of the song in the most succinct and holistic fashion drumming home the brevity and creative genius the “Dance Hall King” is made of. The punch lines in that music especially the Ga rhymes is legendary and timeless. The beat and rhythm of the song can even choke you to death. It is the song that sounded the trumpet of the dance hall revolution in Ghana. This song undoubtedly will be remembered in the music industry long after Shatta Wale is gone. In fact it will remain in the minds of Charter House and the organizers of the GMA until the end of time. The reason for loving this song is pure and simple; it’s the bare facts.

Ogyam! Before I proceed further, let me put a big disclaimer on this our conversation; ‘I am not talking about Iyiola or Kwakkwe Aplankee Katekate or whatever the name is, as somebody mentioned in his videos. Neither am I talking about a court case involving Charter House and the Dance Hall King. I am talking about the Ghana music industry.
All credible music award scheme the world over is being organized by the players of the industry. Ghana Music Award is the only award the industry players are called to play a part of or given a role to play and not to own it. We have a different organizer, who picks and choose who and who among the industry players he should include to make his profit motivated work successfully. So if Charter house view you as a critique or utterly opposed to their methods, you will not be invited to be a part of the award albeit you are an industry player. Don’t get it twisted Ogyam, I am not asking them to bring all the industry players on board. My point is that, Charter House reserve the right to pick and choose among the industry players who partakes in the Ghana Music Award. When in every credible awards in the world, it’s the industry players who choose which Event House organizes the award. HMMMM Ebi matter oo!!! How on earth can Nii Ayi be the Chairman of the GMA Board? What has he done in the music industry??? To be fair to all the music players in Ghana, BB Menson of Radio Gold or Anolf Panji will make a far better Chairman of the board than this dude… Allah! Nii Ayi Tagoe and Mac Okreku Mante all of Joy fm fame at least qualify. We know what they have done in this industry. But Nii Ayii????? Like seriously?

Another Wahala with this Award scheme is the pure commercialization of the whole process. A brand of product is celebrated more than an Artiste who has served the industry all his life. Look Ogyam! these guys have never celebrated any artiste in any of the GMA night…very sad. If Artistes are not celebrated on the so called biggest musical stage in Ghana, where again do we want them to be celebrated? Artistes who belong to a brand or company are given all the exposure and platform to market their songs at the expense of other Artistes who don’t belong to that brand. Remember some time past, some particular artistes were given the opportunity to flaunt themselves on stage and even become MC at some point in time. Ogyam! Where are they on GMA stage now? Their brand is no longer sponsoring the event and hence they are seated in the audience like ordinary men. Let’s see if they will celebrate Castro this year.
The struggles these artistes go through before they record their first demo are unimaginable. You have no idea Ogyam. Some of these Artistes walk as far as Medina to Accra just to present a demo to a producer, radio presenter or a rich tycoon. They go back same way they came or if lucky, they get a peanut for transportation. The plight of the Ghanaian musicians especially underground artistes cannot be overemphasize and I’m not about to narrate this long story. Neither am I blaming any organization for these predicaments. These problems can be laid squarely at the door steps of Government. We don’t have a practical legal regime to regularize entertainment in Ghana. It is therefore very difficult to curb a simple piracy palaver. Interesting! how difficult it is for Artistes in Ghana erh? Hmmmmm. Instead of mounting pressure on Government to enact laws and enforce them to benefit them now and the future, they rather mount the stage during campaign to canvass vote for NDC and NPP. The phenomena is so painful that I sometimes feel like writing a book and titled “The pedagogy of the Ghanaian Artistes” Ogyam.

Now to my real concern Ogyam! Coupled with all these problems if an organization like Charter house is organizing an Award to reward these artistes, it shouldn’t come with an additional stress. It should be devoid of stress, I mean stress free to Artistes! At least all artistes should be given money for their work however small it may be once nominated. They should be given the opportunity to explain to people what went into their work or creative processes. Let them feel celebrated. Charter House is able to put in their budget an amount for the organizers and board members but can’t do same to the Musician whose sweat and creative piece all these players are relying on. It baffles my imagination Ogyam! Look they are able to put up Red Carpet and other flashy expensive decoration for the Audience and the Camera’s but are unable to give Artistes descent transportation and Hotel accommodation in the round up to the main events. WHY???? You use my image, my creative efforts to make a lot of money and yet when I ask for my share, you say I don’t respect. Respect you for what?

Ogyam! I happen to chance upon the list of nominees for the 2014 VGMA awards. To my utter surprise Shatta Wale is not on the list. So I asked myself, how can you organize 2014 music Award in Ghana and Shatta Wale is omitted in your list? What informed your decision? If for nothing at all Ghanaians need explanation to such decision. This is because it is highly unusual for the reigning Artiste not to be in the list of nominees to be awarded in the said year. Shatta Wale has released more hit songs than all Artistes put together in 2014. Played more shows than all of them. Sarkodie and Stone bwoy follows respectively. So how come? Shatta Wale’s “TALK TALK” is undoubtedly the most popular song in 2014. You may not like the open vulgarity in the song but you also do not need the spiritual potency of Archbishop Duncan William’s to know this song is the most popular song of the year and first of its kind in terms of uniqueness. The question is how come? Is your Award Ghana Music Award (GMA) or Charter House Music Award (CHMA)? Well for your information, every Artiste has a subject in his creative journey. Kwodjo Antwi will move you to heavens with his theme of love song. Daddy Lumba will move you to hell with his vulgarity and ‘A pluz’ will choke you with his political themes. Shatta Wale’s subject is “BEEF”! So you don’t take fight to his house for you will lose. If you can take Shatta Wale’s Beef songs from day one you will realize what I’m talking about. The choice of beat, the rhymes, the punch lines, the energy and the delivery should inform you that, the Artiste has landed in his comfort zone. Perhaps the only Artiste in Ghana that can face Shatta Wale in this venture will be TINNY. The way to deal with Shatta Wale is to ignore him. This is a free advice to Charter House. Otherwise your reputation will be tinged forever. Think about these things in the face of a credible new Award scheme called “The People’s Choice Award”. The name alone is enough to get you out of business. This Award is also organized by a credible organization and the board members are equally giants in the entertainment arena. You can listen to “ObIAA Ye Bad” by Shatta Wale if you doubt me.

Ogyam! With all Shatta Wale’s open vulgarity and noise making, he has succeeded in doing two major things in the music industry. He has succeeded in raising the Dance Hall genre to the highest level in Ghana and also succeeded in driving away the Nigerian music out of the Ghanaian market. Since Shatta Wale took the centre stage in Ghanaian music, it has always been Ghanaian music or nothing else. Davido and Don survived for some few months and disappear into thin air. Everybody has his or her flaws and Shatta Wale is not an exception. Let us not focus on the negativity and cast dirt on people forever. Wale is an Artiste period!!! Ghanaians must judge his works not his character.
Another worrying situation is the apparent taking over of the Bass Awards. We all know Charter House does not award Dance Hall and Reggae Artistes in Ghana. All of a sudden they have become the proponent of Dance Hall in Ghana. They have even move further to hype Stone bwoy above other equally fantastic Dance Hall Artiste in Ghana. The plan is to get at Shatta Wale and his manager but it won’t work. They are trying everything within their power to give stone bwoy the Artiste of the Year. Apart from Shatta Wale, the Artiste that deserves the Award is Sarkodie. Even Stone Bwoy’s hit was made hit by Sarkodie. …“Sarkodie must retire”, “stone bwoy performs live” and other funny justification. Listen to their stooges and the so called entertainment critics and you will understand Ogyam. Just note! Charter House; Dance Hall is not a joke thing! Street credibility we deal with not Hype. Brace yourselves then because the laws of the street are different from your laws. “LEAVE THE BASS AWARD ALONE”A word to the wise is enough! Go listen to Shatta Wale’s “SCAM DEM”, you will find your answers.

Finally, I urge all Musicians in Ghana to boycott the VGMA this year in protest of Shatta’s elimination. This is because they will do same to you one day. We didn’t react when it happened to )BRAFO). We were again quiet when they did it to R2BEES and KWADEE.