5 artistes who dominated Dancehall music in Ghana before Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy
Dancehall artistes Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy are among the most successful Ghanaian musicians in the last five years.
Their tracks have dominated the music circles and seen them win numerous awards within this period.
In fact, one cannot make a list of the top five Ghanaian artistes in the period without including Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy.
The fact that a social media war between the Dancehall stalwarts has dominated entertainment news headlines in Ghana in the last one week clearly attests to their stature.
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But as dominant as Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy may be currently, they did not pioneer Dancehall music, which is originally a genre from Jamaica, in Ghana.
YEN.com.gh takes a look at the early days of Dancehall music in Ghana and the artistes who dominated the genre before it really became this popular.
1. General Marcus
General Marcus started out when genre did not really have an identity in Ghana and is considered as one of its pioneers.
Having released hit tracks like 'Sa Na Ni Agbaa', 'Medi W'akyi Daa', and 'You're Not There For Me', in the late nineties, General Marcus relocated tot the United Kingdom.
An attempt to revive his music career in 2006 was not successful as he faced obstacles trying to promote his album.
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"I recorded an album in 2006 and I brought it to Ghana trying to promote it and then I realize I had to spend so much money for radio stations to play it, that is another reason why I decided to leave this place because I've spent a lot of money," General Marcus stated in an interview.
But his massive contribution to the genre cannot be over-emphasized and he is still remembered for the fusion Ga and Jamaican patois in his songs.
2. Yoggi Doggi
Yoggi burst onto the scene at a very young age excelling as a guest artiste on Akyeame's massive hit, 'Mesan Aba', which was released in 1999 with his 'ragga' verse.
Having started out as Lorgoror Junior of rap group Lifeline Family fame, it was his delivery on the Akyeame track that instantly shot him to fame and many other features came his way.
Notable among the songs he featured on were Nana Piesie's 'Police Abaa' and Nana Quame's 'Ateaa Donko' and 'Auntie Adisa'.
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His own release, 'Awengaaa' did not end up being successful as the songs he featured on as a guest artiste and he relocated to the United Kingdom where he has been for close to 15 years now.
In 2014, he released 'Buwupa' and though it did not get him mainstream attention, Yoggi Doggy is still very popular for the few years he stayed in the limelight.
3. Sonni Balli
Sonni Balli started out as a regular rapper with the Hiplife group G-Life which he formed with three friends.
After releasing two albums which had hit tracks like 'W'ate W'ani Ayera' and 'Ko Ma Me Nko', the group disbanded.
It was after the G-Life disbanded that Sonni Bali decided to do Dancehall music and is fondly remembered for his verses on Mary Agyapong's 'Adede' and Slim Busterr's 'Georgina'.
He released his album as a solo artiste, 'First Scene Second', which had the successful 'When You're Gone' (Empress Gal) on it.
He is credited with helping the career of Samini, then known as Batman, whom he was with at the Ashanti International record label of Nana King.
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4. Terry Bonchaka
Terry Bonchaka was so gifted that he could literally do anything with a microphone but he was essentially a Dancehall artiste.
In the short time Terry Bonchaka spent as a mainstream artiste before his tragic death in 2003 aged just 21, he dominated with his style of music, sense of fashion, and stagecraft.
Personally, he had hit tracks like 'Ghana Lady', 'Poulele' and 'Zoozey' before his death. He was also very successful working with other artistes and tracks like Nyansapo's 'I'm Aware', Nan Agyemang's 'Mr Ode' and Lord Kenya's 'Nketewade' coming to mind.
Terry, in his days, was so big an artiste that when the popular Dancehall musician, Shaggy, came to Ghana in 2001, he requested Bonchaka shared the stage with him.
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And Terry's influence also included bringing up other artistes including Shatta Wale, then known as Bandana, and King Ayisoba.
Shatta Wale, in one of his tracks as Banada, 'No Problem', refers to Terry as his 'master' and he still considers him as such.
That should be enough to tell you the stature of Terry Bonchaka.
5. Root Eye
Yes, if you did not know, Root Eye of TV3 Music Music fame is or was a musician.
In the mid-nineties when Hiplife was coming up, Root Eye was one of the few who infused the Jamaican style of delivery.
Check out 'Sweetie Sweetie' from Reggie Rockstone's first album and Akyeame's 'Brebre'
Actually, if Reggie Rockstone is described as Hiplife grandpapa then Root Eye could also be described as the Ghana Dancehall grandpapa.
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Special mention - Samini (Batman)
The story of Samini's success as a Dancehall artiste is widely known but we are not including him in the list because he is still very much in the game.
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