Ata Kak (GH)

Hiplife is often regarded a fusion of highlife – a combination of big band jazz and brass band styles infused with key elements from the DNA of the African and Caribbean music – with the production structures of American hip-hop and rap. Ata Kak’s «Obaa Sima» cassette fell on deaf ears when it was first self-released in Ghana in 1994, but when American musicologist Brian Shimkovitz stumbled upon the tape at a street stall in Cape Coast, Ghana, eight years later, it became the stimulus for him to launch his Awesome Tapes from Africa blog, writing in his inaugural post: «This is it. The song is called Moma Yendodo. You may never hear anything like this elsewhere. No one I know in Ghana listens to this frenetic leftfield rap madness.» The music on the recording, an amalgam of highlife, twi-language rap, funk, hip-hop and electronic music, traverses a pop music landscape that encapsulates international modes while reflecting contemporary Ghanaian music of the period. After more than a decade of searching Brian finally tracked down the singer and released the LP officially in March 2015.