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Who Takes What? Ghana’s Biggest Musical Night is Upon us

This year is said to be special for two reasons; the event is in its 25th year, and this will be the new sponsor, Telecel’s first music awards since buying out and rebranding from Vodafone Ghana earlier this year.

A quarter-century of music celebrations in Ghana will be crowned on the 1st of June. With activities such as the launch, the Xperience concert, and the TGMA in schools’ initiative already concluded, all eyes turn to the biggest night for music in Ghana.

This year is said to be special for two reasons; the event is in its 25th year, and this will be the new sponsor, Telecel’s first music awards since buying out and rebranding from Vodafone Ghana earlier this year.

2023 was a very good year for Ghana music, with lots of music and new and exciting acts. Social media, particularly TikTok, played a huge role in our consumption of music, something that has not been the case previously. Now, more artists are understanding the power of social, and creating music that can go international off these social platforms. But with all the big talk and hard work, how will this year’s awards shape up?

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There will be surprises as usual, something we have come to know with the music awards, an artist that most expect to win might go home feeling disappointed. For most of the categories, it is decided between a 15-man TGMA Board, 150-member Academy, and public votes with a vote split of 30%, 30%, and 40% respectively. With this background, it is easy to see why most of our favourites might not win, as the public vote does not amount to much, considering how many people might vote. For technical categories, public opinion is not sought. Here are a few of the categories and their possible winners.

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Best Hip-Hop Song. The best hip-hop song is decided by the Board, Academy, and Public as the hip-hop song that generated the most excitement in the year under review. This category is very divisive because songs like Lonely Road and Akatani appeal to a certain generation and class of people whilst Sarkodie’s Otan might appeal to a different audience. That notwithstanding, this should be a close contest between O’kenneth, Xlimkid, and Sarkodie with the Kumericans edging it.

Best Afrobeats Song. This is a category that most people would outright decline to predict because of how close and how good most of the songs were in the year under review. Kuami Eugene’s Monica, Kidi’s Likor, Olive the Boy’s GOODSIN, and Banzy Banero’s HOSSANA all made waves on the internet and our radios. There is very little to separate these songs, in the end, it will come down to public vote and Kuami Eugene might just have enough to get this over the line.

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Best Rap Performance is not open to the public, as it is one of the technical categories decided by the Board and Academy. Strong contenders like Sarkodie, Eno Barony, Medikal, Strongman, and Lyrical Joe make up this category with their songs Otan, Warning, We Made It, Dear God, and 5th August 7 respectively. I tip Lyrical Joe’s 11 minutes 26 seconds of lyrical dexterity and pure venom to win this round. The 2022 Best Rap Performance winner was made for moments like this, and he will deliver this award again over Sarkodie and Eno Barony.

Kumerica has come into its own with the Best Hip-Life Song category. This category has Oseikrom Sikani, Reggie and the Asakaa boys, Jay Bahd and the Asakaa boys again, and King Paluta. Although I would love Asakaa to win this, I feel King Paluta’s journey and the year he has had would be the deciding factor and his Yahitte Rmx with Kuami Eugene would carry the day.

King Promise should have an easy run with the Best Afrobeats/ Afropop artists considering the year that he has had. From shows to two big hit songs that travelled the shores of Ghana. Kidi, Gyakie, Camidoh, and Wendy Shey are great competition, but they won’t complain if the Terminator maker takes this one.

EP/ALBUM of the Year. This should be keenly contested between Stonebwoy and Amaarae, who both delivered splendid bodies of work within the past year. On the day, I trust Stonebwoy to pick up this one. Per the criteria, the winning Album or EP should have either more hit songs or better production.

Between King Paluta, Olive the Boy, and Banzy Banero, there is no easy winner in this category. Olive the Boy’s Avana EP had the social media hit, GOODSIN. Banzy Banero’s Hosanna was everywhere, and King Paluta’s Yahitte, which was originally released in 2022, was re-released in early 2023 with Amerado and Strongman features, and finally, the remix with Kuami Eugene which was nominated for the award, shows the journey of the Kumasi star. King Paluta might just edge this on public votes.

Most popular song. With a year of numerous hit songs and jams and TikTok being the peak of the biggest hits, King Promise, Kuami Eugene, and Olive the Boy should be leading these nominations. Any of the artists mentioned should win this in any other year. King Promise’s Terminator would win this on the strength of the international recognition that he has garnered off this record with both the original and remix gaining 215 million worldwide streams across all platforms.

And now to the biggest category of the night, this award has split heads, caused brawls, and put the preparedness of the event in doubt whilst denting their image. Again, this will be keenly contested. Stonebwoy had a spectacular 2023, with the release of his 5th dimension album and the world tour that followed. Last year’s winner, Black Sherif, dropped the Take Care of Yourself Blacko EP. Kuami Eugene’s LOVE AND CHAOS Album was good, and Monica from the Album is already contending for the song of the year. King Promise followed Terminator with Perfect Combi and later added a Young John feature to Terminator.  But he didn’t end there, he also secured a Sean Paul and Tiwa Savage remix. Based on the years they have all had, this category, the biggest of the night, would be contested between King Promise and Stonebwoy and King Promise might just have enough for the 1GAD.

This year’s Telecel Ghana Music Awards promises to be one for the books, and with the good music that last year provided, 1st June cannot come early enough.

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