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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Various Artists

By Paula E. Kirman
Published July 22, 2008

Black Stars: Ghana's Hiplife Generation
Out Here

Ghana’s “hiplife” (a stylistic outgrowth of highlife) music merges hiphop with reggae and dance, resulting in an energetic, lively mix of movement and culture. Although it’s very popular in Ghana, hiplife is not well-known to the rest of the world, but Georg Milz from the Out Here label hopes to change that with this collection, which includes some of the best sounds in hiplife today. Intended as an introduction to the style, the disc includes detailed liner notes that place the music in a social and historical context. And of course there’s the music itself: from Reggie Rockstone (the “Godfather of Hiplife”) to other prominent artists like Tic Tac, V.I.P. and Ofori Amponsah, many sing in regional languages from the area, adding to the uniquely Ghanaian sound. The title Black Stars has multiple layers of meaning—referring both to Ghana’s national flag and to the Black Star Line shipping company founded by activist Marcus Garvey, who sought a return to Africa for the descendants of African-American slaves—but the most important stars here are those, like Rockstone, who seek to bring a new and irresistible groove to a universal audience.