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Guest Blog: Why the New Kumerica Wave (Asakaa) Should Not Be Dismissed

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The ‘’Kumerican’’ wave or “Asakaa” is gradually sweeping across the hip hop landscape despite its rawness. The new wave which is gaining massive attention from hip hop lovers around the world should be allowed it to run its course.

A legacy of Pope Smoke, the American rapper who was murdered on February 19, 2020, during a home invasion was helping bring the drill sound to mainstream hip hop. The 21- year old Brooklyn native broke through the mainstream with his single “Welcome To The Party”, a highly infectious record released in April 2019. Unlike his fellow rappers who continued to tap into the Atlanta inspired trap sound, Pop Smoke found inspiration across the pond- the UK Drill scene – thus becoming the face and voice of that genre in the US.

Drill Music, according to Wikipedia” is a style of trap music that originated in the South Side of Chicago in the early 2010s. It is defined by its dark, violent, nihilistic lyrical content and ominous trap-influenced beats”. The article continues to state that “a regional subgenre, UK drill, emerged in London, particularly in the district of Brixton, beginning in 2012. UK drill rose to prominence by the mid-2010s and has influenced the creation of other regional scenes, such as Australian, Irish and New York drill”.

The second single ‘’Dior’’, off Pop Smoke’s “Meet The Woo” mixtape heralded a new phase in the global growth of drill music. His untimely death and the subsequent release of his posthumous album “Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon” thus cemented his name and the sound for which he had grown his stature.

In Ghana, the hip hop scene is embracing the drill sound, incorporating it in the new wave of hip hop music. The epicenter of this new wave is Kumasi, where some young rappers are owning the sound. Labelling the new wave as “Asaaka” or “Kumerica”- a fusion of the words “Kumasi” and “America”, these rappers, through the use of social media are growing the width of the sound.

Kumasi has always been a hotbed for new trends especially music. Tracing the history of music or entertainment in Ghana, Kumasi has always owned a stake in its propagation, in terms of financiers and talents. As some have observed, the only advantage Accra has over Kumasi in the entertainment sphere are the perks that comes with Accra being the capital of Ghana. That is, almost all the major stakeholders and infrastructure supports are found in Accra, meaning some key players in Kumasi have to either settle in Accra or keep trekking to and fro Accra for business.

O’Kenneth & Reggie are among rappers leading the Kumerican wave

In addition to the above, Kumasi has always been ahead of Accra in embracing new cultural waves. In simple terms, Kumasi serves as the trial ground for trends. Accra picks what happens in Kumasi and perfect its raw endings. The emergence of the “Kumerican” wave has thus injected new energy into the Kumasi rap scene. Led by Reggie, Kawabanga, Kwaku DMC, O’Kenneth, Rich Kent, these rappers have adopted the drill sound, adding their own style – fashion, lingua, lifestyle – into the overall emerging music culture.

The mainstreaming of the new wave began with Dead Peepol’s street anthem “Otan Hunu”. Other street anthems have since been released, all geared towards propelling the impressionable hip hop sound. The release of “STRAIGHT OUTTA KUMERICA”, a 6-track EP by O’Kenneth and Reggie encapsulates and validates the new hip hop breeze. Songs like “Ya Parke”, “Ain’t Shid”, “M.O.B” balances braggadocio missives with commentary about living in Kumasi.

The drill wave, like many other trends – notably the crunk wave that awashed the scene a decade ago- has been considered by some as a passing fad; that the world would move on to the latest trend, leaving the propagators who could not roll with the new trend in the ditch. The conversations that has begun in some quarters is underpinned by criticism of the wave. What is of the essence now is the fact that, these “kumericans” (drill rappers in Kumasi) have found something that they can call their own; something that is illuminating their talents without any support from mainstream channels.

They have succeeded at pulling the mainstream towards their orbit. It was thus refreshing to hear ”Kumerica” references being made at the just ended Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, witnessing some mainstream artists riding the wave and radio stations, which traditionally would ignore such music featuring Kumerica tunes in their playlists. (Manny, co- curator of this blog couldn’t hide his surprise when he heard “Otan Hunu” on Joy FM. Yes, Joy FM.) That’s the endorsement or support that the Kumarica movement needs if it is to run its full course.

This country has a notoriety for suffocating unique, emerging genres before it even gets widespread acceptance. So-called hip hop ‘purists’ are often dismissive of trends like “Kumerican drill”, describing it as inferior. It can’t be just a mere coincidence that any wave that is spearheaded by those at the ‘fringes’ (uncool kids) are often shot down by the ‘cool kids’ before it even grows its own legs and walk its own path (Hello Azonto). The “Kumerica” wave is bound to suffer the same fate. Admittedly, this wave is still raw, unpolished and the players need to improve their rap game. That’s the more reason why the genre needs room to grow.

Genres do not just blossom on their own. It takes a collective effort to entrench it. When Outkast’s Andre 3000 proclaimed in 1995 that the “South got something to say”, he was drawing attention and asking hip hop afficionados to be open minded. A decade or so after, we have seen how the “South” is influencing hip hop sound in the 21st Century. Similarly, the “Kumerican” drill like any new wave or genre would succeed if we collectively protect, support, promote and above all, offer it time to pick up. Presently, the drill sound is not even the biggest genre in America. The difference, however, is that it’s not being condemned. It’s being embraced and allowed to blossom. That’s what we have to do down here as well.

And, just as O’Kenneth and Reggie pointed out on “Bust” off “Straight Outta Kumerica”, the “Kumerica niggas can no longer wait/All this hate, all this time, all these years/We probably shake the room with the flex as we say”.

Kumerica has brought excitement to hip hop. Let’s not kill their vibe.

CREDIT: CULART.BLOG

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$20,000 investment up for grab at Global Student Entrepreneurship Week 2021

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Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is pleased to announce that registrations are open for hybrid Global Student Entrepreneurship Week 2021 scheduled for October 28-30, 2021.

The strategic objective of Global Student Entrepreneurship Week is to help students and early-career individuals think like job creators and not just job seekers. Since its inception, the project has become an explosive growth-focused startup event with students, budding entrepreneurs, and early career professionals learning from investors and entrepreneurs from Africa, Silicon Valley, the U.K, and beyond. 

SFAN pioneered Student Entrepreneurship Week in 2018 with a maiden Ghana edition in partnership with the British Council Ghana. The following year, the team took the excitement to the rest of the continent with a Pan-Africa Student Entrepreneurship Week hosted by Ecobank Ghana. That event was featured in Forbes, with participants raising a recorded $113,000 funding.

And in 2020, despite the devastating impact of the pandemic, the SFAN team soldiered on with a global virtual edition attracting speakers from around the world.

Now in its fourth edition, this year’s Student Entrepreneurship Week receives partnership from Loveworld Next and Loveworld Business Network and will focus on the theme “The Next Frontier of Innovation and Leadership.” 

Tom-Chris Emewulu, Founder and President of SFAN says: “When I was a student entrepreneur, a certain academic figure told me that it was a terrible idea and I might not graduate. But I graduated with a First Class honor. Of course, it was a challenging process because I had to learn a lot. Hence, I created Student Entrepreneurship Week to help co-dreamers and innovators find direction and build their careers.”

Don’t miss this mind-bending experience. You can join the event onsite or online. SFAN’s partner Loveworld Next will be hosting a live pitch session called The Next Big Thing Pitch Battle with a $20,000 cash prize up for grabs. The event will also be awarding three student entrepreneurs with the prestigious Student Entrepreneur of The Year Award.

To make your reservation, apply to pitch for the $20,000 TNBT pitch, apply for the prestigious student entrepreneur of the year award, or learn more about the project, visit studententrepreneurshipweek.com.

For sponsorship or speaking opportunities, contact the team via info(at)sfanonline.org.

 

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“Bear With Us” – GTA Boss To Cinema Operators On Closure Of Cinemas

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Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority Akwasi Agyemang is pleading with Cinema operators to bear with government as they the world fight COVID-19 as cinemas remain closed.
In March 2020, President Akufo-Addo announced some restrictions on movement after Ghana recorded cases of COVID-19. Cinemas, Churches and places where people could meet were closed down as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19
Speaking with Doreen Avio, the GTA boss explained that Ghana is still in a tough situation due to COVID-19 and will not let efforts down as the world fights the virus
“I will still plead with our operators in the industry that they should bear with us. It’s tough. If you go out there to places that have been shut, is tough, we feel it but let’s all be safe than sorry. As the vaccinations go on and restrictions eased gradually, we will be back in business.”
 He reiterated the need for our Cinemas to remain closed.
“I think we have engaged Severally on this.  We have met with the movie operators, we have met film producers,  it is not something that anybody is happy about, but we also know the times we are in, better safe than sorry. As a president indicated,  let protect lives And later on we will look at livelihoods.
The movie industry is one of the sectors hit hard by COVID-19 due to closure of cinemas. This according to movie producers has made them lose a lot of cash and asking government to reconsider the decision on the closure of Cinemas
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It’s All You Can Watch Sport this weekend on the DStv App!

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As a way to reward the growing number of DStv customers accessing their favourite content through the DStv App, DStv is hosting the biggest Open Weekend yet, exclusive to customers on the DStv App.

 

From Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September 2021, customers across the continent on all DStv packages will have unrestricted access to sporting content across some of the best SuperSport channels including WWE, SuperSport La Liga, SuperSport Football, SuperSport Cricket, SuperSport Premier League, SuperSport Golf and SuperSport Tennis among many others. Note that the Open Weekend does not apply to SuperSport Rugby.

 

It’s a Baller Weekend on the DStv App and you need to Up Your Game! Catch all the weekend’s biggest games with unlimited sport on the DStv App.

 

“The way our customers access content is changing and we’re changing along with them. The DStv App has always allowed customers to stream live channels or watch the latest episodes of their favourite shows. For one weekend only, we’re adding all of our SuperSport channels to the mix, so they can kick back, relax and enjoy their favourite sporting fixtures.

 

Some of the unmissable sporting content to catch on this Open Weekend include two Premier League thrillers, as Chelsea take on Manchester City (Saturday 11:30  LIVE on SuperSport Premier League) and Arsenal battle Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby (Sunday 3:30  LIVE on SuperSport Premier League).

 

Other football highlights include La Liga matches such as Real Madrid v Villarreal (Saturday 19:00  LIVE on SuperSport La Liga), Barcelona v Levante (Sunday 2:15  LIVE on SuperSport La Liga) and Serie A’s Rome Derby, or the ‘Derby della Capitale’, between Lazio and Roma (Sunday 16:00  LIVE on SuperSport Football).

 

Motorsport fans can get their thrills from Formula 1‘s Russian Grand Prix (Qualifying on Saturday at 2:00  and the Race on Sunday at 12:00 , both LIVE on SuperSport Motorsport), while tennis fans can catch the final of the WTA Tour’s Ostrava Open (12:30  LIVEon SuperSport Tennis).

 

Another major highlight is the Ryder Cup, golf’s traditional showdown between Europe and the United States. This year’s event takes place at the Whistling Straights Golf Course in Haven, Wisconsin. You can Catch Day 1 (Friday 12:00 ), Day 2 (Saturday 12:00 ) and Day 3 (Sunday 16:00 ) all LIVE on SuperSport Grandstand and SuperSport Golf.

 

“From when we restarted our qualification process in January, the last eight months have been very positive,” said European team captain Padraig Harrington. “Everybody has been able to play and we have a good system in place that has allowed us to look at everyone and see how they’re doing. There is no question that we are in good shape and everyone associated with Team Europe cannot wait to get to Whistling Straits and get going. Especially me!”

 

Fans of something more visceral and violent can take in UFC 266 (Sunday Prelims 12:00  and Main Card 02:00  LIVE on SuperSport Action), which will be headlined Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega’s grudge match for the UFC Featherweight Championship in the headline bout.

 

“Right now, [Ortega] thinks he understands this chess game we’re about to play. But he’s going to realise – and real quick – that he doesn’t,” warned Volkanovski.

 

And if you want your fighting to come with a fair scoop of ‘kayfabe’ alongside it, then check out the latest edition of WWESmackDown (Saturday 12:00  LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3), where you can catch up on the latest shenanigans heading into Monday’s Pay Per View event, Extreme Rules.

 

Another key highlight is the Berlin Marathon (Sunday 07:00  LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3), which will see 25,000 runners taking part for the biggest road running race anywhere in the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

 

What makes this Open Weekend even rewarding is that with the DStv App, customers will be able to enjoy sporting content that is not always accessible on packages outside of DStv Premium, and they can access this content while on the move through their smartphones or other smart and mobile devices.

 

The DStv App can be downloaded in Google Play and in the App store. For more information on the Open Weekend please visit www.dstvafrica.com.

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Phrimpong to inspire young minds to achieve more with The Possible Project

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After graduating with a BSc Biological Science, Ghanaian musician and professional teacher Derrick Frimpong conceived the idea to give back to society by embarking on an informative youthful campaign.
Fast forward, almost a year of painstakingly thinking through and putting resources together, the thought is set to materialize with the first of many planned events intended to keep alive dreams of artistry and intellect simultaneously.
Announcing the inspiration for this admirable endeavor, the rapper took to his twitter account explaining how he overcame the shadows of doubts from family members to excel, and uses his feat in both fields as a benchmark for the campaign.
See tweet below:
The youthful campaign dubbed The Possible Project will seek to inspire, educate and challenge young people on the possibility of developing both their academic aspirations and innate talent simultaneously, and be useful to society at both ends if they put their hearts and minds to it.
The event that will be characterised by sharing of branded stationery and other inspiring engagements is set to take off on Friday, 24th September, 2021, at various Junior High and Senior High schools starting from his immediate Ashtown neighborhood.
Phrimpong has shared stage with Shatta Wale, Sarkodie, Okyeame Kwame, Flowking Stone and many other
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Absa Group to Implement Second Significant B-BBEE Transaction

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Absa Group Limited, one of the largest diversified financial services providers in Africa, plans to implement a second significant broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction as part of its broader efforts to achieve transformation in a meaningful and sustainable way.

 

“The planned transaction is a demonstration of our commitment to transformation and cements our longstanding view and approach of creating inclusive growth in Africa. While it is aligned with the South African government’s B-BBEE objectives and with the commitments contained in the Financial Sector Code, we will also extend the offer to include employees across our operating markets,” said Jason Quinn, Absa Interim Group Chief Executive.

 

While the transaction is in development, it is currently envisaged that the scheme will hold up to 8% of the Group’s issued share capital, which equates to approximately R9.4 billion, based on the Group’s share price on 20 September 2021, and that it will be broad-based, including third-party investors and staff. The staff component will enable all Absa employees across the Group’s operations to become shareholders and to participate in the Group’s growth.

 

In 2004, Absa became the first of the large banks in South Africa to conclude a significant B-BBEE transaction, issuing a 10% stake to Batho Bonke Capital. The Batho Bonke empowerment consortium consequently became the second-largest shareholder in Absa. As the Batho Bonke transaction unwound, allowing beneficiaries to sell their shares, South Africans, from community trusts to women’s groups, BEE companies, stokvels and employees, benefited.

 

Subsequently, as part of its separation from Barclays PLC, Absa announced that it would undertake a new B-BBEE transaction in line with its transformation efforts. Barclays transferred a 1.5% stake in Absa to the Absa Empowerment Trust in 2017. Dividends subsequently received by the Absa Empowerment Trust in relation to those shares have been used to purchase additional shares, resulting in the initial stake increasing to approximately 1.9%. These shares will form part of the new B-BBEE transaction.

 

The development of the proposed B-BBEE scheme was hindered last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a sharp economic downturn and unfavourable market conditions.

 

Full details of the proposed scheme, which will be subject to shareholder and other approvals, will be published once the design has been finalised. The scheme is expected to be implemented in 2022.

 

“The intention to undertake a new B-BBEE transaction demonstrates Absa’s significant commitment to transformation,” said Quinn. “Meaningful Black participation, including ownership, at all levels of the South African economy, is a national priority to ensure sustainable sociopolitical, financial and economic stability.”

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Free SuperSport For All DStv Customers All Weekend on the DStv App!

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As a way to reward the growing number of DStv customers accessing their favourite content through the DStv App, DStv is hosting the biggest Open Weekend yet, exclusive to customers on the DStv App.

 

From Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September 2021, customers in Ghana on all DStv packages will have unrestricted access to sporting content across some of the best SuperSport channels including WWE, SuperSport La Liga, SuperSport Football, SuperSport Cricket, SuperSport Premier League, SuperSport Golfand SuperSport Tennis among many others. Note that the Open Weekend does not apply to SuperSport Rugby.

 

It’s a Baller Weekend on the DStv App and you need to Up Your Game! Catch all the weekend’s biggest games with unlimited sport on 18 SuperSport channels on the DStv App.

 

“The way our customers access content is changing and we’re changing along with them. The DStv App has always allowed customers to stream live channels or watch the latest episodes of their favourite shows. For one weekend only, we’re adding all of our SuperSport channels to the mix, so they can kick back, relax and enjoy their favourite sporting fixtures,” said Alex Okyere, Managing Director, MultiChoice Ghana.

 

Some of the unmissable sporting content to catch on this Open Weekend include two Premier Leaguethrillers, as Chelsea take on Manchester City (Saturday 11:30am LIVE on SuperSport Premier League) and Arsenal battle Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby (Sunday 3:30pm LIVE on SuperSport Premier League).

 

Other football highlights include La Liga matches such as Real Madrid v Villarreal (Saturday 7:00pm LIVE on SuperSport La Liga), Barcelona v Levante (Sunday 2:15pm LIVE on SuperSport La Liga) and Serie A’s Rome Derby, or the ‘Derby della Capitale’, between Lazio and Roma (Sunday 4:00pm LIVE on SuperSport Football).

 

Motorsport fans can get their thrills from Formula 1‘s Russian Grand Prix (Qualifying on Saturday at 12:00pm and the Race on Sunday at 12:00pm, both LIVE on SuperSport Motorsport), while tennis fans can catch the final of the WTA Tour’s Ostrava Open (12:30pm LIVE on SuperSport Tennis).

 

Another major highlight is the Ryder Cup, golf’s traditional showdown between Europe and the United States. This year’s event takes place at the Whistling Straights Golf Course in Haven, Wisconsin.

 

“From when we restarted our qualification process in January, the last eight months have been very positive,” said European team captain Padraig Harrington. “Everybody has been able to play and we have a good system in place that has allowed us to look at everyone and see how they’re doing. There is no question that we are in good shape and everyone associated with Team Europe cannot wait to get to Whistling Straits and get going. Especially me!”

 

Fans of something more visceral and violent can take in UFC 266 (Sunday Prelims 12:00am and Main Card 2:00am LIVE on SuperSport Action), which will be headlined Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega’s grudge match for the UFC Featherweight Championship in the headline bout.

 

“Right now, [Ortega] thinks he understands this chess game we’re about to play. But he’s going to realise and real quick that he doesn’t,” warned Volkanovski.

 

And if you want your fighting to come with a fair scoop of ‘kayfabe’ alongside it, then check out the latest edition of WWE SmackDown (Saturday 12:00am LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3), where you can catch up on the latest shenanigans heading into Monday’s Pay Per View event, Extreme Rules.

 

Another key highlight is the Berlin Marathon (Sunday 7:00am LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3), which will see 25,000 runners taking part for the biggest road running race anywhere in the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

 

What makes this Open Weekend even rewarding is that with the DStv App, customers will be able to enjoy sporting content that is not always accessible on packages outside of DStv Premium, and they can access this content while on the move through their smartphones or other smart and mobile devices.

 

The DStv App can be downloaded in Google Play and in the App store. For more information on the Open Weekend please visit www.dstvafrica.com.

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