This year, the Ashanti Region’s capital of Kumasi has become the cradle of a new pop craze known as Kumerica. Spearheaded by the Ghanaian city’s urban youth, the trend, like many other modern cultural persuasions, is largely inspired by the US and fused with local influences. The result of that fusion is the portmanteau Kumerica.
The Kumerica vibe is apparent in the restyling of suburbs in Kumasi by Kumerica enthusiasts after states in the US. So, Abrepo is now Georgia, Aboabo is Massachusetts, Abuakwa is Chicago and Manhyia is Washington, DC.
The trend also bares itself in fashion, with Kumerica-branded paraphernalia in high demand. But it is asakaa music that has proven to be the biggest marketer of the trend, its singles dominating local radio and digital streaming charts. It has even caught the attention of dancehall firebrand Shatta Wale, who has announced a project to highlight hardworking young musicians practising the genre. Sometimes referred to as ‘Kumerica rap’, and often coming across as bristly love letters to Kumasi, the sound is a unique local interpretation of the Chicago hip hop subgenre of drill.
Below is a playlist of songs that serve as a beginner’s guide to the blooming drill scene in Ghana. Because of how fast the sounds is gaining momentum, this list will be updated regularly, so do check back from time to time on the new additions that have made the selection.
Akatafuc by Kawabanga ft. O’Kenneth, Reggie and Jay Bahd
Kumasi’s new sonic wave often revolves around the rappers in this song, who have largely dictated the sound’s creative tone in recent months. This number, spearheaded by Kawabanga and set in the chest-thumping ethos of hip hop, benefits from the vocal energies of O’Kenneth, Reggie and Jay Bahd.
La Hustle Remix by Medikal ft. Joey B and Criss Waddle
‘La Hustle’ is the first major attempt by a mainstream act to take on the style. Rapper Medikal, often the architect of catchy anthems characterised by humorous street jargon, strikes again with incisive precision. The message? A lack of hard work leads to “death”. Joey B and Criss Waddle secure guest spots on the remix, drawing in added traction.
Sore by Yaw Tog ft. O’Kenneth, City Boy, Reggie and Jay Bahd
Since its release in September 2020, this Chris Rich-produced anthem starring teenage sensation Yaw Tog rallies fellow asakaa forebears O’Kenneth, City Boy, Reggie and Jay Bahd. It has swiftly shot up local charts and courted international acclaim, including an impending remix by US rapper Vic Mensa. ‘Sore’, which translates from Tog’s native Twi as ‘get up’, touts its authors’ abilities while rousing its listener to keep on the hustle.
Suzy by Jay Bahd ft. Kwaku DMC and City Boy
Jay Bahd’s ‘Suzy’ has also been widely referenced in the asakaa rap debate. As the title suggests, ‘Suzy’ listens primarily as a lustful salute of a woman’s curves.
Otan Hunu by Dead Peepol
Rap duo Dead Peepol aim direct shots at their detractors on ‘Otan Hunu’, declaring that they convert hate targeted at them as a launch pad. Using witty lyricism and a blasé stance, the men whip up quite the anthem. The song was updated with fresh verses from GH music mainstays including Fameye, Medikal, Kuami Eugene and Bosom P-Yung.
Kumerica by Zion Felix ft. Reggie Rockstone, Lilwin, Yaa Jackson, Ypee, Amerado, Brenya, Rap Fada, Oseikrom Sikanii and Phaize
The Kumerica craze has been so infectious that celebrity blogger Zion Felix could not be left out, the movement serving as his foray into music. An ode to the city of his birth, ‘Kumerica’ celebrates the majesty of the area that is also nicknamed the Garden City. It features a full house, including hiplife founder Reggie Rockstone.
Oseikrom Vibe by Strongman
Oseikrom is another nickname for Kumasi. Strongman, formerly signed to Sarkodie’s SarkCess Music, celebrates the city with a high-octane flow that is also dance-ready. Long renowned for his lyrical mettle, the rapper continues to situate himself as the heir-apparent to the country’s most revered names in hip hop. ‘Oseikrom’ was released in August 2020 as a stand-alone single published ahead of his maiden full-length 10am, also due for a 2020 release.
Oseikrom Geng by Flowking ft. Stone Phaize Gh and Obey Tunez
Like Strongman, Kumasi vet Flowking Stone touts the city unapologetically, which he argues has played second fiddle to the country’s capital Accra for many years. ‘Oseikrom Geng’ is taken off the rapper’s latest collection, BRA (Best Rapper Africa).
Straight Outta Kumerica by Archipalago
For controversial US-based socialite-turned-rapper Archipalago, Kumasi is best described as “a nation within a nation”. It is the core message of his October 2020 song ‘Straight Outta Kumerica’. Replete with youthful recklessness, the attending video for the song, directed by Creative House, also glistens with the polish of ‘shot abroad’.