According to musician Okyeame Kwame, young musicians are reluctant to adopt the Hiplife genre or identify their music as such since they do not see any financial gain from doing so.
Speaking on Hitz FM’s Daybreak Hitz, Okyeame Kwame brought attention to the fact that Hiplife is not recognized as a genre on popular streaming services like Apple songs and Spotify, which leaves artists in the genre with nowhere to market their songs.
He clarified that this requires musicians to either place their music under the Alternative category, where it would be difficult for it to stand out among the multitude of songs, or label it as Afrobeat, HipHop, or Afro-Fusion in order to obtain exposure.
“We are making music with the intention of having a social and economical impact. Given that music is growing more and more popular in society and that people are listening to it, why is he doing this if he can’t make money off of it? How will he provide for his family’s food?
That, then, is the initial point. That’s a business, and he has to pitch it as such. Hiplife has no place in the world like that, so in it to be distributed, it must fit on the distribution shelf. For that reason, would I have given my music the name Hiplife if I had been doing it when I was younger? He said, “No, I wouldn’t have done that.”
Thinking back to the success of Hiplife in his day, he said that radio stations’ desire to play the genre as well as the availability of distribution methods contributed to the genre’s success.
He also said that older artists’ inability to attract new listeners to the genre was the reason for Hiplife’s drop in popularity.
Every other genre grows into something much bigger, but as it does so, the unions that control the music or the leaders of that genre figure out how to preserve the term and give it a longer lifespan. Hip-hop, for instance, encompasses several genres such as hip-hop soul, hip-hop R&B, and hip-hop trap. In a similar vein, Highlife evolved into Borger Highlife and then Hiplife.
Nevertheless, as Hiplife grew, something occurred that informed the youth that naming the musical genre they were into would be more detrimental to them than beneficial.
One of Okyeame Kwame’s suggested remedies to the problem was for relevant institutions, such as GHAMRO, MUSIGA, and telecommunications, to work together to build Ghana’s music streaming platform.
Many genres, including Adowa, Afrofusion, Highlife, and Hiplife, would be served by such a platform. Young artists would be able to exhibit their work, maximize awareness, and make money if these genres had a designated area.
With optimism, he said, “It is not beyond us.” We will do everything in our power to place Ghana’s platform—which features Adowa, Afrofusion, Highlife, Hiplife, and other genres—on a pedestal so that many young people can place their songs there and have them optimized and visible. If we succeed in doing so, we will have given them a way to express themselves and earn money.”