When we talk about some of the finest rappers in Ghana, Obrafour’s name cannot be ruled out, despite the successes he has chalked up with his talent, he says it is Highlife which made him who he is today.

According to him, Highlife music played a major role in his music career and till date.

“Growing up, I remember my dad used to have a pile of records of Highlife albums and will play it every Sunday from morning to evening. I used to listen to the likes of Ramblers, Nana Ampadu, Adofo and other great Highlife musicians and that gave me a lot of ideas and deep in-depth knowledge of music.

“My compositions, my delivery are all a result of the good Highlife music I had the privilege to listen to when I was young. The story telling in my music is from Highlife music. When I started my music career with sound engineer Hammer, I was doing Highlife but Hammer advised that I do rap” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

He explains that he is a better rapper because of the influence of the Highlife he listened to over a long period of time. “In fact, the likes of Adofo, CK Mann, Ramblers, Nana Ampadu shaped my Hiplife career because these musicians played a major role in my music. The proverbs, adjectives and the wise sayings are things I picked from Highlife that guided me to do better music. I have benefited a lot from Highlife music” he revealed.

Adding up to how he stamped his feet on the rap scene, the Heavy hitmaker said he needed to own the rap with Twi and it was amazing how Ghanaians embraced it.

“When Ghanaians bought into my rap, it gave me the zeal to do more and now every song I do is motivated by Highlife and I have no regret spending a lot of time to pay attention to all these great musicians in the past” he stated.

Touching on how he sees Hiplife now, Obrafour said it was not how it used to be in the past. “During our time, Hiplife was a big deal but now Afrobeats seem to take over everything and I understand that because music evolves and that is where we have gotten to now.

“But despite all the genre we do here in Ghana, I still maintain that we are original in our songs. If we maintain our originality and not see music as the only form to entertain but educate, inform and preach our customs and traditions , our music can go far.

Mentor

Apart from Guru who Obrafour is known to have brought to the limelight, the Kasiebo rapper said there were a lot of young artistes he had mentored but he did not want to put out their names.

‘’It is always hard for me to credit myself with people I have helped. I have mentored most of the young musicians who are doing great out there. Anytime I put out a new project, I try to introduce a new artiste and by God’s grace, most of them have become big,” he said.

Has he been celebrated enough and what’s next?

To him whether or not Ghanaians have celebrated him enough, he appreciates the love Ghanaians have shown him over the years and he is grateful for that.

“What more can I ask for, I am grateful and appreciate what I have through music. Ghanaians have done enough for me by supporting my music and I know I was just giving the best of me.

“There is a lot in the pipeline. I believe God has blessed me with enough knowledge to still give Ghanaians good music. I have never looked down on myself and so far as there is life in me, I will continue to do great songs until God calls me”, he stated.

Artistes managing artistes

Answering a question whether it is difficult for a musician to manage another musician, Obrafour who celebrated 20 years in the music industry in 2019, said it was so difficult to do that.

According to him, there would always be a conflict of interest if a musician managed another artiste. “There will always be competition between the CEO and his artistes. It is best for a musician who wants to sign another musician to delegate it to an equipped manager to handle.

“There will always be issues if the musician himself wants to be the manager. We have had examples here in Ghana and all did not work” he explained.

Born Michael Elliot Kwabena Okyere Darko but popularly known as Obrafour or Rap Sofo, the award-winning musician celebrated his 20th anniversary in the music industry in May 2019.
He has songs such as Pae Mu Ka, Asem Sebe, Tofa, Asem Beba Dabi, Heavy, Nte Tee Pa, Yaanom, Maame, Kwame Nkrumah, Kasiebo and Adom Bi.

Some of the awards he has won include Rapper of the Year, New Artiste of the Year and Hiplife Song of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards in the year 2000.
Obrafour has worked with musicians such as Sarkodie, Bisa Kdei, M.anifest, Red Eye of 2 Toff, Guru, Tinny among others.

About the author

Kwame Anane