Far from Trench Town, Rose Town and Denham Town in Kingston, Jamaica, Dancehall music has overwhelmed Nima, Maamobi, and Accra Newtown etc. in Accra, Ghana to become the most vibrant genre in the populous communities.
Murals and initials of local stars and their support group painted on walls in alleys will greet any first time visitor to the communities popularly called Zongo.
The next obvious attractions are the printed logos on t-shirts mainly donned by the youth; and dreadlock wearing boys with tattoos. It’s either they belong to RM (Ruddest Movement – Rudeboi), SN (Self Nation – Addi Self), TCM (Terror Clique Movement – Bastero), PM (Platinum Minds – Sheriff), Zaafi Empire (Rashid Metal) and dozens more.
These groups have collectively grown quickly in numbers, lifestyle and actions, giving birth to a culture called Dancehall Movement and the christening of Nima, Dancehall City.
The music is no more the centre that holds the movement but rather the family and affiliation, with or without the direct involvement of the Dancehall musicians who wave their flags on musical platforms.
Rivalry and overzealousness characterize the families who go to the extent of physically attacking opposing groups to protect the integrity of the local brands they believe in.
The easily identifiable Dancehall rivalry which had national attention is that of Samini (High Grade Family) and Shatta Wale (Shatta Movement) spanning over two years. The latter was an idol for many Dancehall lovers in the ghettos as a result of his pronounced affiliation to the communities and short-lived relocation.
While the award-winning musical artistes were getting their monies worth from media war, bloody intra and inter-community squabbles ensued in their interest. They are now losing popularity to born and bred local artistes who are struggling for national coverage and if lucky, international.
One-time local artistes who are tasting glory now are Stonebwoy from Ashaiman, Iwan from Accra Newtown, Rudeboi from Maamobi and Rashid Metal among a few.
For now, rising local stars like Addi Self, Bastero, Sheriff and many others who are struggling to go beyond the big guys keep brightening their corners in Nima, Maamobi, Accra Newtown etc.
Watch ambitious young Dancehall artiste Addi Self represent Maamobi;
…Bastero also holds down Newtown;