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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cosmopolitanism and patriotism in Ghanaian hiplife lyrics

  • Author(s): Garfinkel, David A.
  • et al.

Ghanaian Hiplife is a musical style that emerged in the early 1990's, and has steadily gained popularity since. The music is a combination of Ghanaian Highlife--an early 20th century mix of both European and local traditions-- and American Hip Hop. As a musical hybrid, Hiplife often blurs the lines between the global and the local. Its re- contextualization of Western synthesized beats with local languages and music traditions has created a music that in many ways represents the cosmopolitan. However, it often simultaneously symbolizes a sense of patriotism for the relatively young country, emphasizing local significance of ethnicity and location. Through the use of various languages--Akan languages, Pidgin English, and Hip-Hop Vernacular English--current Hiplife artists demonstrate a complex give and take between the cosmopolitan and the patriot

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