Jesse Weaver Shipley’s critically acclaimed book on the journey of hiplife is set to launch in Accra this Thursday, April 11 at GrandPappaz, ‘home’ of the man who started the chapter on hiplife, Reggie Rockstone. Published by one of the top academic presses in the world, Duke University Press, the book, ‘Living The Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship In Ghanaian Popular Music’ celebrates hiplife music and the torchbearers of the genre.
It is an historical and social account of hiplife, from the 1990s until today. It features the top artists and celebrities who have made this music into a global phenomenon as well as the underground talent that drives new styles. It shows how young rappers, beatmakers, DJs, and producers in Ghana and its diaspora use music to gain status, wealth, and respect. The book describes the current global interest in celebrity culture and how Ghanaian artists blend together various influences to make music that is popular and innovative.
The book focuses on pioneers like Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Reggie Rockstone, Panji, Hammer, Obrafour, VIP, Tic Tac, Sidney, Buk Bak, Okyeame Kwame, Tinny, and Abrewa Nana as well as newer stars like D Black, R2Bees, Samini, M3nsa, Wanlov, M.anifest, Efya, Edem, Mzbel, Sarkodie, and Kwaw Kese. Celebrity culture has gotten big in Ghana and this book explores it. It also shows how to be an artist in this day and age you must also be savvy entrepreneur.
The book’s author Jesse Weaver Shipley is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College in the United States. He is a filmmaker and writer who has been doing research, writing, and making films in Ghana since 1997. His scholarly work is dedicated to showing the importance and global relevance of African and specifically Ghanaian popular culture. He has made numerous music videos and documentaries in Ghana, South Africa, and the United States. He has lectured all over Europe, Africa, and the Americas.