Guest Editorial Lead: Mumuni Yirifa Yunus
The Northern showbiz industry witnessed its golden age, arguably in the last decade, despite having a strong presence at the beginning of the new millennium.
Between 2010 and 2020, the industry unearthed some of the greatest singers and rappers in the country who competed strongly with experienced and established Musicians in the area.
It is therefore difficult to name the top 10 most consistent artistes over the period as tens of artistes did remarkably great in the industry.
However, after taking into consideration the impact of artists in their catchment areas, their impact on the national scene, and the noticeable awards or achievements they made over that period.
Below is by far the top 10 artistes in Northern Ghana who particularly reigned between 2008 and 2018.
10. Ras Badingu
Ras Badingu is a Reggae Artiste based in the Uper West Region of Ghana. His name has become a household name in the Upper West region with many describing him as the King of Waala Music. His versatility and iconic stage craftsmanship has earned him so much loved amongst lovers of Waala music and he has been consistent over the years too. His 2017 hit album Nuore Yiene enjoyed massive airplay and featured on various worldwide music stores including Deezer and Apple Music. He has featured with Musicians across the country including the legendary Dagbanli Musician, Abu Sadiq.
9. Gonga (Lil K)
Zamaani Da Gonga, formerly known as Lil K is a Dagbanli music singer based in Tamale. He started his craft as a Rapper in the mid-2000s and produced some very controversial and battle songs which propelled him into the musical limelight. However, he switched to singing and fast became one of the most recognized singers in the Northern Region. His rendition of P-Square’s “No One Like You” with compatriot Dong Sigli (ca.2009)was the turning point of his career, especially after he fell out with Don Sigli after the release of the hit song. He carved a support base for himself as a result. Despite having gone off the scene for a number of years later, he came back strongly around 2016, producing hit after hit after hit. Songs like Mumuna, Ti bi lan monsira, Nye Nyongu, Nyo Mugli and 2019 smash hit, Suhupielli, which celebrated the enskinment of Yaa Naa Abukari II are some of his greatest hits of his career.
8. Sherifatu Gunu
Sherifatu Gunu is a singer and performer and is by far the most consistent female artist in Northern Ghana, with her career spanning a spate of two decades and in all the years, she has produced hit after hit, after hit. Songs like Yumtaba, Naa Gbewaa Zuliya, Lahre, Salamatu and Sherifa which she featured Sarkodie have become evergreen in the music industry. The VGMA award winner till date continues to be a shinning example of artistes of Northern descend, making it big in the country.
7. Don Sigli
Don Sigli is a singer based in Tamale and brother of legendary Ghanaian Reggae musician, Sheriff Ghale. Don Sigli broke into the music industry with his classic “Pagba” which was a rendition of P-Square’s “No One Like You” and featured Lil K on it. The controversy that followed the release of the song also propelled his career to unbelievable heights. He has a unique voice and has in the last decade produced hit after hit including his 2016 smash hit “Wumpini” which saw him perform it before then President, John Dramani Mahama. His career went a bit on the low when he left the scene briefly to concentrate on his studies, however, despite that, he still produced some very nice songs over that period, making him undoubtedly one of the most consistent.
Undoubtedly the finest rap musician from the Upper East Region, Soorebia burst onto the music scene in 2017-2018. He may not have been around for a long time, however, he is already regarded as the torchbearer of Frafra Rap music and he has lived up to that expectation. In 2018, Soorebia released Guyman which featured fellow Rapper, Maccasio and
5. Mama Rams
Mama Rams of blessed memory was a highlife artiste and performer based in Tamale but of Mamprugu descend. Her career spanned a period of two decades before her untimely demise in 2020. The multiple Northern Music Awards winner produced smash hits and classics in her rather short-lived life and was regarded as Mamprugu Celine Dion. Lambelabela, Man maliya and Wumpini are some of her songs that made waves across Northern Ghana and beyond.
Maccasio is a Dagbanli Rapper and performer based in Tamale and broke through the industry in 2014. His debut album “Boussu” was in March 2014, his second album, “Oshihila Nkpe” in 2015 and his third studio album dubbed “Ninsala” was launched on 19 August 2017. However, it was his 2016 hit single “69 fans” that propelled his career, especially after he and Fancy Gadam were literally fighting for control of the music fan base in the region. He made national headlines when his 69 Peace Concert in 2016 saw him pull over 10,000 people to the Tamale Sports Stadium. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the Ghana music industry including Shatta Wale, Mugeez of R2bees and Kofi Kinaata. In 2018, he won the Breakout Act of the Year at the 3Music Awards and subsequently received a nomination at the 2019 edition of the prestigious VGMAs.
3. Abu Sadiq
The legendary Abu Sadiq is a Reggae artist based in Tamale. His career spans over two decades and he has somehow been able to remain relevant in the Northern Music industry throughout that period. From his debut album, Naanigoo through to his 2020 hit single Devils Angel, Abu Sadiq, also known as Policeman has produced timeless and classic reggae songs that talk about society’s ills. Naanigoo, Bang Sua, Pam which he featured Rapper Ataaka in one of his most recent collaborations and “Jelaa”, hist latest hit single are examples of a mixture of his old and new hit songs. He has also received several lifetime achievement awards over that period.
2. Fancy Gadam
Arguably the most marketable music brand in the northern region fancy gadam has over the years tried to remain relevant by producing hits after hits after hits. He burst onto the music scene in the late 2000s and has stayed relevant throughout the period he has been around. Fancy gadam has several albums to his credit and his breakthrough album which had songs that made it onto the national scene. His collaboration with Sarkodie titled “Total cheat” won the most popular song at the 2018 VGMAs and that was after he won the new artist of the year at the 2017 VGMAs. He has signed endorsement and ambassadorial deals since his blistering entry into the Ghana music industry. Fancy Gadam has collaborated with artists including Mr. Eazi and Patoranking of Nigeria.
Wiyaala is an Afro-pop singer and undoubtedly the biggest music export in Northern Ghana. She made a huge entry into the Ghana music industry in 2013, after making her name in reality shows in Accra, which won her two awards at the 2014 first edition of the All Africa Music Awards, the Most Promising Artiste in Africa and Revelation of The African Continent. She headlined the 15th London African Music Festival in London and was recently named among the Top 30 Most Influential Women in Music by the 3Music Awards Women’s Brunch. Wiyaala has been consistent over the years and has won the admiration and respect of music lovers for her ability to maintain the standard she carved for herself since her breakthrough in 2013.