Every year after nominations are released, we debate endlessly about who didn’t deserve to make it and who should’ve made it on radio, television and on social media.
Every year, we watch as the organisers make the same mistakes which we criticise with all the breath in our bodies but nobody really offers solutions or makes sure the same mistakes are not repeated the next year.
Every year, everybody raises their voices against the major award scheme in our country telling us they are fighting for a better award scheme only for them to go dumb when their own interests are catered for by the organisers. I am betting this year will be no different.
However, I will still like to suggest these solutions to what I feel are the basic problems that the VGMAs have.
First and foremost, the format through which nominations are selected for the various categories should be changed. Instead of one board to cater to every category, each category should have its own committee which comprises people who are pioneers of the particular genre which that category caters to (with the exception of the general categories of-course). If this is done, then the risk of nominating songs for genres which they do not fit will be avoided. If the committee for selecting music for all gospel categories is made up of ace gospel musicians, gospel DJs and presenters then the risk of nominating non-gospel songs for the gospel categories will be minimized to a very high degree. The same goes for all the other categories. Also, the organisers of the event should have absolutely nothing to do with the committees or they might influence proceedings whether deliberately or accidentally.
Furthermore, categories as well as genres should be clearly defined and these definitions should not be modified whenever it suits the organisers. I say this because of the three most troublesome genres i.e. Hip-Hop, Hiplife & Afro-Pop.
Time and time again, we have argued over songs being nominated for categories they didn’t fit in and I believe this is because the genres and categories have not been clearly defined so every year the committee struggle and depending on their moods find new definitions for the various genres. For example, E.L’s Koko; a song which has no rap in it was nominated for Hiplife song of the year when it is better suited for Gospel song of the year. This brings me to my next point, which is that the VGMAs need to understand that just because an artiste makes music predominantly for one genre doesn’t mean some of their songs cannot be another genre. The fact that R. Kelly is an RnB artiste does not make his song U Saved Me less gospel nor does Daddy Lumba being a Burger Highlife musician make his song Mesom Jesus less gospel.
Also, I think a category we need to review is the best female vocalist category. I believe we either have to drop the word vocalist or make a new category for best female artistes. This is because not all the female acts we have in the country are singers. This alienates them from the best female vocalists category and I believe strongly that in the interest of fairness, a best female category has to be created (it is done everywhere so why not here?)
To conclude, I have made notes on each of the categories citing what I will add or take away in terms of nominations from each category. I give reasons for each of my selections.
Check them out below
I am leaving this category as it is largely because I do not know much about gospel but I personally would have added E.L’s Koko due to the contents of the song and because I have seen a lot of reports across social media of it being used during praises in various churches.
NB: Although I believe my very own Lavender was one of the top Hip-Hop songs last year, I didn’t add it to my list because I personally did not submit it for nomination and thus the VGMA board had nothing to do with its exclusion.
Again, I will leave this as it is for the above stated reason.
The only change I would make in this category is a swap of Bisa Kdei’s Mansa for his other song Brother Brother, which is a better representative of the highlife genre than Mansa. I have heard opinions that it was dropped because he used the word ‘Fucking’ and if it is true then I strongly disagree because the use of the word in the song was not profane. It was used as more of an exclamation to show his extent of joy than to promote profanity.
Furthermore, Wisa’s Ekiki Me which is basically a song about sex got several nominations so that renders the profanity angle invalid.
Highlife Artiste of the Year
I will also make one change in this category and that is to remove Nero X. This is because his Osey song was released in 2014 and since then he has not done anything to merit a nomination (to the best of my knowledge). If Gasmilla did not grab a nomination because Telemo was not within the scope of the awards, then Nero X does not deserve a nomination either.
For this category, I will make two changes. The first will be to remove Pappy Kojo’s Ay3 Late because it is not a Hip-Hop song. The second will be to replace Sarkodie’s Hand to Mouth with Revenge of the Spartans because the former was dropped early last year and had momentum for most of the year whilst the latter was released late last year and only started picking up this year.
In this category, I will remove EL’s Koko (which qualifies more as a gospel song than as a hiplife song), remove Wisa’s Ekiki Me (which is also more Afro-Pop than hiplife) and add Pappy Kojo’s Ay3 Late,Flowking Stone’s Me Kyea Kyea and Shaker’s Mada Kraa. The last two additions being two songs I was surprised got snubbed since they made a lot of noise last year. They was not a single pub or club that didn’t have these two songs in rotation. Radio played them pretty heavily too which makes their exclusion from the whole award scheme baffling.
This is a category I believe they got right and I will maybe add Rocky Dawuni because of his Grammy nod and Ras Kuuku because of his work on the local reggae/dancehall scene.
I am torn between whether or not Stonebwoy’s Go Higher is a reggae/dancehall song but I will leave this category as it is
This is another category they got right but as per my argument earlier, I will like to see a separate category for the best female artiste.
This category is also perfect as it is.
For this category, I will remove Efya & Mz Vee’s Abofra & Adina’s Coastal Vibes because although they are incredible songs, they are not very popular songs. Instead I will add Wisa’s Ekiki Me (and maybe Go Higher) to this category.
Producer of The Year
I will only drop the producer for Atom’s Y3 Wo Krom since his production was not original or even an exciting variation (song sounds like a demo).
Record of The Year
This category is also perfect as it is.
I also like this category as it is.
Since Keche, Gallaxy & Preachers did not get nominations in any other categories I am tempted to think they were added because there weren’t enough qualifying groups this year. Apart from Keche, I honestly know nothing about the other two groups
I will make two changes to this category; first I will replace Ay3 Late with 2 Raw for Pappy Kojo because whilst he absolutely deserves to be in this category, Ay3 Late isn’t a hard enough rap song as reflected by the other songs in this category. lastly, I will once again replace Hand to Mouth with Revenge of the Spartans for Sarkodie.
I will add E.L’s All Black to this category because it was honestly one of the biggest collaborations last year (features 3 of our top rappers at the moment).
I will add VVIP’s Dogo Yaro to this category because it was one of the most brilliant videos last year. Also, since Yaa Yaa’s Dumb Drum which is not a popular song at all was nominated, C-Real’s ‘Shine’ video should have been nominated as well (assuming he submitted it).
For this category, I will remove Nero X for reasons stated above and also remove Donzy because apart from The Crusade (which rested on Kinaata’s shoulders) he didn’t do enough in terms of shows and releases to deserve a spot in this category. Instead I believe Shaker should have gotten a spot instead because he did way more.
Again I will add Shaker and Flowking Stone to this category because they worked extremely hard last year and had at least one major song each.
Best African Artiste
If this category refers to the African artistes who had the most impact in Ghana then I believe Mr. Eazi should not only have earned a nomination but should win too. Skintight & Bankulize were huge hits in Ghana last year. However, if it refers to African artistes who impacted the whole continent then I have a problem with the fact that it’s made up of just Nigerians. Cassper Nyovest had a huge year on the continent too.
Album of The Year
I will make three additions to this category; I will add Shaker’s Captain Hook, Jayso’s Making Tasha Proud & Samini’s Breaking News. These three albums impacted more than Mz Vee’s Verified (and are better than it too).
Most Popular Song
For this category, I will replace E.L’s Mi Naa Bo Po with Koko because the latter was and still is a more popular song than the former. I will also replace Nicholas Omane Acheampong’s Aporsor with Kofi Gyan’s Yoboyoo. I will also drop Kinaata’s Susuka because honestly the song started gaining popularity this year which does not make it one of the most popular songs last year.
Artiste of The Year
This is another category that is perfect just as it is.
Gasmilla – even though Telemo did not fall within the scope of the award year, Gasmilla did enough as an artiste (shows, appearances etc.) to deserve nominations in the Best Hip-Hop/Hiplife Artiste & Artiste of the Year categories.
Shaker – the exclusion of Shaker and his Mada Kraa song is one which baffles a lot of people. The VGMA board need to explain why it was left out to the general public in my opinion.
Mr. Eazi – if the problem was that he isn’t Ghanaian then he deserved to have been nominated for at least African Artiste of the Year. If that was not the issue then he deserved a lot more nominations.
Guest Blog by Ko-Jo Cue (Rapper/Songwriter signed to BBnZ Live)
Facebook: Ko-Jo Cue