Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life

Nii Kotei Nikoi


This article examines how common-sense ideas of development are reinforced in Ghanaian popular culture. Specifically, using Sarkodie as a case study, I analyze how he constructs a successful entrepreneurial branded self, which then becomes an index of a “good life.” I also use participant observations and interviews conducted in Accra. I argue that hiplife artists’ success and their performances of success not only underscore their desire to access the good life but also to create distance from notions of poverty and “backwardness” associated with underdevelopment. Nonetheless, the images of success in mainstream hiplife do not necessarily reflect the everyday realities of most Ghanaians, and are, at times, deemed inauthentic. These misrepresentations may reinforce the fallacy of developmentalism.


postcolonial, decolonial, Ghana, postdevelopment, hiplife, hip-hop

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