Red bandanas. Gold chains. Gang signs.
A new generation of Ghanaian drill artists has taken the music charts by storm. Inspired by US drill and UK grime, they created Asakaa: Ghana’s fresh take on drill music.
“It started with secondary school boys who wanted to do music,” says Ghanaian DJ Mz Orstin. “They said they were from ‘Kumerica’… Kumasi boys trying to portray the American gangster life.”
Critics accuse them of replicating old formulas. But these artists say they’re creating a unique genre deeply embedded in Akan culture.
“As the drill wave came about in the world, we took it and made it our own by infusing our culture in it,” says rapper Kofi Jamar, whose single “Ekorso” is seen as a top example of Ghanaian drill.
Fans seem to like that unique blend: on streaming platforms, Asakaa songs have been played millions of times.
So what’s behind the rise of this new movement? And how did Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, come to be at the heart of it all?