The Culture Joint

Pure Akan talks Ghana’s music climate, addresses pay inequalities, others

Pure Akan

It’s not often you hear Pure Akan speak. In the rare cases when he does, fans of the Auntie Bete hitmaker are treated to some pleasant news – say an announcement for his new music, a music video, or a live performance.

On Thursday, December 7, however, anticipating fans of Pure Akan on the X platform were struck with a poignant remainder of the state of Ghana’s music scene when the rapper took to his official page to express dissatisfaction with local event planners in the context of budgetary discrimination against certain talents within the industry.

His messages were noticeably succint – equality; do better by “b-list” artistes for the collective betterment of the industry.

Unlike the source, these sentiments are not exactly bizarre; multiple artistes, often categorised within the Alté genre for their commitment to bona fide Ghanaian sounds, are billed for noteworthy performances on little to no budget. The situation poses a blatant, undesirable irony – that albeit critically acclaimed for their invaluable contribution to spotlighting Ghanaian music on the global scene, these talents are stuck off the road, staring into the abyss of their bank accounts because money from the streams of their songs on services like Spotify and Apple Music is also practically nonexistent.

The Culture Joint caught up with Kwa Appiah on X Space for a candid 60-minute virtual tête-à-tête ahead of his Ye Gyina Mu Live concert. When asked about his unusual reproval of event organisers within the local music space, the rapper shared further insight into the situation, clarifying doubts about the genuity of the opinions he shared in his 5-post thread.

“This is not a conversation about talent comparison. I just think there has been a little unfairness in the arts space that needs immediate addressing,” he said. “It’s also not about who can pull more numbers to their shows, because genuinely, how many of our A-list artistes host solo shows, or even organise events outside of Accra?”

Full interview here:

“I think it is a systemic issue with the industry, and it’s about time we began asking the necessary questions and being analytical about this conversation – What does this person bring to board? Does the situation I create for this artiste facilitate their development? Then they will understand that we deserve to be paid more.”

The rapper isn’t alone in how he feels about the treatment meted out by event organizers to certain musicians in the industry. His response reflects a shared consensus among aficionados of original, Ghanaian sounds.

Despite the discriminatory architecture of Ghana’s music space, Pure Akan is unfazed by the unrelenting pressure to create radio music. He says his commitment to elevating the rich cultural essence of Ghanaian music is spurred by an unwavering belief in its potential.

“I do not think we have done enough with our music, with respect to promoting our culture. There’s so much we can do with our genres, especially highlife,” he said. “The world is rapidly changing, and so it’s very important to leverage our own culture to expose ourselves to the world.”

“This is why we need to support talents who do not necessarily make what has come to be considered regular music. The industry will not grow if we do not show support for these acts. It is evident from the number of breakthrough artistes we produce as a country each year.

Pure Akan’s December concert Ye Gyina Mu is scheduled for Saturday, December 16 at the Jamestown Boutique in Accra. A stellar lineup featuring longtime collaborator Ayisi (fka AI), Arathejay, Haeven, Kwame Dame, Essilfie and Muud Swingz has been billed to perform at the event.

For Tickets, visit https://t.co/B6ZytECfcT

Written By: Kingsley Elikem Doe

The Culture Joint