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It all goes down tonight. The biggest night in Ghana music is finally upon us, and all the questions which have lingered on our minds till now will be dealt with once and for all…at least till next year’s edition.

Tonight marks 17 years since the scheme was instituted. In the time, the coveted prize of Artist of the Year has been won by Kojo Antwi (2001), Lord Kenya (2002), Kontihene (2003), V.I.P (2004), Obour (2005), Ofori Amponsah (2006), Samini (2007), Kwaw Kese (2008), Okyeame Kwame (2009), Sarkodie (2010), V.I.P (2011), Sarkodie (2012), R2Bees (2013), Shatta Wale (2014), Stonebwoy (2015), and EL (2016).

Who picks it this year, and who emerges tops in the other categories? We bring you a preview:

GOSPEL SONG OF THE YEAR

Nacee, Mary Agyeman, Mabel Okyere,  Sonnie Badu, and Jeshrun Okyere all are expectant of winning this category. It is a tough call from the start, and all nominees stand a realistic chance at winning. Our impressions are that, whoever wins it wins it because of the weight of their name, and not solely based on the record they published. And so, Nacee, and Sonnie Badu are likely winners, though it is characteristic of these awards to cause upsets.

HIGHLIFE SONG OF THE YEAR

Jwe – Bisa K’dei

Confession – Kofi Kinaata

Beshiwo – Becca ft. Bisa K’dei

Mintse Bo – Wisa Greid

Christy – Dobble

Bokor Bokor – Kill Beatz ft. Mugeez & Fuse ODG

Kofi Kinaata wins this category hands down. Once Confession was announced, many brought up the argument of wrong categorisation, claiming his other single Sweetie Pie was a better fit. It changes nothing. He’ll win it, because, there’s no other song in the country currently — highlife or not — that matches Confession.

HIPLIFE SONG OF THE YEAR

Samba – Guru ft. Singlet

Club – Donzy ft. Piesie & Sarkodie

Go Low – Flowking Stone

RNS – Sarkodie

Bie Gya – Criss Waddle ft. Stonebwoy

Sweetie Pie – Kofi Kinaata

Alhaji – VVIP ft. Patoranking

Sarkodie’s RNS appears slightly ahead, but every other song in there could win the award without any qualms. 

HIP-HOP SONG OF THE YEAR

God MC – M.anifest

Trumpet – Sarkodie ft. Teephlow, Koo Ntakra, Strongman, Donzy, Medikal & Pappy Kojo

Lalafalama – EL

Confirm (remix) – Medikal ft. Sarkodie

Egboame (remix) – Edem ft. Cabum, Teephlow, Ayat, Gemini, Medikal, Mac M, Darko & Bebelino

Tension – Okyeame Kwame ft. Cabum, Medikal & Sister Debbie

God MC, Trumpet, and Confirm (remix) because of Medikal’s momentum all through last year. In the end, for us at ENEWSGH, it could go to God MC simply because of how much it steered hiphop conversation in the country all through 2016.

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BEST REGGAE/DANCEHALL SONG OF THE YEAR

People Dey – Stonebwoy

Nwansina – Ras Kuuku ft. Luther

Gborgborvor – Gallaxy ft. Stonebwoy

Kupe – Ebony

Yonnah – Samini ft. Luther

Pain Dem – Rudebwoy Ranking

Arostor – Kaakie ft. Yaa Pono

For the past few years, once Stonebwoy has been named, there has been little doubt that he would pick it. That could easily be the case this year too, yet Ras Kuuku, and Ebony constitute more than decent competition.

AFRO POP SONG OF THE YEAR

Kaabuame – EL

Dance For Me – Eugy ft. Mr. Eazi

Solo – Article Wan

U x Me – Joey B

Too Risky – Medikal ft. Sister Debbie

Too Late – Adina

Grind – Vision DJ ft. A.I

Perhaps, the only song we can cross out (with extreme caution) is Adina’s Too Late. Otherwise, it will be no surprise if it goes to any other in the category.

GOSPEL ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Joe Mettle

Piesie Esther

Sonnnie Badu

Jeshrun Okyere

Nacee

Both Joe Mettle and Nacee ( Joe Mettle more, if you ask many) have represented  the fraternity impressively. Last year remains one of Joe Mettle’s biggest years yet, and many feel that he could even snatch the overall prize, and they could be vindicated. The campaign for him to win VGMA Artist of the Year these past few months has been unprecedented. That will have a spill-over effect in Gospel Artist of the Year.

HIGHLIFE ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Bis K’dei

Becca

Kofi Kinaata

Kofi Kinaata may not strictly be a Highlife artist, but we shall not be surprised if he soars above the conventional names Bisa and Becca. Otherwise, Bisa wins it.

REGGAE/DANCEHALL ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Stonebwoy

Ras Kuuku

Samini

Ebony

Rudebwoy

MzVee

Here too,  Stonebwoy stands out not merely by his presence in the category as he has become a dominant name in GH Reggae/Dancehall, but also by his unparalleled work culture, never mind that it takes nothing away from the efforts of Ras Kuuku, Ebony, Rudebwoy, Samini, and MzVee. 

HIPLIFE/HIP-HOP ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Guru

EL

Flowking Stone

Medikal

Sarkodie

M.anifest

Joey B

Medikal’s wave all through last year makes him an immediate favourite, but so does M.anifest. And as we all can bear witness, once a category has Sarkodie in there, it is not necessarily a fair fight anymore.  Everyone else in there, if they manage to win, would have had to summon something extra.

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Joe Mettle – Onwanwani

Kill Beatz – Too Late

Kofi Kinaata – Confession

Nacee – Yewo Nyame A Yewo Adze

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Kofi Kinaata writes with the consciencism of an old man, though there’s always something very youthful about his melody. It is what he did with Susuka, which won him the award last year. It is what he has done with Confession, which will earn him the laurel this year too.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Me Ne Wo Aa – Nacee

Hello – Akwaboah ft. Sarkodie

Too Late – Adina

U x Me – Joey B

Motromodwo – Trigmatic ft. A.I

Rapper Trigmatic has mastered the formula for “Record of the Year” over time. No, it’s not about genre, for what he comes into this year’s fight with, is highlife. It remains a surprise that Motromodwo failed to meet requirements for Highlife song of the Year. Still, it is a fierce contender here. Joey B’s You x Me is also more than deserving of that award. All through last year, it remained a Top 10 song, and nobody dares question the sterling quality of it’s composition.

BEST MALE VOCALIST

Ogya Mensah – Get Serious

Afriyie – Here To Stay

Joe Mettle – Onwanwani

Akwaboah – Hello

Sonnie Badu – Still You Reign

Ernest Opoku – Yewo Nyame A Yewo Adze

Afriyie is no stranger to this category. He’s no stranger to winning it. Neither is Sonnie Badu, who picked it up in 2014. Joe Mettle cannot go unnoticed. Akwaboah, while a revered writer/composer, might not be the strongest vocal technician. Reggae singer Ogya Mensah’s performance on Get Serious is not just good enough to get him in as a nominee, but is potent to win it for him too.

BEST FEMALE VOCALIST

Adina – Too Late

Becca – Beshiwo

MzVee – Nobody Else

Piesie Esther – Agye Won Nsam

Petrah – My Man

Adina, MzVee, and Becca shine brightest here.  It remains to be seen if any of them shines this lightly tonight. 

BEST GROUP OF THE YEAR

VVIP

R2bees

Dunsin

Gallaxy

Gallaxy, R2Bees, and VVIP are the real contenders for this category. For R2Bees and VVIP, it has become a norm over the past couple of years. Therefore, they possess leverage, and therefore, a slight edge over Gallaxy, who have built a strong  fortress over the last two years or so. 

BEST RAPPER OF THE YEAR

Flowking Stone – Fire Bon Dem (remix)

EL – Love God

Medikal – Connect

Yaa Pono (Ponobiom) – Mind on Money

M.anifest – 100%

Sarkodie – Fire Born Dem (remix)

All the names above have distinguished themselves as among the nation’s best lyricists. Most of them are hardly strangers to the category, or winning it. An artist’s rap performance alone will not win him the title, if we’re being completely honest. That is what will happen tonight.

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BEST COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR

Alhaji – VVIP ft. Patoranking

Yewo Nyame A Yewo Adze – Nacee ft. Ernest Opoku

Confirm (remix) – Medikal ft. Sarkodie

Bie Gya – Criss Waddle ft. Stonebwoy

Nwansina – Ras Kuuku ft. Luther

Samba – Guru ft. Singlet

This category will be keenly contested, and remains one of the categories of which will invoke anxiety till the name falls from the presenter’s lips. The possibility of it being Alhaji, Bie Gya, or Confirm remains very high. It is impossible to narrow it down to a single name. Simple.

BEST NEW ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Medikal

Nii Funny

Fancy Gadam

Article Wan

Feli Nuna

Ebony

Rudebwoy Ranking

Eugy

Ultimately, it comes down to Article Wan for the gift of Solo, and Medikal…well for a barrage of rap performances.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Counselor – Nacee

BAR 3 – EL

Nowhere Cool – M.anifest

Gifted – Flowking Stone

Soundz of Africa – Sonnie Badu

M.anifest’s Nowhere Cool was the most critically acclaimed from last year. 

VODAFONE SONG OF THE YEAR

Christy – Dobble

U x Me – Joey B

RNS – Sarkodie

Solo – Article Wan

People Dey – Stonebwoy

Kaabuame – EL

Bie Gya – Criss Waddle ft. Stonebwoy

Sweetie Pie – Kofi Kinaata

Alhaji – VVIP ft. Patoranking

Yewo Nyame Aa Yewo Adze – Nacee

Go Low – Flowking Stone

Since there’s no Confession in there, Article Wan’s Solo, which hands-down reigned for most of last year, will most likely be crowned tonight. 

AFRICAN ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

Patoranking

Mr. Eazi

Runtown

Tekno

Nathaniel Bassey

This year, it is virtually Mr Eazi’s right. While he has achieved meteoric heights on behalf of Ghana, he remains an outsider to most categories here because he was born in Nigeria. It appears therefore, that his consolation might come in the form of this award. He merits this award due to all his efforts last year especially, mind you. It’s just that you can’t talk about Mr. Eazi’s VGMA situation without bringing this point up. Runtown has been named performer for the night. As has been the norm, the award has gone to the nominee who has been invited to perform. Rundown’s Mad Over You is big in Ghana, and he could upset Mr Eazi.

OVERALL ARTISTE OF THE YEAR

EL

Sarkodie

Stonebwoy

Joe Mettle

MzVee

Medikal

You know what? Let’s just wait for tonight…

*VGMA 2016 is a Charterhouse Ghana event with sponsorship from  telecoms giant Vodafone. Berla Mundi and Elikem Kumordzi compere the Rd Carpet session, while Starr FM’s Anita Erskine hosts the Main event.

source: enewsgh.com