Hammer’s Sounds of Our Time is some of my all-time favorite hiplife from Ghana, a highly influential mixtape when it came out in 2004. It brought mainstream attention to the then-burgeoning trend of well-known producers making compilations featuring up-and-coming rappers culled from their “stables”…At the time, Hammer was already a successful producer with an influential production style. This release introduced a slew of virtual unknown rappers that received initial air-play and recognition through their association with Hammer. A few of these artists offer incredible performances on this tape and went on to become stars, which helped consolidate Hammer’s legend in certain circles.
The producer took pains to include a linguistically diverse selection of guys (and gals; see track 9) who rap in Twi, Ga, Ewe and English. Since hiplife is mostly in Twi and the non-Twi tracks here are so impressive, this record helped break new ground in encouraging young artists from less-dominant language groups to participate in the movement.
These may not sound like instant classics to you but there’s not a club or party in Ghana that doesn’t explode with energy when the DJ spins “You May Kiss Your Bride”.