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Various Black Stars: Ghana’s Hiplife Generation

To hip you to music set to explode onto the international stage, favela-funk style, Black Stars does your legwork for ya: Copious and detailed liner notes accompany this disc bursting with the fresh sound and catalyzing energy of hiplife, Ghana’s mesh of hip-hop, reggae, and R&B with highlife, West Africa’s long-standing pop style. Artists such as Tic Tac, on his mega-hit “Kangaroo,” meld trebly highlife guitars and a tough dancehall beat with English lyrics, while songs like V.I.P.’s “Ahomka Wo Mu,” a similarly massive hit, are almost entirely in the Twi language, backed by African rhythms. As informative as it is infectious and club-ready, Black Stars is certainly one of the best of 2008.

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