The Rise of Iwan
African Girls by 5Five was Iwan’s introduction to mainstream music. Even though Iwan had been on a number of shows doing covers, and some originals, his feature on Five5’s monster hit brought his musical prowess to the general Ghanaian public, subsequently the world.
My first encounter with Iwan was when Metro TV’s Allo-Tigo decided to venture into events. The Allo-Tigo team lead by RnB/Soft Rock artiste Jon Germain, staged a club-event at the former Aphrodisiac night club at the Airport residential area. The event had Bulldog bringing all his artistes; Nii, 5five & Iwan. He was then without dreadlocks but had hints of Rastafarianism albeit refreshingly.
Though his popularity stemming from African Girls soared, he was still a relatively new act. So when party goers realized his presence with an introduction from the Deejay’s booth, the instant cheers were resounding enough to admit Iwan had arrived. He was not the only act who performed that night but he made sure he left a mark by switching between Kareoke and Freestyles in stellar fashion. The event had other artistes like Edem who represented The Last 2; Edem had just released the popular “You Dey Craze” song. Interestingly Edem & his team refused to grant an interview to the organizers with the excuse “He is not wearing his signature baseball cap
That night, one thing was firmly printed in my mind; “the lyrical gunshot is here to make music for the soul”. His stint on African Girls set a wave of expectations, as people likened his verse to that of a promising artiste.
The first Indication of Success
Still Love ME confirmed his permanent stay in the industry, with Thanks & Praise solidifying his Rastari beliefs. Thanks & Praise, and its accompanying visuals placed the young Iwan in a league of his own.
In a bid to please the dancehall section of his fans, Iwan strayed from reggae and did something danceable yet very fun. “Who’s Bad” soon became the song that “turn-up” the dance floor. From the Clubs to Pubs, the private parties to major event’s, Iwan was blasting loud.
Chart-topping Iwan music
Iwan has blessed the Ghana Music Industry with Still Love Me, Thanks & Praise, That Day, Tell Em Again, Dreamer of Dreams , Dagomba Girl, Psalm 121, Dagga, Jah Jah Is Calling, Face of Jah, Who’s Bad, When The Most High Bless You,Ghetto Youth, True Love,Corruption, Iwan Don’t Play, Sokatoa, Miss you, 12th September , Runaway , Corruption, and several other soul-filled songs. It’s however, mind boggling that an artiste like Iwan could slip relatively into Oblivion.
Where is Iwan?
Whilst many would speculate on what contributed to the relative oblivion, I personally think two things are involved. Iwan’s focus as a musician, and his team.
You cannot mention Iwan’s beginning without acknowledging Bulldog. The antics Bulldog employed in getting his artistes the shine they deserved would forever remain ingenious.
Bulldog & Iwan were a match made in heaven. A talented musician would always need a talented strategist like Bulldog & vice versa. In the absence of such a collaboration, a creative like Iwan should spend less time on controversies and rather concentrate on good music.
As relative as good music may sound; we can each tell the emotions driving a song. For quiet sometime Iwan has allowed the actions and inactions of other artistes to dominate his emotions which is often evident in the songs he releases. This phenomenon appears to have affected his release/promotion of positive music which is his Forte.
The media doesn’t CARE.
With a media that dwells on negativity, Iwan make’s it easier by providing scripts to their narratives. The narratives unfortunately will always project current top artistes as being in the right. It therefore becomes a disadvantageous propaganda reel, meant to derail the likes of Iwan. In self-interest, Iwan is much better of nudging at every controversy by letting it slip.
Considering the fact that Iwan is not your everyday artiste but one that can invoke consciousness through his music, I strongly believe a concentration on what passes as timeless and impact-filled music is way better than the frequent beef-laced joints.
Unless Iwan can get a strategist like Bulldog, I think he should concentrate on being him than allow others to make him into something else.
Through it all, Iwan has continued to release beautiful soul soothing music, as well as music for the streets. The Lyrical Gunshot has a total of 5 albums and 1 mixtape to his credit.
- My Time(2010)
- 12 September(2011)
- Am a Gideon Mixtape(2015)
- Trust in The Lord(2017)
Each of the above Albums remain philosophical and contains some of the best reggae and dancehall music he’s ever made.
Checkout his latest song.
A wah do dem