Samini
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Isaac Kyei Ando

Most musicians make their appearance into the music scene with an album, a single in some cases or a feature by an established act. There are also those who are lucky enough to make a name by featuring a debutant on a song that becomes a big hit like Sarkodie and Ayigbe Edem. Even that, Kwaw Kesse who was already a big boy in the industry was featured on it to give the song an extra push.

Then we have Batman, who’d later change his name to Batman Samini and then to SaminiBatman was different, his first song was a feature, if my memory serves me right, it was a song titled: Ma odo nso (I stand to be corrected) by Ekow Shailo. I still remember his ragga, what stood out in the song was: frɛ me Batman mɛgye woso yɛs….

After this song, which was his first major successful feature if not his very first feature, he succeeded in catching the attention of the nation. For the next two year, Samini with his trademark signature intro, “Gboe” would become the voice needed to make a song a hit. Without a single album to his credit, Samini featured in over 50 top songs. No one could match him.

This was quite new to the Ghanaian music scene because to be a household name and a musician of note, one needed an Album, a hit one of cause to be recognised and here, we have a guy who had a zero album, a zero known single of his own. In those days, musicians didn’t do singles because the main source of revenue was in selling cassette or cd.If you want to appreciate samini for what he represented this, this is the best comparison, he was times 3 what Kwame Eugene is today with one outstanding difference: he didn’t have a single known song of his own.

Samini could have won the artist of the year between this period without an album he was the people’s artist of the year. Everyone who followed Ghana music keenly between 2002 to 2004, wondered: how is this guy’s own album going to be. I don’t have records readily available but it is not farfetched to say that he must have featured in almost 100 songs between 2002/2004.

He even helped Paa Solo stage a successful come back with two albums, gave Ghana a tall list of one time hitmakers like kokoveli, Beyie, Without an album to his name, he was still deemed an underground act.

Then lo and behold, came 2004 and it was going to be the year of Batman. Under the record label Ashanti international and with the album, Dankwansere, he took over the music scene in a different way, this time: not as the golden touch needed to make someone’s song a hit but an established act dominating charts with a song of his own. He would go on from strength to strength for the next decade.

Batman was almost everything you’d want in musicians, he was the ultimate show stopper, even when the likes of Jarule, Sean Paul, Kevin Little, Shaggy, Wayne Wonder, Damian Marley, Bennie Man, Jay-Z, and other big international acts came to town, it was Samini’s performance that stole the show.

To appreciate Ghanaian artist and reward them deservedly, Samini was key, he proved this anytime he got the opportunity to share the stage with informational musicians who came to perform in Ghana.Today, we don’t need the Jarules, to fill our major auditorium and still charge huge sums of money as entry fees because people like Samini proved to Ghanaians that no one could entertain them better than their own compatriots.

Time flies and leaves behind only memories, sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, but that is what it is. There is a time and season for everything, a time to be on top and a time to watch others take the stage, do less of you did and yet get rewarded more. In my estimation, after Lord Kenya, Samini remains our finest performer, without argument, the most versatile ever.

Freestyle, live band, maintaining his keys and voice on stage over a long performance, he was second almost to none. Today, the game has changed, ‘universally good songs’ have given way to songs that appeal to fanatics. Batman cannot compete any longer, he lacks dedicated fans willing to dance to anything because we have a divided industry.

Times have changed, on the back of Samini, Shata Wale staged his comeback, a few weeks ago, he murdered him in a beef. Times have changed, today, Samini has to force himself into beefs to be relevant. Nothing lasts forever, this is the message to those up there today, nothing lasts forever, there is a time when you are a household name and a time when you will struggle to get your name mentioned.

Samini is there now, he is at the place where he feels he deserves more but the industry isn’t giving him the attention a musician of his stature deserves.

My man has to know this, there are a few places at the top to accommodate many potentially great people, no one is made to occupy it for good. Make the most of it when it’s your time, knowing that just as you came from nowhere to take it, another would do the same.

While at it, we cannot lose sight of what Samini represented at the turn of the millennium and how he carried the torch for so many years, he paid his dues, he owes the industry nothing.

Today, we can look at him as a lesson, a lesson that nothing lasts forever, a lesson that we should not forget the old bad priest who preserved the sick until the good priest arrived.Samini was key to Ghanaians appreciation for reggae dance hall, what we called raga during the days of Yoggy Doggy, Pricky and others.

He succeeded where many others failed. It was on this foundation that Iwan built his successful introduction into Ghana music and then came Shata and Stonebowy.There is a good reason we cannot forget what this great son of the land represented.

For all he did, what made Samini special was how he appreciated his root, unlike most musicians who appear to have adopted the major cities, Samini didn’t miss an opportunity to tell the word his root. He didn’t succeed by dividing the industry, he didn’t need to built a siege mentality amongst a section of the population to sustain his brand, he brought everyone along.

Wherever he is, this piece seeks to remind him that he has had his time, if the present doesn’t smile as the last did, he should remember that life happened to him.It happened to Lord Kenya, it happened to Kojo Antwi, it happened to Obrafour, it happened to Nana Tufour, Buk Bak, VIP, Nkasei and a tall list of past greats.He is in good company.

This is not to say he is done, this is to make him appreciate his place in our hearts, that we remember what he has done, that we understand the struggle of now, and above all, we understand that he is just one of many students of life. Nothing brings satisfaction to man than contentment and appreciation of good days in bad times, it’s not a call to give up, it’s a call to find strength from yesterdays and appreciate the challenges of today.

Once a hero, always a hero: not all people forget this.

Isaac Kyei Andoh

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