Reggie Rockstone

Legendary rapper, Reggie Rockstone, has registered his displeasure over the non-inclusion of hiplife in the list of genres captured in the definition of Grammy’s newly-created African Music Performance category. 

He told Kwame Dadzie on Joy FM’s Twitter Spaces (Joy Entertainment Unpacked) on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 that it was not right for the hiplife brand to have been swept under the carpet in the list of genres the Recording Academy provided. 

“I am happy that we are in there because it could have gone the other way but it definitely became an eyebrow raiser when I realised the old lady hiplife wasn’t in there. The old lady’s grandmama is in there. That’s highlife. Even Mapouka is in there. 

“Hiplife is what sparked the revolution and you can also go back and check before the re-emergence of Afrobeats with the ‘s’. And Nigeria knows this. We’ve always parlayed. We are cousins but you can never do without the old lady hiplife. You gotta be joking,” he noted. 

Reggie also added that the Grammy Awards may have made a typographical mistake by writing highlife instead of hiplife in the genres named for the Best African Music Performance category.

“Here is another thing that came up. A lot of times when people talk about hiplife and highlife they get them confused. So somebody said to me ‘Reggie, it could have been a typo. So many times people have confused hiplife with highlife because they sound so similar,” the Hiplife Grandpapa intimated. 

Reggie Rockstone who originated and commercialised Ghana’s version of hip hop, hiplife, has also stated that the exclusion of the genre from the Grammy list may be as a result of recent talk that the genre is dead. 

According to him, the genre has only gone through an evolution spawning other sub-genres such as the Ghanaian Drill. 

A few days ago, it was announced that the Recording Academy of Grammy Awards had introduced three new categories including the African Music Performance. 

Music genres that form part of this category include Ghanaian drill and highlife.

“Best African Music Performance’ category as a track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the Category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz genres,” the category definition states.

According to, these category additions and amendments were voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May 2023.

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