While the world recognises that Azonto originated from Ghana, there seem to debate as to who should be credited with the genre.
For several years, rapper Sarkodie has been credited as the originator but hiplife artiste, Odartei Milla Lamptey popularly known as Gasmilla seems to have an issue with that attribution. He believes he deserves it.
The ‘Telemo’ hit singer, speaking in an interview on Daybreak Hitz with KMJ lamented that apart from the wrong credit, Ghanaians have killed Azonto by calling it Afrobeats.
“I have never given up on Azonto, you can still go and check. ‘Telemo’ is Azonto. I’m saying why did Ghanaians kill what we call Azonto and name it Afropop or Afrobeat? For me it’s not intelligent,” he said.
According to him, he worked tireless to sustain the Azonto genre. “I was pushing the whole brand of Azonto, I did a lot of documentaries.”
While struggling to keep the genre alive, Gasmilla said he was faced with two key bottlenecks.
“Between people saying I wasn’t the originator and Sarkodie was, and then giving props to Fuse ODG because he was from ‘outside Ghana’,” he said, Ghanaians took everything from him because he “was just a young guy, no money, no proper structure.”
Faced with those challenges, he “had to choose between myself as an artiste blowing or choosing to fight for Azonto when nobody is fighting for me because people knew the truth in this industry and still said Sarkodie was the originator of Azonto.”
“They wanted to give it to the biggest artiste in the country at the time who was Sark[ordie] because they thought that he could actually push the movement,” the International Fisherman added.
Asked how he thinks the genre can be revived, Gasmilla believes that organisers of the Ghana Music Awards need to recognise Azonto as a genre and dedicate a category to award songs and artistes who do Azonto songs.