Popular music in Togo is characterized by dance rhythms carried out by young artists. Afropop, a mix of African music styles and American pop is the new trend in Togo. Hip-hop is also popular although it is slowly disappearing.
The early 2000s was marked by the emergence of hip-hop in Togo. Young Togolese artists, strongly influenced by western (American) music, started to produce rap and R&B. One of the pioneers of this music revolution is Ayaovi Éric Mensah, known as Eric MC. He released his first album, Adjamofo, in 2003. Ali Jezz followed with his album, One Million, and Wedy the icon of Togolese R&B, released the album, New Day.
Today, Togolese Hip-hop is represented by young artists like Mic Flammez, winner of Best Hip-Hop Artist and Best Male Artist at the All Music Awards in 2014. Mic Flammez led the Togolese music scene with hits like ‘Plingo’, ‘Président du Rap Game’, ‘Milédji’ and his latest release ‘Raccourci Moulé Paradiso’. He shares the Togolese music scene with other artists like Willy Baby, KanAa and the talented Prince Mo.
In 2012 Prince Mo released his album Logone 228 online, free of charge. The originality and power of his lyrics make him one of the key hip-hop artists. His new album was introduced with two songs: ‘Dzitri’ (courage) and ‘Avoude’ (Fight). In 2015, he won Best hip-hop Artist at the All Music Awards.
Afropop refers to contemporary African pop. In Togo, Afropop includes several music styles.
In 2005, Togo’s qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany allowed the public to discover Toofan, creator of the Obragada concept (Obagrada means to be in good shape). This new dance which combines rap and rumba rhythms won the heart of thousands of Togolese with the songs ‘Bonne année’ and ‘Eperviers Obragada’. For the first time, a Togolese concept conquered Africa. The band, comprised of Master Just and Toofan, also started the dance, Cool Catché.
Several Togolese artists such as Kossi Apeson, DJ Mohab and 109 Connection joined the movement. Today, Toofan is an international success with the Gwetadance (Gweta means - to avoid the trap). The band has released four albums namely Obragada 2006, Confirmation, Carte de Visite and Overdose. Gweta dance inspired other big names of Togolese music like Almok, who won Best Togolese Female Artist at the 2015 All Music Awards. Her songs include ‘Nononini’, ‘Dati the wood’ and ‘Jiguègué’.
Ghanaian music and dances
The Azonto concept from nearby Ghana gained traction in Togo. The dance was promoted by Fuse ODG, Tiffany and Black T. The song ‘MakpoNde’, recorded in 2012, in association with Chrono‘One and the late Alena,is still popular in the nightclubs of Lomé and on national TV and radio.
The songs ‘Adje Oda’ from Master Popa and ‘Aladji Be gah’ from Etane also contributed in popularizing the dance. In 2012, Mic Flammez, a rapper, also released a 100% Azonto song: ‘She dey make Me’ in association with Franzy.
Etane was discovered through the Azonto dance. After the success of ‘Aladji Be Gah’, the young artist made his name in Togolese showbiz with the release of ‘Viagra’ in 2014 and ‘Mépigan’ in 2015. The many covers and parodies online show the success of ‘Mépigan’. Etane won Best Male Artist and Best Song of the Year at the 2015 All Music Awards.
Laper laper dance
Laper laper dance is among the most popular dances in Togo. Imported from Ivory Coast, the dance was adopted by several Togolese artists of the new generation. The songs ‘Mkapye’ and ‘Chionmichionchion’ both released in 2015 by Snaky Da Future illustrate the popularity of the dance in Togo.
TchessPreza, who won Best Artist of the Diaspora at the 2015 All Music Awards, also joined the movement with ‘WoloWolo’ released in 2015.
D-aNy’s ‘Laper Laper’and Dzifason’s ‘Wokume’,‘Avoude’ and ‘Ela Vivi’ contributed to the spread of the laper laper dance in Togo in 2015.
Togolese people used to enjoy the coupé décalé from Ivory Coast before the popularity of laperlaper. Papson Moutite was known as the ambassador of the coupé décalé in Togo before he converted and began releasing religious songs.