Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music is an ethnography of hiplife, a popular Ghanaian music genre that combines hip-hop with highlife music and proverbial lyrics. The chapters tell tales of aspiration, commodity culture, and celebrity to show how life in urban Accra is intimately linked to the increasingly transnational lives of African youth. In detailed examinations of musical production, circulation, and reception this book shows how famous and underground artists, fans, beatmakers, DJs, and media workers in Ghana and its diaspora use music to gain social status, wealth, and respect.
Reviews: "Jesse Weaver Shipley has written a highly compelling account of hiplife in Ghana. Historically and ethnographically rich, it demonstrates how this musical form has affected ideas of Ghanaian identity. Not only does hiplife celebrate entrepreneurship among African youth situated in the 'shadows' of the global order. It also provides them with a language of mobile signs 'geared toward capitalist accumulation and consumption.' Based on a broad range of theoretical sources, Shipley's writing is lively, his insights memorable. This is a book that anyone interested in Africa, anyone interested in contemporary cultural production, will want to read."
—John Comaroff, Harvard University and American Bar Foundation
"African music, in its newest and most innovative forms, is changing our cultural and political worldview, and Jesse Weaver Shipley is in the know! The all-too-important voices that comprise the tidal wave of creativity throughout Africa, and especially in Ghana, will be the most significant voices of the future. Therefore this book is more than a look at the recent past and the present; it is a blueprint. Living the Hiplife is a necessary analysis of African word, sound, and power."
—M-ONE, of Dead Prez