“Believing in our vision, respecting each other’s views and not letting money come between us”. These and more form the glue that bind the awarding-winning hiplife trio, VIP, together.
According to the 2011 winners of the prestigious Artiste of the Year award, although they have issues to resolve, what unites them is the fact that they put their profession first. They also try as much as possible to keep their internal issues to themselves and, perhaps, away from the prying and probing antennae of the media as well.
Speaking on Radio XYZ 93.1 FM’s entertainment magazine show, Celebrity XYZ last Saturday, Lazzy, Promzy and Prodigal were very passionate about the need for music groups to stick together.
It is quite obvious that the news of the disbandment of music groups in Ghana stirs unpleasant mixed feelings and heartbreaks in the hearts of music lovers. Indeed it is more heart-wrenching when the root of such break-ups is money, or if you like, the need to “go solo” to amass more wealth as an individual artiste.
When the issue of ‘relationships gone soar’ surfaces, what readily comes to mind are Swedish group, ABBA; Irish Boy Band, West life; and American Rock Band, R.E.M.
Ghana has had its fair share of such splits. We can talk about Akyeame, which consisted of Okyeame Quofi and Okyeame Quame; hiplife duo, Wutah made up of Risky and Papa Virus as well as the highly talented trio, Praye, which still remains a group except for the exit of Praye Tintin.
This phenomenon, according to the sensational group, is inimical to the growth of the Ghanaian music industry.
Growing up together in Nima, a suburb of Accra which has been touted as villainous, it’s been their dream to alter the circumstances believed to have caused this perception. To Lazzy, Promzy and Prodigal, formal education is key to attaining a higher height in their music career.
They told the presenter of Celebrity XYZ, Nana Yaa Agyare, how they strongly defied the propensity to drop out of school to pursue music as a career.
At age 13, and the only boy among his sisters, Prodigal said he was pampered and given the privilege to stay out there on the streets for as long as he wanted.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to be a star. I started playing football at a point, but music later took the better side of me. I fell in love with music and music is what I live on now.” This love for music, however, did not inhibit his inherent urge to complete his education.
An old boy of Harvard College located in Kokomlemle, Lazzy is in good company with Prodigal. He says “I took school very seriously while I did my music along side. Schooling is very important and so where ever we go, we send this message: ‘make sure you don’t play with your books because a time is coming when you will have to express yourself like I’m doing now’”.
“I am grateful that I can read and write,” the last member of the group, Promzy, said beaming with smiles. He says, but for education, his music career would have fallen on the rocks.
So, how did they feel, growing up in a community perceived to be the hub of deviant behaviour?
“Definitely growing up in Nima, you would have people scorn and say ‘look at these guys…What are they trying to do? Do they think they can make it?” But Prodigal says although growing up together in Nima was a bit rough, the experience has toughened the group and propelled it towards achieving its objectives.
That their most loyal fans live in Nima is no surprise at all.
Another positive thing about the group is they don’t compromise on giving back to the community that has carved greatness out of their voices, and last Sunday was no exception. The trio joined the Nima community to celebrate Eid-ul Fitr as they served sumptuous meals while launching their new album, 7/11.
For VIP, the Vision is still In Progress as they aspire to make it to higher heights come what may. And oh, VIP never hesitate to shout “Broaaaaaaa!!!!!, a slogan we look forward to understanding soon.