Animated music videos are always refreshing to watch. Even though they take a of lot time to make and hold a deficient mark in speed with respect to live action videos, the imagination in these short features can be stretched beyond bounds.

With rotoscoping perfectly lacing Kanye West’s memorable nightscape, Heartless and the adorable Good Morning, to Jay Z’s retro Looney Toons-esque black and white The Story of O.J. and Gorillaz, who can’t be left out, it’s evident the existence of these videos is purely based on the infinite possibilities of animation.

For this piece, I list five eye-popping, jaw dropping Ghanaian animated music videos flavoured with feel-good nostalgia, minimalisim and avant-garde style. This list is in random order and is a look into how far Ghanaian animated music videos have come. Sorry if your favourite video didn’t make the cut.

1. Black Star – Richy Pitch & M.anifest. Animated by 

Most people don’t know M.anifest has an animated video. This video looks primitive by today’s standard but it’s a delight to watch. Its classic platform game environment pays homage to our favourite java games we used to play (Shadow Knight). Kudos to Stringmouse Research Ltd with this lucid production.

This well-paced video follows the journey of an 8-bit hip-hop star through Ghana, space, underwater, New York and back into space. M.anifest’s actions in this 8-bit pixelated universe seamlessly synchronizes with the lyrics and iconic landmarks of Accra, giving it that added nostalgic feeling.

Fun Fact: Ram Jam, the production company behind the video actually turned the concepts into a fully playable 5-level game! More on that here.

2. The Awakening – Dark Suburb. Animated by Poka

The Awakening is merely an opening to tales from the crypt. This video is eerie, grim and even though short, it’s intense environment plus the haunting and stark introduction is my kind of eye candy (chills and shivers). In terms of style, it takes influences from Michael Jackson’s thriller. This video invites you to the world of Dark Suburb, Ghana’s first alternative rock band.

3. Have a Party – Jayso, Sarkodie & Raquel. Animated by Bertil Toby Svanekiaer (IndigeneBROS)

Get kidnapped and transported to an island of masked, azonto-dancing sprites, have a party, have a rave, be part of a rampage, bamboozle minions and get carried away in a flying saucer. Huge credits to the team at Indigene Bros for making this 3D beauty and also to Jayso for championing the use of animation in Ghanaian music videos. Those product and ad placements were so subtle, you wouldn’t even notice.

4. Booze High – Worlasi & Juls. Animated by Poka

If you have a thing for Japanese anime then this Poka animated epic is a must watch. Booze High is a tale of a student and his protective sensei taking on their adversaries in grand style. Overflowing energy flows from within; if you know what I mean.

5. Economy – Magnom & Nshona Musik. Animated by Ebien Studios

Magnom joins forces with Nshona Muzik, the Azonto hitmaker, in search of money in Ghana’s difficult economy. The video is a Ghanaian rendition of Super Mario and his brother Luigi’s adventures. Economy heavily borrows the aesthetics of the Mario universe but adds a more flavourful feel to it that is fun and stays true to the game. With production credits going to Ebien Studios and Hanson Akatti (character design), the video works beautifully, is stylistically spot-on and flawless.

While these are my top animated music videos, this will not be complete without proper respects to Kojo Antwi’s Tom and Jerry Aware (stop motion) and Dome Wu, Tic Tac’s Philomena and Jayso and Sarkodie’s Little Monsters also animated by (Poka & Bertil Toby Svanekiaer).

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