Reggie Osei, a leading voice in Ghanaian drill, aka asakaa music, appears as cool and confident as the energy that resonates from his music. Raised in Kumasi, Reggie’s music embodies his community as well as his early exposure to foreign music which has culminated in the artist’s 4th studio project Most High. The 7 track EP features the likes of Jay Bahd, O’Kenneth, Kwaku DMC, City Boy, Skyface SDW and ChicoGod. In other words the full gamut of asakaa drillers hailing from Kumasi, or as they like to call it, Kumerica. With smoother cuts like “Oh Ma Linda” and back to basics drill jams on “5:55”, this new EP presents a more diverse and experienced Reggie. His candor is exciting to watch and the pacing is as crisp as the collaborations. Reggie’s talent, versatility and dedication to his craft are coming to a new head in a scene that has caught the attention of global audiences.
Reggie’s musical journey started in high school around 2017, inspired by English rappers Russ Millions and Tion Wayne. But it wasn’t until 2019 that he decided to lean into drill after listening to “Keisha Becky”. “Chief Keef started this thing way back, then I later found out that the Chicago boys were doing the drill too, so I followed up and did the same here in Ghana. I can say I introduced drill music to the gang. We just started doing our thing and it was everywhere. The first drill song we did was ‘Big Flex’ featuring YGA O’Kenneth and Kawabanga and followed up with ‘Akata Gang Gang’. Jay Bhad had ‘Go Get’. The whole gang just kept coming but ‘Akatafoc’ made us viral.”
Reggie was introduced to the asakaa gang through YGA O’Kenneth whom he met after high school. It was O’Kenneth who first got him to listen to the Ghanaian rappers City Boy and Rabby Jones. “It was like a family thing, he introduced me to City Boy and Rabby Jones and later Jay Bahd joined us. Jay Bhad is City Boy’s lil bro and City was rolling with DMC way back. It was like Kenneth and I were doing the same.”
After being brought into Kumasi’s rap scene, Reggie got to work. The artist went on to produce three EPs, Straight Outta Kumerica, 1 & 2, a collaborative project with his longtime friend and asakaa heavyweight O’Kenneth, and 2 TIMES A GUY which he dropped in 2021. But it’s on this latest album Most High that shows a mature Reggie with a collection of songs that span genres. “As a collective we keep trying different sounds. For instance ‘Oh Ma Linda’ is different from ‘Condemn’, but they are both drill songs. Most High is my latest vibe.”
The album opens with the soulful “Alhamdulillah”; his heartfelt raps and thoughtful lyrics create a spiritual connection, inviting listeners to reflect on gratitude and the power of faith. The project turns around themes of brotherhood, faith, and an introspective look at the choices we make in life. On “Maa Abena” Reggie invites Beeztrap KOTM, Skyface SDW and Chicogod. On “Makaveli” he gets Jay Bahd, Jhorrmountain and O’Kenneth to make an appearance reinforcing the collaborative spirit that has come to define the asakaa collective.
Thought it wasn’t always so easy. Asakaa was considered underground until those from outside the Black Star started paying attention. “After our first hit song ‘Akatafoc’ we noticed some changes, we started getting some new fans not only here in Ghana but worldwide…there were lots of people who were just giving comments on our videos and that’s how I noticed we had blown beyond Ghana.” From performing to nearly empty crowds in the early days to hosting several thousands of people for their countrywide concerts, Reggie and the asakaa boys have passed a threshold for their collective and style.
And despite the language barriers, Reggie and the asakaa boys continue to capture ever more non-twi speaking audiences with their work. The recent Grammy addition of a Ghanaian Drill award in the Best African Music Performance Category speaks to that. “The Grammys just recognized asakaa which means it’s getting bigger so we appreciate the growth and I heard that Nigeria has started doing drill music too and that was inspired by asakaa. Other countries in Africa like Kenya have also been influenced by us. Asakaa is not only for us, it’s for everyone, and anyone can hop on it you get me? It’s for the whole of Ghana and Africa but no one should say Nigerian drill. It’s asakaa everywhere.”
The future remains promising for Reggie who has already achieved significant success both individually and as part of the asakaa collective. He urges his fans to stick with him, promising more big things in the works. But the mission remains the same: asakaa to the world.