Hammer, the musical genius who nurtured music stars into prominence

Stories and facts

In the vibrant and ever-evolving world of Ghana's entertainment and music industry, one name stands out as an iconic figure who has left an indelible mark - Edward Nana Poku Osei, better known as Hammer of The Last Two. As a renowned Ghanaian record producer and the visionary CEO of The Last Two Music Group, Hammer's journey through the realms of music has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Hammer's initiation into the music industry was catalyzed by the encouragement of a close friend, Yaw Opare Anoff, who went by the alias Way Deep and was a gifted keyboardist. Recognizing Hammer's exceptional ability to analyze and dissect music with a professional acumen, they forged a partnership and formed a group called "The Last Two." This endeavor culminated in the production of the groundbreaking album "Pae mu ka" for the iconic Ghanaian artist Obrafour.

However, fate took its course, and Way Deep eventually departed for the United States, leaving Hammer to carry the torch alone. In a touching tribute to his departed friend, Hammer decided to maintain the name "The Last Two," even though he was now the sole driving force behind it.

Hammer, always up for a challenge, set out to produce music for artists who sang or rapped in Ghanaian dialects other than Twi, which is the predominant language in Ghana's music scene. This journey led to the creation of music for artists such as Tinny, the bestselling Ga act in history; Kwaw Kese, the biggest Fante act to date; and Ayigbe Edem, the most prominent rapper in Ewe.

Not content with just individual artist production, Hammer also embarked on the release of compilation albums, providing numerous artists in his camp with a platform to showcase their talents. These compilation albums included "Execution Diary" (2003), a collaborative effort with Obrafour; "Sounds of Our Time" (2004); "The Crusade of the Lost Files" (2006); and the ongoing "Evolution Recruits."

Hammer is known for his perfectionism and unwavering passion for music. His methods of grooming and mentoring artists have stirred both admiration and controversy within the industry. Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves, as his guidance has consistently unearthed iconic stars.

Beyond music production, Hammer has delved into movie scoring, even contributing to the American movie "Bloody Street."

Edward Nana Poku Osei, born on March 27, 1976, was the third child of Jones A. Osei and Marian Osei. His father was a banker, while his mother was involved in the fishing industry. The Osei family included three boys and three girls: Albert, Angela, Edward, Elizane, Karen, and Jones Jr.

Interestingly, Hammer has royal lineage, being a descendant of the late Otumfour Opoku Ware II, a former King of the Asanti Region. The family lived initially in North Kaneshie before relocating to East Legon, a prosperous neighborhood in the capital, during the late 1980s.

Hammer's educational journey took him through Yellow Duckling nursery school, St. Theresa’s School, Achimota Primary School, and finally, the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School, Legon. However, his burgeoning passion for music gradually overtook his academic pursuits, preventing him from pursuing higher education. While residing in the United Kingdom during his adolescence and later in the United States during his late teens, Hammer's family realized his innate talent for music and threw their support behind him.

From an early age, Hammer demonstrated an affinity for drumming, utilizing any available surface as a percussive canvas. He also roamed his neighborhood with a boom box sound system, blaring music loudly with his friends.

Hammer's musical education was enriched by his father's eclectic music collection, which spanned artists like Bonny M, the Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Pavarotti, Bonnie Tyler, as well as various television and movie theme instrumentals, including those from James Bond, Dynasty, Neighbours, and Dallas. These influences instilled in him a unique perspective that would significantly shape his future career.

With the advent of the hip-hop revolution, Hammer became a fan of artists such as Special Ed, A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, De La Soul, Craig Mack, Guru, Rakim, Das Efx, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre. Yet, his true inspiration came from legendary figures like Osibisa, Quincy Jones, and Bob Marley.

Despite his fame and success, Hammer remains a remarkably reserved individual, preferring to stay away from nightclubs, parties, and social gatherings. The name "Hammer" initially arose from a mock performance of MC Hammer's "Here Comes the Hammer" during his school days. However, it has since become synonymous with the thunderous, heavy drums characteristic of his music production.

Hammer's fans have praised him for his down-to-earth demeanor and his commitment to a simple life, far removed from the glamour of his celebrated career.

In 1997, as Hammer and Way Deep embarked on their music production journey, they were introduced to Obrafour by a friend named Edward Adu Mensah. Obrafour, a potential rapper with a remarkable singing ability, caught Hammer's attention. After extensive grooming and mentoring by Hammer, Obrafour's debut album, produced by Hammer and Way Deep, was released in August 1999 under the Home Base Record label.

Following the success of Obrafour's album, a dispute between Way Deep and Hammer led to their professional separation. Nevertheless, their personal friendship remained intact. Way Deep evolved into a singer and multi-instrumentalist, mastering instruments like the saxophone and guitar.

Tinny, a rising star who rapped in the Ga language, was another beneficiary of Hammer's guidance. To minimize the risks associated with promoting an artist singing in the less-popular Ga language, Hammer featured Tinny on Obrafour's hit single "Oye Ohene" remix. This collaboration catapulted Tinny to stardom even before his debut album, "Makola Kwakwe," was released. Tinny went on to win numerous awards at the Ghana Music Awards and other accolades across Africa.

In 2004, Hammer took on the challenge of grooming Kwaw Kese, a talented Fante rapper hailing from Agona Swedru in the Central Region. Within just three months of intensive training, Hammer released Kwaw Kese's single, "Oye Nonsense," which instantly propelled him into the limelight. Hammer's mentorship paved the way for Kwaw Kese to become the most prominent Fante rapper in Ghana. His debut album, released the following year, garnered seven awards at the 2007/2008 Ghana Music Awards.

In 2005, Hammer briefly stepped away from music production to get married and welcome his first child. However, his hiatus was short-lived, and by the middle of 2007, he embarked on yet another project, this time with Ayigbe Edem. Introduced to Hammer two years earlier by Jay Foley, an advertising agency owner and former production student of Hammer, Ayigbe Edem showcased his potential from the outset. Under Hammer's guidance, they created the groundbreaking album "The Volta Regime," which brought the Volta Region to the forefront



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