a warm pot of essays & interviews on alluring cutting edge art via the minds, spaces and voices of the now, with focus on africa and the diaspora, connecting readers/listeners/viewers to germane undiluted substance. blogging by kwame aidoo (@kwamewrite – twitter/IG)
TRAP ON ACCRA STREETS- IT’S A PURPLE VAL W/ $QU¥B,THE PARADOX
Only a few artistes from Africa are really capable of designing our trap music fix to keep us coming back for more, but ever since Accra-based rapper, singer, sound engineer and entrepreneur Squyb touched the mic, he’s been dropping nothing but refreshing alternative vibes, especially with his latest work; Purple Val EP which he dropped on 14th February, 2016. The music compounds vocal flair with woven puns and fire homonyms which are delivered in the Ewe, Twi and English languages with style and sheer grip of urban Accra crisp trap sounds.
“Trap” refers to “a drug deal zone usually more impoverished than spaces outside its perimeter.” The music genre originated in the early 1990s in the Southern parts of USA. In Ghana, especially Tema and parts of Accra, several underground artistes have grown a keen interest in the genre and added their own touch to it. It would be interesting to follow progressively the Ghanaian artiste’s take in the field of trap music and its cultural significance as well as the response from the industry.
“Purple Val is based on doing something different. You expect to see red when Valentine is mentioned but that shouldn’t be the case. We must have the approach to re-examine celebrations like this and use artistic methods to discuss and get people thinking and talking about issues,” Squyb explains.
SEX, DRUGS, 808s
The lyrical content unravels from themes which are vivid reflections of urban street life, sex, love, drug politics, etc. The gaunt 808 kick drums, deep extended sub-bass lines, piano chill and layered synthesizers make the Purple Val music what it is. “Our ‘purple’ essence is some sort of the different inspiration and what we go to create based on simply being different from what is already there is magical.”
We remember how trap producer Lex Luger gained huge popularity especially between 2010 and 2011 and made a global statement with trap. Not forgetting Future; Atlanta,Georgia-based recording artiste, who premiered his fourth album EVOL this month on DJ Khaled‘s We The Best Radio’s debut on Beats 1. “I just get the beat and treat the studio like a workplace because that’s what it is. I do not need to write. I started recording my music only about a year ago and got better and better each day so I took it serious, also because of the response I got from friends, fans and loved ones,” the artiste reveals.
A NEW SUB-GENRE CALLED STAMP TRAP
The 3rd track on the piece, Hi Hell Lo’ accentuates the musician’s tilt on Greg Kurstin with Adele’s Hello beat. The EP was mostly composed by Hym and mixed by MixedbyShiqee. Purple Valentine brings you pieces like C18H21NO3 which are worth a couple more replays.
Squyb takes us on a journey into his musical experience, creative process and background: “It’s always been hip hop for me. Though I can do all versions of music. I actually have songs of diverse genres, but concentrate on hip hop since that’s sort of my strong hold. I created a new genre I call Stamp Trap. I create beats too so I have the opportunity to give my ideas life, and watch the music form before my eyes. In over eight(8) months, we’ve recorded over hundred songs. And I’ve dropped two tracks; o’lblack and the cedi.”
Squyb touches on the pettiness of the industry as he chips in, “I don’t expect much for now” because “we know how the Ghanaian listeners and music lovers generally are slightly slow to catch up, but when they do, are enthusiastic about following the music and trend forwardly.”
Squyb’s most favorite part of the creative process is after he’s done delivering the vocals. “I get impatient trying to hear as fast as possible what was recorded and how it sounds like. Even since I was very young when my mum playfully called me ‘American boy’ because I acted like I was not from this place. I think identity and culture are open concepts and independent of location, people can adapt or sound as if they are from other cultures, and I as well had some unique experience with respect to both simple and sophisticated life situations and that made me into a go-getter.
The artiste relates to his past career life as “that kept me going but now I’m into the music full time.” Squyb believes; “everything will fall in place and it’s a gradual process, example I am not the type of musician to approach Sarkodie and pay him some exorbirtant amount for a feature. The music will speak for itself.”
Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.
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