AFRO-CLASSICAL HIP HOP ON THE RISE IN ACCRA

I make music. Afro-classical hip hop and I’m willing to be here for a long time.”

These were words Apollo, also known by the government name Vincent Edgal; a creative director at aYoungin Sound Recording company and a Real Fvture Recording artist passionately said when I asked, “what do you do?”

“Afro-classical hip hop is the sound that I’ve been working on for a while. I just mastered my production. It’s the mixture of African sounds and a lot of classical music. It’s from the great Fela Kuti himself because all along, he was responsible for creating the genre after he stopped making Afro music. He made Afro-classical music because it has something to do with the progression and climax. It’s a build up but sometimes it’s a loop. I get deep into the music, example, in “Oracle” which is dedicated to the great Angelique Kidjo, coming up soon.

 Every artist has their own interest or push or drive that makes them do what they do, For Apollo, there is the spiritual connection to things:

“I have two answers to the question; “why do you do what you do?” I have the shallow/mundane answer and I have the spiritual answer to it. The mundane answer to this is that music is the option I chose. Unfortunately for some of us, we’re slaves to the educational system all our lives and end up in the institutions and then it turns out to be something else. Before you know it we are working on someone else’s dreams. Spiritually I’ve been ordained to do music. I’ve been called.”

We find that music gives one a voice. This is dependent one way or the other on the source of inspiration. Not so?

“I get inspiration. Then I create. Body of knowledge. Body of sound. Body of energy. Body of frequency. Where everything exists. It’s been almost a decade now since I started embarking on my journey towards mental science, mind developing and basically understanding that musical works are dependent on nature- natural laws put together by God and the universe. That’s where my music comes from. Each of us, we have our sacred self, which harbours different intentions and different missions. This sacred self is what inspires me, that’s the foundation of my creative process- pretty much getting in touch with the esoteric.”

Apollo’s background falls in contrast with several other rappers in the crevices of the urban Ghanaian music scene who had to live hand to mouth or on loans from friends to make things happen. He might have hailed from a space where silver spoons were a tad more easy to come by, but that doesn’t go to affect the ‘hunger’ with which he cooks his musical recipes for listeners. “My dad is the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Nigeria. He brought forth a small family of 3 children. My elder sister is in Canada doing her masters. My younger brother schools in Turkey. I’m usually here or there- in UK, Nigeria or Ghana. Artistically I learned how to use all my spiritual senses.” 

Listen to Mastery; a creative cut of alternative music that compounds classical rhythms with hip hop, soul, dub step and more. Young musicians based in Accra are paving new routes in the trade and setting new standards that the boxed global industry needs to catch up with, and Afro-classical music is certainly one genre that’s here to stay.

I am a very restless creative. It takes a lot of thinking because to think is to create. I would go on and tell fans or people who love the brand I associate myself with to follow me because of my art and not the other things. The responsibility of a musician is to channel sound and let people move. It is a spiritual thing. Although I hail from a well-to-do family, musically I started from dust.”

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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

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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