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Why playing the role of an African could be the ultimate challenge for Travis Cure, the bad-boy of Tyler Perry’s ‘The Oval’

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Season 1 of Tyler Perry’s ‘The Oval’ just concluded on BET and fans already can’t wait for the next season. The announcement that the series would be returning with a second season was made back in April but has been held back due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Oval” is a political drama series with some hints of comedy, which revolves around U.S President Hunter Franklin and first lady Victoria Franklin, a power-hungry interracial couple.  Writer, director, and executive producer, Tyler Perry supercharges the political genre with off-the-charts levels of scandal, sex, depravity, and betrayal.

Travis Cure, who was billed as the newest Hollywood heartthrob of Wednesday nights because of the TV show, cannot wait to show the rest of the world how his character bad boy character evolves in season 2.

“Seeing how the first season went; looking at how the storyline unfolds with twists and turns, and knowing a lot of the answers to the questions that people are asking, I just want to get it out and get on camera so that viewers can see it all so bad!  We’ve had these lines for 4 to 5 months before this whole COVID-19 shutdown, I need to get it out; Bobby needs to come out. I want to show the people what we have been sitting on, and come out with a whole new season of absolute greatness and drama,” says Travis.

Travis Cure plays Bobby, a seductive stranger who gets tied to the wife of the President’s Chief of Staff.  So what about the show, made him want to be a part of it?

“Initially, it was just the idea of working with Tyler Perry. There are a lot of great works from him. But once they initially told us the storyline and what it was, they were going for; I realized it was something that was a little bit different for me. It raised an eyebrow for me. This is something that could be pretty great. I believe that if you get to re-enact anything that has to do with politics, it is something you should do.”

Cure’s first official acting credit is from 2016, meaning that he literally went from an unknown actor to scoring a recurring role on a Tyler Perry original in three years. And he loves his character on The Oval.

“Bobby has layers, but nobody else knows it but him.  He is the type of guy that likes to be ten steps ahead just when others think they have the upper hand. He is the guy who would be like I knew you would do that, but I am going to counter it because he feels he is much smarter than everyone else. When they told me which character they had chosen me for, I asked Tyler, who is this guy? What is your short version of it? He said Bobby is like a panther; he is cunning and very mysterious. Panthers are beautiful but they can be dangerous at the same time. Bobby is a dangerous guy to the people he needs to be dangerous too.”

According to the heavily built actor, fan reactions to his character on the show have been up and down. In the beginning, fans liked him for his nice-guy persona, and then there were times they didn’t like him.  By the end of the first season, they don’t know whether they could trust him.

Tyler Perry has got to be one of the busiest men in showbiz, simultaneously producing Bruh, Sistas, Young Dylan, Ruthless, Assisted Living, and The Oval. So is working with him like?

“The nervousness sets in with what we know about him, and all the things that he has accomplished. Being in the presence of greatness, you also want to be great yourself, so the nervousness sets him. With him, it is fun and work at the same time. He lets you know that you can let your hair down a little and have fun but still know that there is a job to be done when it is time. So he is really strict but he can be lenient. Everything is so quick and the expectations are so high but you get used to it, because of how things run, but he can make you nervous at first, I would say that.”

Travis describes working on The Oval as a real humbling experience. He felt very comfortable on set because a lot of the cast members had a lot of things they could relate to, with each other. They had similar stories that they could draw upon to bring their characters to life.  “It was an experience and we did it together as a community,” he comments.

For Atlanta-based Travis Cure, it all started with modeling. He enjoyed modeling and made some good connections that helped him transition into acting. “I tried it and I liked it. And with the right help, it has turned into something amazing. I had no intention of acting but now I love it, I don’t see myself doing anything else but acting.”

Cure is a former US Marine who served 4 years so it is no wonder he wants to have more action roles onscreen. “I get a lot of lover guy and husband roles, which I don’t mind playing because I have gotten comfortable with it. I mean most guys are comfortable with having to interact with a woman but for me, my goal is to do something action or something Marvel and CGI or military, jumping out of a helicopter-type of films. As far as with my range, I want to get into doing accents like being from another country and stuff like that. I’m from Florida and I have been in the USA all my life. So to be able to act as if I am from Africa or something like that would be a stretch because you have to learn how to speak and be like somebody from somewhere you haven’t been before. That would be very challenging and that is in the works for me”.

Watch full interview below:

 

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Sofie details blissful new single ‘BLUR’, musical journey, process and more

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One of the exciting artists to adorn West Africa’s music scene, Sofie is steadily winning Ghanaian fans over with her music. And who could resist her welcoming voice?!

As a guest on Ameyaw Meets today, I take a dive into the Ghanaian’s culturally diverse background and upbringing, her musical journey, process and of course, her new single ‘BLUR’ which is out now on Apple Music & iTunes, Spotify, Deezer and the likes. You can give it a listen here: https://songwhip.com/sofie4/blur

 

If this is your first encounter of the Sofie, I must elaborate the singer isn’t entirely new to Ghanaian soil and audiences. She was right here in the motherland to perform at the Chalewote Festival in the Summer of 2017. But there’s more, Sofie also performed at “The African Diaspora Homecoming Conference Gala Night” to celebrate Ghana’s 60th Independence Day anniversary that same year. The same is true for other shows, both in Ghana and abroad over the years of her musical journey.

 

Above these highlights, Sofie is a recent alumna of the Berklee College of Music – a feat she holds next to two extended plays’; “Sofie” and “Light Waves”, next to a string of singles which are as irresistible as her latest ‘BLUR’.

 

Back to ‘BLUR’, Sofie explores a budding romance in its honeymoon phase and wants to use songs like these to raise spotlight the things that make life worthwhile, lighting a positive spark in listeners.

 

Enjoy my chat with her below.

Q: Hello Sofie. How about we start with what there is to know about you?

 

Hi there! I am a Ghanaian singer-songwriter and producer raised between Ghana and the UK. I would describe myself as a person with good vibrations, passion and a wavy essence. I started singing from around 5 years old and from there began to pursue songwriting and learning the guitar. I am inspired by multiple different genres of music and listen to artists like Justin Bieber, Kehlani and Burna Boy. Apart from music, I enjoy other art forms such as poetry, photography and film. I want to use my platform to spread light, love and a positive message.

 

Q: Before we get into more about your craft, ‘BLUR’ – your latest single is out now. What’s the catch?

 

My song ‘BLUR’ was written in 2020 in the pandemic over Zoom with my friend Ben. I asked my friend Carter to produce the track and he agreed so we started working on it virtually; it all happened very organically. We got some Bass and Djembe parts from my friends Paul & NiiQuaye and in the outro are some of my friends in a voice memo. ‘BLUR’ explores the experience of a budding young romance. It’s a smooth, happy and rhythmic R&B – Afro-Pop song that expresses the electrifying feelings of a new relationship in the honeymoon phase. This song is for people who are trying to chill, have fun and go on adventures. When people listen to this song, I imagine them driving, windows rolled down and enjoying the summer breeze. I imagine playing in the background at beach hangouts and in cute coffee shops. Waves.

 

 

Q: How long has music been your go to? Also, kindly gist us on your musical debut and the journey so far.

 

Since I was a very young child. My mother says I sang before I could talk! Music has been a very important part of my life and at the forefront of my creativity. I feel like it is part of my identity. I was in school choirs from a very young age and participated in plays and musicals with the lead roles. I loved performing and still do. Being on stage is definitely one of my favourite things about my craft. I also wrote a lot of poetry and rap lyrics when was younger just for fun. Later on, I picked up guitar and a little piano. Composing music has always been a creative expression and release for me. I never want to lose the real reason why I create; It makes me happy. I began releasing original songs in 2016. Songwriting comes organically to me and my first single ‘Touch My Soul’ is a reflection of my storytelling. Although it’s about 5-6 years old it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever written. Since writing that song my musical journey has been about making people feel inspired to follow their passions and simply have a good time.

 

 

Q: Ghana, Germany, the UK and USA are all countries you’ve made your home. In what ways do you think all this rich exposure has shaped your musical journey?

 

I feel blessed and extremely grateful to be have grown up a part of so many cultures and continue experiencing them all on a deep level. Having relatives all over the world has given me the opportunity to grow my perspective on the world and how I perceive sound. I have met musicians from all over and this exposure has helped me find my truth. I can explore multiple genres and try different sounds. I have learned that my career is a journey and the more you collaborate the more you open yourself up to opportunities that can only work in your favour. I know that there are no limits to me and the only limitations I have are the ones I put on myself.

 


Q: With a degree from such a premier institution, mind sharing your musical process with us?

My musical process is different every time. Some days it’s me and my guitar finding some chords I love. I start improvising melodies and the song develops that way. Other times I make a beat and start building the song by writing lyrics and melodies as I go along. There are times when someone might send me a beat and I’ll topline that and send it back to them. I also really enjoy collaboration so that’s something I’m looking to do a lot more of in the future. I enjoy working with other writers, producers and it’s so special when you can be in the same room.


Q: What inspires you to make the kind of music you do?

 

I like to write about love, pain, joy, nostalgia. Anything and everything inspire me; being in nature, going on the subway or on a beautiful date. I mostly pull inspiration from things I experience day to day. Some songs I write promote social change such as ‘Broken World’ from my sophomore EP ‘’Light Waves’’. It’s important for me to use my platform however big or small to help people and also raise awareness about the things that matter in the world.

 


Q: My readers might be curious. Do you normally have Ghanaian songs on rotation? If yes, any favorites?

 

Yes, I definitely do! My favourite’s right now are CHOPLIFE (King Promise, Patoranking), Falling (Smallgod, KiDi, Darkoo). Artists I love are Kwesi Arthur, Sister Deborah, Amaarae, SuperJazzClub, Ria Boss, BryanTheMensah, Moliy, $pacely and many more.

 

Q: Before I let you go, are there any collaborations with Ghanaian artists on the cards?

 

For sure! There are so many Ghanaian artists I want to collaborate with. I’m not going to give too much away but keep your eyes peeled later this year.

CREDITS

Cover art by Lavern Clerk: @naaclerk
Graphic design by Lena Morton: @lenaxmorton
Written by Sofie and Author
Produced and mixed by Carter Pankow
Bass guitar by Paul “Papabear” Johnson
Djembe by NiiQuaye
Background vocal arrangement by Gayathri Krishnan and Sofie
Mastered by Alexander Wright

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Ameyaw Meets

EXCLUSIVE: discussing the best BAR mixtape yet, highs, lows and the future of the franchise with E.L

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Unadulterated Hip-Hop has been at the heart of Ghana’s – we dare to say – longest serving music franchise to hit mainstream and after 6 iterations in, it’s time we ask the questions you always wanted to ask.

 

If you are privileged like us, you get to call and interview some of Ghana’s biggest stars week-in week-out just to simply boss them about with a plethora of questions, mostly about their releases and call it a day. Fun right? We know.

 

Well, this week we got to strike the Best African Rapper, E.L off our bucket list with lots of questions. But above all, our most awkward yet, “BAR BAR on the phone, who (BAR mixtape) is the BARriest of them all” stole the show and sparked a very in-depth discussion with the artist.

 

Now, of course we didn’t ask that. Unfortunately for you we didn’t intend to come off as corny, though we did ask E.L about his big six BAR mixtapes and what he feels about them in retrospect. Hell, we even got him to tell us his personal favorite – OK, we were quite close – amid other bits of juicy information which you’d never see anywhere. All from the horses own mouth too, so you best believe it.

 

Enjoy the most revealing aspects of our conversation.

 

Q: Hello E.L. What’s good? Thanks for making time for us to to grill you this hot afternoon. It’s all about your BAR Mixtapes today and we hope you’re ready?

 

Good vibes. Yes sir, let’s do it.

 


Q:
You’ve put a lot of love into your BAR franchiseI and everyone can tell. And after 6 iterations in we can’t help but ask, why is it so special to you?

 

It’s just a type of journaling exercise for me. Each BAR tape represents a place where I was at that point in time and speaks about my mind-state. So, to me it’s a resource that I feel I can look back at and reflect on what I was feeling at that point in time, it’s good for retrospection.


Q:
Personally, BAR II is my favorite pick and one I keep going back to till this daysuch a terrific mixtape. Which iteration is your favorite of the 6 and why?

 

My latest offering is always my favorite. It’s a reflection of who I am today, I’d like to think with time and effort comes improvement. New and improved BAR will always be my favorite!

 

Q: What songs off BAR 6 would you say are your personal favorites? Mind ranking them?

 

It keeps changing. I love ‘Frodo Baggins’ because of the rhyme simplicity and the bounce, I love ‘Dracula’ because it’s grungy… and an aggressive sound. I love ‘This Country’ too because of its sincerity. Depends on the day and my mood. One of my deepest challenges is putting my creations into rank and file.


Q: What BAR mixtape could’ve been better in retrospect?

They’re all perfect pieces of art. Wouldn’t change a thing.

 


Q: Your Top 3 BAR intros?

 

BAR 3 INTRO

BAR 4 INTRO

BAR 6 INTRO

 


Q:
Beef and Hip-Hop culture go hand in hand. Have we unknowingly got a taste of it in any of the BAR mixtapes out there? Mind sharing the song?

 

No. Not to my knowledge. I am aware of the negative and positive effects of beef in the industry. I just choose to mind my business.

 


Q: We know every project runs on a tight budget
shoutouts to you for keeping the production fresh and feature list even fresher. But any chance other rap artists across Africa feature on the next BAR project, should there be one?

 

Possible. But that depends on how I feel and the responses I get. Maybe I’ll work more on my relationships.

 


Q:
Which African rappers inspired you to don your gauntlets and go on this Best African Rapper rampage?

 

I have great respect for legends like Reggie Rockstone, Hammer, Obrafour and a lot more, but no one. My incentive to begin the series came from the need to prove that I was still a rap n*gga at heart and didn’t sell out to other genres just stay go commercial.

Q: There’s a variety of new rappers in Ghana today. This is not an endorsement. But which one of them gets a nod from the BAR himself?

 

I like Kev the Topic, Maurice Omario, to name a few.

 

Q: The franchise went cold after BVR dropped in 2018many of us, myself includedthought you had put it to rest. What happened?

 

Nothing really. I just had to go get my mind right.

Q: 2020 was the year of ‘’Leaks’’ and I don’t know about fans, but there were talks among my friends if it was the spiritual successor to the BAR franchise. Is it?

It almost was. ‘’Leaks’’ was a means to release more music, more constantly. Might go back to it. But then again, it all depends how I feel.

Q: 2022 is one quarter down already and still no single yet. We know you’re pushing some serious P’s in the studio. What’s up?

 

I’ve got one ready to go in April! Then much more afterwards. Watch out.

Q: Great thingslike this conversationdo come to an end. But it must be asked, how many more BAR mixtapes do you have in you? What’s the future of the franchise?

 

I’m going for 16 tapes. Hope I don’t burn out.

There you have it. All there is to know about the rapper’s dedication to Ghanaian Hip-Hop served to you on a silver platter. And with no end in sight, why not revisit it all this weekend (seriously, you should) before his new drop hits the streets?

 

#theBestBAR let’s know your favorite of the six!

 

Listen here: https://music.apple.com/gh/artist/e-l/1162251042 or  https://open.spotify.com/artist/3mUnqlNBdoohi6s287lxel or https://audiomack.com/elrepgh

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Rocky Dawuni explains how Grammy nomination can promote Ghana globally

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According to a two-time Grammy nominee, Rocky Dawuni, a Grammy nomination or win does a whole lot of good for an artist including giving the artist commercial appeal and visibility. He added that the prestigious award comes with some optics that help artists in many ways. (more…)

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Grammys 2022: A nomination for “Best Global Music Album” validates what I’ve been doing – Rocky Dawuni

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Two-time Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician, Rocky Dawuni has described the nomination of his “Voice of Bunbon, Vol. 1” for “Best Global Music Album” at the upcoming 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards as a validation for what he has been doing over the years.

Answering a question on Ameyaw TV, about how he feels about this recent nomination compared with his first one for ‘Best Reggae Album’, Rocky said:

“I think that this category validates what I’ve been doing. When I did the album, ‘Book of Changes’, that was when I started fusing a lot of traditional music, afrobeat sounds, and others. That album became had some of my most licensed records. AE started being interested in my music, and they were not interested in the reggae part of the music but more interested in the afro roots fusion that I was doing. So songs like, ‘Wake The Town’ became a big song amongst people who were playing EA games. That album was nominated for NAACP Image Award. Most people don’t even know that I was nominated for that. But that was the precursor to the Grammy nomination.”

According to Rocky, when people hear his name, they immediately think of reggae without looking at the afro roots infusion that he does. He adds: “When I was nominated in the Grammy Reggae album category, everybody that voted in that category knew the other four albums sounded the same and mine sounded totally different. It was a fusion of Highlife, reggae music, afrobeats and more. So for somebody like me, to come from a space without any big institutional support like all the other artists, to be recognized within their walls, it was because people heard something different. So I was seen as a reggae artist, but it was more of a global sound. So fast forward to this year, I think that people have now recognized that Afro roots sound is a sound that defines who I am as an artist. It is unique and groundbreaking.”

In November 2020, Recoding Academy announced its decision to change the name of the Grammys World Music Album category to Global Music Album to avoid “connotations of colonialism”. The world music album category was first introduced in 1991 to highlight “international non-Western classical music, international non-American, and non-British traditional folk music, international cross-cultural music based on the previously mentioned genres as well as international recordings of world beat, world jazz (with a higher percentage of world than jazz music), world pop, and cross-cultural music.”

In May 2021 the Academy also introduced the Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field) category.

The expression ‘Two-times Grammy nomination’ may seem a mouthful for Rocky Dawuni but he knows it signifies endless possibilities for Ghanaian musicians. He comments: “The thing is that when you’re a musician and you work hard, you look for people to embrace your music. Everybody, no matter where you come from, wants wider acceptance. You want your peers to recognize the creativity in your work. So, if you have that intention, and the highest global platforms, that have a diversified group of discerning music people confer that level of excellence to your works, I think that is something that makes you feel inspired and makes you feel validated. And at the same time, too, you know, you just have to enjoy the moments and be appreciative of that blessing. For me, every time I hear it, I know this is the possibility of what every kid in Ghana who dreams can be able to do because I am that possibility.

The 64th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3, 2022. Rocky Dawuni is nominated alongside Angelique Kidjo, Wizkid, Femi Kuti & Made Kuti, and Daniel Ho & Friends.

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Yung Dada discusses new EP ‘’Shea Butter Boy’’, his pseudonym, path to African self-discovery and more

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On today’s session of Ameyaw Meets, we spend time with one of Ghana’s fine new voices, Yung Dada, as he shares with us details of his debut EP ‘’Shea Butter Boy’’, his personal life, coming back home to find that spark he’s been missing, forthcoming collaborations and more.

His first ever studio project, ‘’Shea Butter Boy’’ is a smashing attempt from the Dutch singer-producer of Ghanaian descent. It easily seeks omnipresence in the world of Afro rhythms and relevant playlists with 7 sure-fire songs and 3 skits that are a joy to play through. If you find extreme delight in the honeyed themes of romance, Yung Dada’s well curated track list will have your attention throughout its run and ferry you into soothing episodes of vocal bliss.

Born Yaw Owusu Addai, Yung Dada is a musician, producer and performer. His parents were big music enthusiasts and helped fuels his fascination with music at a much younger age. Born in Amsterdam, (NL), Yung Dada is today well known for his mastery over drums, compelling producing and performing power.

Read the full interview below.

  1. Thanks for making time for this. Big ups to your team for making all this possible on such short notice. How are you holding up?

Everything is cool by God’s grace of course. I dey for the motherland soaking up the vibes and working on my next project!

  1. Yung Dada… ba, right? Haha. How did that pseudonym come up? Tell us everything there is to know about you.

I called myself Yung Dada cause I’m really my father’s look alike basically – the way I walk and act is very similar to him. My passion for music was definitely installed by him and my great grandfather who was a tribal drummer for the Ashanti culture.

I started off as a producer and drummer in church at the age of 14. I did that for many years and gained a lot of traction as a musician in the Netherlands by playing with top artist from NL. After 10 good years of doing shows as a drummer I finally wanted to step to the front and create my own legacy as an artist for people to see and be inspired by.

In the first stage, I started making American rap music because I loved it so much and was producing them type of beats too, so it was only right for me to follow my dream. After 2 project and 2 singles which gained a lot of traction for me as an independent artist, I decided to get back to my roots and focus on reinventing myself as an artist. I came back to Ghana in 2019 and Yung Dada was born.

  1. So, you’ve got this really great EP “Shea Butter Boy”. How did it all come together?

My trip to Ghana made it all happen organically. I spent 7 months in Accra in working on this project because I felt the need to really dig in my culture and I needed to stay for a while to tap in to that energy of the motherland in order for me to create the songs that are on the EP.

  1. Would you say reconnecting with your roots gave the EP a big boost? If yes, how?

Definitely. Every little aspect of Ghana has been very influential while making this project – from the food to historical places such as Cape Coast. Even the ladies with brooms in the morning cleaning up the streets is very inspiring and humbling to me. I literally soaked everything up and went to work.

 

  1. What Ghanaian artist do you enjoy listening to the most and why?

I have a few of them but I’ll just name one hahaha. At this moment I love listening to Black Sherif. This man has a spiritual voice and melody that always ignites a force in me and I love him for that.

  1. I hope this is you officially teasing an upcoming collaboration?

Hahaha who knows! I have a few other Ghanian artist that I have songs with but I can’t talk too much.

  1. Now, about collaborations. Do you have any Ghanaian artists you are you eying for a feature?

Moliy, Amaarae, King Promise, Black Sherif, Shatta Wale.

  1. We’d keep our fingers crossed! You’ve spent a lot of time back home. What are you taking back to the Netherlands?

Plenty Ghana vibes to begin with and a new project if I may say so.. I’m already working on ‘’Shea Butter Boy 2’’. I’m used to working in Ghana now so I can’t go back without a new project.

  1. Before you go. Tell us what’s next for you?

Work on my next projects. Winning new territories with my art. Take over the industry. Work with new major artists, do shows across the globe and building my empire brick by brick.

‘’Shea Butter Boy’’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here: https://orcd.co/sheabutterboy

OR

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Those doing Asakaa music shouldn’t stop but right now Afrobeats is what has America paying attention

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Michael ‘Emm’ Acheampong-Boateng, President of Highbridge the Label, has explained that it makes sense for African musicians do push the Afrobeats agenda into the US market, since that is what is hot at the moment.

Afrobeats is not new, but in the US, it is. For example, Pop Smoke made drill music with UK beats, that’s how he was introduced to the market. The plan before he died was to transition to more traditional music for people to enjoy. You saw that in his first album after he passed away. If you are a good businessman, the first thing to remember is that you are a business so you position yourself well in order to be successful. If there’s a market for Afrobeats in America and you’re looking into breaking into the market, then you need to come in with what they want and slowly transition to whatever you are looking to bring and see how the market reacts to that,” he said in an interview with Ameyaw TV.

Watch Full interview below:

Asked whether the Asaaka drill music from Ghana was making similar waves in the US, Emm said it wasn’t the case yet.

“I didn’t see it in the US. If I did, I saw it in the African community in the US. If there was an African party, then that’s where you would see it but if you move from the subset of that population, then it didn’t really travel. Afrobeats however, is traveling outside of the African community. So again, I don’t think rappers doing Asaaka should abandon it. But they should be aware that if they want to get a commercial appeal, they should lean towards Afrobeats. Because with rap, Americans speak English, so if they can’t understand what you’re saying, then it’s a little bit tricky.

Highbridge the Label is an American record label founded by A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Don Q, Quincy “QD” Acheampong and Sambou “Bubba” Camara in 2016, based in New York City.

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