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US rapper, JB hankers after performance in Ghana and Africa

Jesse Brown, alias JB is a talented and young New York-based rapper currently balancing pre-law in college with his passion for hiphop; and enjoying a growing fan base in his community and on the internet for his music. Although his family was originally from Brazil, JB was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he had […]

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Jesse Brown, alias JB is a talented and young New York-based rapper currently balancing pre-law in college with his passion for hiphop; and enjoying a growing fan base in his community and on the internet for his music. Although his family was originally from Brazil, JB was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he had humbling and exciting adventures growing up.

JB, a huge fan Kanye West, has been rapping as a hobby since high school but started to take it more seriously and publicly in the summer of 2009, when he dropped his first song ‘Clientele’ ft EazzY from Philadelphia. He already has two mixtapes out and the third, ‘The Red Album’ is expected to drop on January 19, 2011.  After that project he will tour a bit before working on his debut album. He is an independent rapper under Takes6x Management currently looking at a few offers, to analyze what works best for him. “I’m on my Indie flow for now trying to sell out the venues and when the time is right, I’ll sign to the Label that’s going to give me the freedom I need and time I need to grow into my full potential,” comments the rapper.

Among the venues that JB is looking to sell out on his rise to the top is Ghana and Africa at large. He will be visiting Ghana during the Independence Day celebrations and would be looking forward to his first performances on African soil. An ambitious dream for an upstart rapper who would be competing to stay relevant to an audience that is used to music from the more established American acts, who ironically usually have no desire to reach the African market. I caught up with JB to find out what drives him to want to visit Africa and to find out more about his music and aspirations.

Ameyaw Debrah: How did growing up in New York influence your music?

I traveled a lot and most of it was done with me, my 2 sisters and my mom. I lived in Brooklyn, NY then Philadelphia, PA for a little before I moved out to Los Angeles, California where most of my growing up was done. I experienced not having everything I wanted and not eating some nights because my mom was a single parent and she had to keep a roof over my head. So I didn’t have “Game Boy Color” until it was out of style and things like that. So I talk about that in my music and also the things I dream of and experience now that I’m in a better situation. I always remind myself that I’m never going back to that life in my music – me or my family. I also tried to portray that energy and hope hn my music because I’m making something out of nothing, literally.

Ameyaw Debrah: What else inspires your rap?

I’m inspired by the fact that I’m involved directly with a culture that goes back years and years. And also with the hope that someone somewhere is going to listen to it and that person would be inspired to do something they’ve always dreamed of.

Ameyaw Debrah: What is your style of rap?

I don’t know if I could put myself in a style of rap. I like wordplay and stuff that makes people think a bit – something you could vibe to in your car on your way anywhere.

Ameyaw Debrah: Which artists influence your music?

Kanye is my favourite artist. He just has everything you want in an emcee and he challenges me to come harder on my lyrics. Also, Wiz Khalifa because of his ear for great samples and simply good music hands down!

Ameyaw Debrah: Who produces your music?

I work with a lot of Producers on my projects but my in-house is Bam3, Bryant Myers. He also has his own production company IMR8 so shout out to them; they’re really talented over there.

Ameyaw Debrah: Which song would you say gave you your ‘breakthrough’?

I think most of my songs on my last mixtape caught the attention of a lot of listeners because I just poured my soul into those lyrics and I didn’t rush the project so it came out really well and I’m happy with the outcome. So shout out to the supporters they’re the ones we should be thanking. This has already been a trying journey and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot but I found out a lot about myself and the people surrounding me. I made the proper adjustments and now I have the sickest manager and I just keep making music. I’m focused and I have goals to accomplish with less time than work. So Im always working yah know?

Ameyaw Debrah: Have you worked with any popular artists so far?

Young Dizzy is on my newest Mixtape and he’s affiliated with Grand Hustle with T.I and Young La and all of them down there. That’s my boy and he’s trying to find the right situation for himself but he’s really taken over the West Coast. The others I decided to save for my album so that people knew I was capable myself of making hits without really popular features.

Ameyaw Debrah: Your last mixtape was ‘More Awesome Shit’. Why that title?

Because my first EP was entitled ‘F*&^ You I’m Awesome’ and with that being said I was tired of people challenging my ability so my first one was a statement and ‘More Awesome Shit’ (DOWNLOAD MIXTAPE)was the follow up. It was pretty much stating that, here’s more music that you’re going to like  and a lot of people caught on to my Awesome Movement and kept it afloat.

Ameyaw Debrah: What inspired the track “Long Awaited” and what did you mean when you said finally you are on your way to being famous?

For me, that was a statement song. To me, fame is a much smaller thing because I’m honoured for even 1 person to hear my songs. And if someone outside of my circles likes the song, then that’s BIG to me coming from where I’m from. I appreciate every little bit of support because it could disappear in an hour or even less. So to me, that is what ‘Famous’ means; and I’m well on my way to that.

Ameyaw Debrah: American hiphop is usually about money, sex and drugs. How much of that is real to you?

Well the money is one thing, but sex and drugs? (Laughs out loud) Those are things that I would say come with the territory of making good music and travelling everywhere. So it’s up to you to partake in the activities or be different. I try to stand outside of the fold and be different; some of my songs have emphasis on women but most have more substance.

Ameyaw Debrah: So what inspired your song ‘So in love’ who inspired that?

Well at the time it was a past relationship that I think about sometimes but I could never go back to. But I’m single now and taking every day at a time. I mean if it happens again I won’t be able to stop it, that’s fate.

Ameyaw Debrah: “I want the dead presidents to fucking raise me, praise me for the things I have done” was a line in ‘Get On My Level’. What’s your level?

Well it was more of a way demanding respect from people that doubted I would be able to go from just rapping sometimes in my dorm room to, well something similar to this – answering questions for a dope website like this one. Thumbs Up!

Ameyaw Debrah: Do you have any music videos out yet?

Not as of yet, but I will be shooting some videos for my fans when I get to Toronto at the end of January.

Ameyaw Debrah: How do you promote your music?

Most importantly I go out and spread CD’s whenever I can. I also give them out at shows, and the internet is a large tool for me. I’m always on twitter.  www.twitter.com/_iamJB or updating my Facebook statuses and interacting with the very people that love my music.

Ameyaw Debrah: Musicians find themselves acting nowadays. Any plans to go into acting?

I have an animated character that I show on stage and when I’m not in front of everyone. But I’m content with putting on a show on stage. If the opportunity came then I wouldn’t say no.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the highlights for you so far?

Having the opportunity to record at DJ LAZYK Studio and talking to Billion Dollar Baby on the phone.  He is the creator of the Wave movement from Harlem and has ties with French Montana. I have some big things coming up on the album so I don’t want to tell a lot. And actually getting a chance to put on a show in Africa will be the biggest thing, I’m too excited.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the challenges on your journey so far?

Dealing with and sifting through the people that are around only in your successful moments and dealing with promoters sometimes can be really hard. But I just pay extra attention to details and keep my circle small.

Ameyaw Debrah: Which of your songs are your favourite?

I think my favourite songs are the ones off the newest project. Its showing that I’m flourishing as an emcee and you’ll see why when I drop the tape.

Ameyaw Debrah: Are your familiar with Africa?

My close friend Ali is from Nigeria but that is as familiar as I get. I can’t wait to get there and partake in some of the culture and see all the cool things Africa has to offer.

Ameyaw Debrah: Are you familiar with any music or artists from Africa?

I’m currently researching Prophets of the City and I heard there’s an all female hip hop group called Godessa maybe I got the wrong name but I think the ideas awesome and I’m going to find out as much as possible. I love music and I love to read.

Ameyaw Debrah: Would you like to work with any African artists in the future?

I think that’s an awesome idea and I hope I can get in a studio session with a few, and attend some shows as well.

Ameyaw Debrah: What do you hope to achieve with your career in the next 5 years?

I hope to be involved in successful tours worldwide; have my own label and that would allow me to search for as many great artists who need their breakthroughs.

JB’S CHOICE

Top 5 songs at the moment

Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco

Mezmorized – Wiz Khalifa

Crazy – Big Sean

And Tons of Kanye West Songs

Top 5 all time favourite songs

I Did It My Way – Jay-Z

Changes – 2 Pac

That Aint Me- Lil Wayne

Hi- Definition- Lupe Fiasco

Sky’s The limit- BIG

Top 5 all time favourite rappers?

Kanye West

Lupe Fiasco

Jay-Z

Biggie Smalls

Big L

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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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Comfort Arthur shares more details inside the making of her animated Malaria film, “The Underestimated Villain”

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British-born Ghanaian animator, graphic designer, visual artist and editor, Comfort Arthur, has shared her inspiration behind her new body of work, “The Underestimated Villain” an animated film seeking to provide information on Malaria. (more…)

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Gospel singer QueenLet share how her SOKAAT music genre is making impact on lives

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Rising gospel artist, QueenLet, is gradually making waves on both local and international music scenes with her Soaking and Atmospheric (SOKAAT) music genre. (more…)

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How American tour operator, Rashad McCorey found a creative solution to tourism during COVID-19

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The tourism industry was one of the most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic but for American tour operator, Rashad McCorey it was a blessing in disguise.
(more…)

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INTERVIEW: From Ghana to Italy and back, Shadowboy Myzic recounts his almost decade-long journey, new single ft. Kelvyn Boy and more

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The Ghanaian-Italian Afrobeat star may not be one you’ve heard enough of, but with his new single ‘Better’ out now, the floodgates are officially open. He’s keen on bridging the gap between Europe and African music; particularly through Afrobeat and his latest release featuring Kelyvn Boy is the plug.
Join us, as Shadowboy Myzic expounds on his enigmatic name and self, all down to a fiery Italian freestyle.
Enjoy.

Thanks for making time for us Shadowboy Myzic. It’s always a joy to host a new face. We can’t help but ask, why Shadowboy Myzic? What’s the story behind such an enigmatic name?
The name Shadowboy Myzic is spiritual blessing from my lovely mother. She used to call me (sunsum) when I was a child simply because my mother is very known in the city of Palermo and a market woman. She owns African shops and restaurants in Palermo. In my childhood, I was the personal assistant to my mother, whenever she goes out of the shop, I assist her until she returns. During that period, being a child growing I need time to play with my friends so as soon as I see my mother returns, I have to vanish to join my friends to play and the old woman will look for me everywhere but will not find me then she will be like you are indeed (sunsum) because you can vanish in a twinkle of an eye. From there I got ‘’sunsum’’ attached to my name.

Looking for a stage name, I felt ‘’sunsum’’ was a blessing from my mother because our shadows follow us everywhere. That’s where I got Shadowboy and Myzic simply means in our own interpretation, (my music). That’s where Shadowboy Myzic was generated.

You featured Kelyvn Boy on your new single, ‘Better’ and some fans may be wondering; “Who’s this new guy?” Mind telling us about yourself and Myzic Empire?
Daniel Kyei is my name, I was born in Ghana and raised in Palermo, Italy. I started writing music at the age of 9 but I got my first opportunity to record at the age of 18 – my first mixtape which then gave me the energy to do more and also set up a record label called Myzic Empire Records. Thanks to my first mixtape that I launched in 2012, I got some attention from my community Palermo where I got lots of compliments but no one was ready to give me a big push so I continued slowly with my friend, Kwamzizy who was the only one who supported me in when I needed to shoot videos for my mixtapes back then. In our little ways we managed to get noticed by some people in our city where we grew up but it wasn’t enough to get to the big platforms.

Despite these difficulties, I continued to push my music 24/7 through the DJ nights and shows I use to play in Palermo. Thank God in 2017 my manager, Mr. Kenneth decided to take me, my music and Myzic Empire to another level. The same year 2017 I released my first single recorded in a professional studio with a music video which revived everything. The single was titled ‘Higher’.

In 2018, I launched an EP titled ‘’Genesis’’. With that EP, the whole Team Myzic Empire and myself went on tour in Ghana for some works and radio tour. In Ghana we managed to connect to some artists and people in the industry where we did some jobs and many other things. In 2019 on our return to Italy, though, we stopped releasing due to studies and some other things, I always continued to work hard for my music and on many other projects that soon the world will witness.

In 2020, I released some freestyles whiles planning on releasing my new projects, all of a sudden Coronavirus shut the world down. The pandemic got me paused, but at the same time got me work harder on many other projects at home. During the pandemic, I was at home with a Ghanaian producer called, Almighty Streetbeatz whom was in my city at that time we worked and created a lot of good music for the world.
This is a little about me and Myzic Empire.

9 years is a long time to be doing music. Any experiences or advice you’d like to share?
Absolutely, yes 9 years is a long time, but as I said in my previous answer the main reason was because, I did not have enough support at that time and I think everything has it’s time and God was still preparing me for the world. My little advice to all my fellow young artist is, do look down on yourself, give you your talent a chance to work though you, be humble and respectful.

Is there any other artist in the diaspora you’re keen on working with soon apart from Kelyvn Boy?

Yes, I would like to collaborate with all the possible artists with whom I can. I’m opened and ready to work with any artist so we can explore the Afro music in Italy, Europe and the globe.

How receptive have Italians been of your music and Afrobeat in general? Enlighten us.

Doing Afro songs in Italy was very difficult back then. The majority of the population of Italians was ignorant about our culture, the rhythm of the Afro songs sounded very wired to their hearing because of the language barrier. Now thank God things are changing, new things are being learnt and the Italians are ready to accept the Afro music in so many ways, that’s why my team and I thought of strategizing the ways of productions by mixing multiple tongues to also make it favorable for everyone to understand my communications with them through my music.

I can gladly say I’m welcomed everywhere I go in Italy especially in my city (Palermo) where this adventure of mine started. The new generation have accepted and embrace Afro music, thanks to our hard work now you can hear Afro music playing in Italian clubs, parties, restaurants, bars, shopping malls etc. I’m so grateful for this day.

We doubt learning Italian was a walk in the park, especially coming from an Anglophone and Asante background. Gist us.

Hehehe :). Oh, frankly speaking, Italian language one of the most beautiful, sexiest and jovial languages I’ve ever known on earth, though it’s difficult to learn, I love and I’m very proud of myself that I can speak, read and write this language. The importance is knowing how to eat and dress Italian will bring your back from the park into an Italian classroom, hahahahahahaa.

Now, the moment everyone’s been waiting for. Mind free styling in Italian for us?

Sputo fuoco come un drago Sono cercato come un ladro Non mi prendi fossi mato Nella moto vado vrom
Con gli amici vroom vroom

Sono il nero siciliano
Suona strano, molto strano Sono il nero siciliano (huh)

Ho visto la morte lo visto sul ponte
Mi ha reso forte c’è scritto sulla fronte

Divina commedia e stato come Dante Non parlo tanto tu sai chi hai di fronte

Haha. That’s a mouthful. Any big plans before 2021 ends? What moves are you making and how can fans keep tabs you?

Yes, I have many projects in progress. I am working on some projects which will be released soon. This one with Kelvyn Boy is one of the first but after that we will fly with lots of other works. Though I still have a long way to go, this does not disempower me because my mind is made up to do good music and my new projects are something new in Italy, Africa and it will be new in the whole universe soon so I invite all my fans and everyone to supporter and fasten their belts, we are about to start.

Listen to Shadowboy Myzic’s new single ‘Better’ featuring Kelvyn Boy here: https://afrisounds.lnk.to/ShadowBetter and watch the video below.

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INTERVIEW: Dove Nicol opens up on her adventure so far, debut single and more

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Dove Nicol, a new and probably the most exciting artist to grace the Ghanaian music scene is confident in winning fans over with her debut single ‘Calm Down’. She’s dedicated to becoming one of Ghana’s most streamed artists and with a voice as authentic as hers, the songbird is all set.

Dove Nicol’s rise from Sierra Leone to Ghana is a unique adventure worthwhile and in this exclusive interview, we take time to explore her very lively character as she updates us on the adventure so far and her debut single, among other gists.

 

Hello Dove and welcome. It’s great to have you around. Like every music fan out there, I’m quite curious. Who is Dove Nicol? Blow our mind.

Dove Nicol is a creative, a pioneer who believes in the power of the African sound, music, culture, heritage and its influence in the world stage. I believe Africa is on the rise and we are living in the era of the African creative industries global domination and worldwide takeover and as a creative blessed by God with the talent of music, I am merely just playing my own part in the fulfillment of this reality.

You’re finally out with your debut single ‘Calm Down’, mind sharing the story behind it?

‘Calm Down’ is a song about love and relationships. The idea behind it places focus on the internal struggles we go through as lovers. It places focus on two sides of a spectrum. On the one hand, you hear the willingness of both partners wanting to love each other and be loved. And on the other, the anxiety and uneasiness that comes with the feelings of mistrust and insecurities that they have both experienced from past relationships which overshadows their ability to fully love and fall in love with each other. The chorus then comes in to serve as a stress reliever telling both parties to calm down, just be at peace and fall into love with each other. The song generally gives a soothing peaceful feeling to the ear.

It seems you were destined to have a career in music growing up. How is it going and what has your greatest challenge since taking it head on been?

Yes, I do believe I was meant for music and it has been the source of my livelihood since I was a child. If I’m been honest, I have received several challenges along the way to getting here. The biggest challenge I believe is getting others to believe in your dreams as much as you do. I can see the vision of where I want to go and who I can become but because I do not have the resources or avenue to get people to see that possibility, it’s hard and sometimes almost impossible to get others to believe in that dream too.

Alot of people only want to be a part of your success, when you have achieved it but are not willing to help you get there. The journey can really be a great struggle for a lot of aspiring artists who have the talent for it but no external backing to let their voices be heard. For me, I was only able to defeat this challenge through perseverance, the Grace of God and my belief in myself to continue going-on no matter the odds.

Are there any Ghanaian artists you admire and hope to work with sometime soon?

There are a lot of Ghanaian artists out there that have really helped shape the future of Ghanaian music and their relentlessness and tireless efforts have paved the way for emerging artists like me to go after our goals. People like Efya, Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Kofi Antwi, Bibie Brew, Wiyalaa, Kwesi Arthur, King Promise and many many more talented souls I will definitely see myself working with during the course of my journey in the industry.

Beyond the world of music, where else does your passion lie?

Beyond music I have always aspired to become a philanthropist and a humanitarian. I want to create charitable organizations and help children that are less privileged to achieve a better future. Africa has the largest youth population and majority of them are multi-talented in areas they themselves are not even aware of. If only we had more institutions that can cater to the needs of less privileged children and our youths growing up, our economy will flourish immensely.

What is a day in your life is like?

A day in the life of Dove is typical – wakeup, pray, shower, eat and eat a lot, do my daily routines, some reading, attend to any business calls or meetings I may have during the course of the day and make time to speak with family before the end of the day. Oh, and go to the gym at least 4 times a week to keep fit.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover in 2021. What are your plans? Should fans expect more?

Yes, definitely. Expect a lot from Dove in 2021 but expect a lot more from Dove in 2022. I want my supporters to know that I’m ready and prepared. ‘Calm Down’ was just the ice breaker. I have a ton of creative content ready to flood the market. It’s just a matter of timing. But in due time they shall receive all that I have to offer and will get to know more and more about me as my story unfolds.

I can’t wait to meet the world and for the world to meet Dove. It’s going to be a productive year definitely.

 

Dove Nicol’s ‘Calm Down’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here: https://lnk.to/dovenicol-calmdown/

 

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