By : Hephzie
I was introduced to Alex’s music early this year when ‘Buying Our Freedom’ project came out – a collaboration with Afro-soul singer, Eli. I was intrigued because his style of rap is a throwback to 90’s hip-hop, where every track sounds like a freestyle, and both songs I’ve heard from this project (God, Half-Co Flow) do exactly that. Throwing up images of back-to-front baseball caps, oversized FUBU tops and Rocawwear jeans, a boom box and a battle rap circle. So it’s a surprise when a long curly haired (sometimes in a man-bun) mixed race, lanky guy in a Kimono, doing mix of Tai Chi, Yoga, Martial Arts, flashes up on screen.
Alex tells me this song was inspired by J Cole, he says; “I was heading into town and the song “Back to the Topic” by J. Cole played on shuffle and I got inspired. This was back in April, I was having a hard month and I needed to vent. Half-Co flow was proving to myself that I have what it takes to lay down bars.”
For those who don’t know, I live in London and have done, moving back and forth, since I was 12, so the phrase ‘Half-Co’ irks me a little. Half-Co is pidgin for Half Caste, a derogatory term used in British colonies to describe people of mixed race or ethnicity as a racial category associated with the moral condemnation of ‘mixing’. So I was curious about how this will be received in the diaspora, and he said “I will be misunderstood. It was not until I went to London and used the word half caste that I realised it was a big deal. In Ghana, I’ve always been referred to as ‘half caste’, I never took it badly. I guess I didn’t know its origins.”
Enough of the history lesson, and to the video – The Half-Co Flow visual follows ‘God’ shot by Fotombo from the same project – OFF THE DOME, a tape on which Alex raps and produces. The video is shot in two locations in Accra, Nungua, both the beach and the Zimmerman Presbyterian Church. Shot, Directed, Produced, Edited, Styled, and Location scouted my Wanlov, the video starts with Alex stand on a rock, surrounded by water and in a salute pose, performing to the camera.
This is then followed by almost two minutes of a dreamlike sequence. The video was either shot over exposed or saturated in the edit to achieve this effect – it feels very ethereal and spiritual. Alex is glad I felt this, agreeing and saying “That’s how I always feel. There’s more to life than the physical.” From what I can see and hear, the video is inspired by the famous Bruce Lee quote, which you hear in the song ; ‘Be as water my friend.’ Explaining the location and the calm and freeing feeling you get from watching – although I feel like the video need to be a little longer, if even by 30secs.
As a relatively new artist, he has managed to make some very impressive collaborations, I have already mentioned Wanlov, Fotombo and Eli – he was also one of the producers on Black Girls Glow project. I mention this to him and he explains, “They happen organically. Along the journey to create we crossed paths and made art together. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with them. I respect their art and they inspire me. I’ve been always been a fan of Eli, he’s something else. I like Wanlov’s eye for cinematography, he’s been releasing dope videos so I reached out to him. Poetra’s work ethic is admirable. I’ve been sending her beats for a while and then she reached out for the Black Girls Glow project.”
However, Alex tells me he’s focused on his OFF THE DOME project – “each track of the project has visuals. The next video to be released is ’Man Dem’ featuring the boss of Elmima, Kwahme Flex aka Room Keys. It was shot in Takoradi. Also be on the lookout of my project ‘2018’. Dropping next year… It’s gonna be an audio-visual piece.”
In conclusion I love the video and the direction Alex is going with this project – collaborating with Fotombo and Wanlov is a clever step, and I can’t wait to see Man Dem. A 4 star from me!
Were you born and raised in Ghana?
No I was born in Maryland but I was raised in Accra for 12 years.
Do you practice Tai Chi or Yoga? If so why?
I am Tai Chi. I do small yoga. I hope to put my leg over my head one day.
What are your top three albums, books or films?
1. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – Panic! at the Disco
2. Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
3. Friday Night Lights – J. Cole
What would you do with a million cedis?
Blow 200k on my loved ones.. Use 800k to make 10m and plant more trees in Accra.
What keeps you awake at night?
What do you do to relax?
Call Mr. Pongo for a bag and enjoy volta’s finest.
What words or phrases do you most overuse?
Vim, vibes and visionary – I have a thing for V’s..
The best advice you have ever been given?
‘The only constant in life is change’ (my father)
What have you learnt from running “Clove clothing” that you’ve implemented into your music career?
It’s just about being passionate and organised. I learned to treat my music as a business which is pivotal. Your art should be able to sustain itself within the babylonian system.
If you could be reincarnated, who or what would you come back as?
A monk in tibet living of prana
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
My notebook that keeps tracks of my thoughts.
What’s your hidden talent?
Table football, I remain undefeated.. I will be going to Berlin soon to challenge some Germans