Abladzo Kwame is a rapper who also dabbles in graphic designing, modelling and acting. His obsession with telling his stories has both been implied and explicitly stated in his songs. Another things that can also be inferred from listening to the rappers’ oeuvre -even though that too has been explicitly stated – is that these stories are, invariably, not sweet. In this yoyo tinz conversation with Moshood and Nene, Abladzo Kwame – who is currently building his own team, CHANIYE ROYALS, tells us about storytelling and his preoccupation with telling (his) stories. We also get to know the very interesting circumstances surrounding the rapper’s birth, and what projects he has coming in the (near) future.
So your name, Abladzo Kwame. Abladzo means plantain in Ewe; so it could be quite interesting when one who know this hears your name for the first time. Could you tell us the idea behind that name?
So, my real name is Frank Klu, but Abladzo Kwame is a name I chose due to the circumstances surrounding my birth.
And by that you mean?
Well, I was born in a plantain plantation when my mother was on the way to the hospital. I couldn’t wait for her to get to the hospital for me to make my entrance into this beautiful world. So I stopped her right in the middle of a plantain farm on a lovely Saturday, and that’s where I was born. Also, I love vegetation, I love greens and herbs. They’re everything to me. So that’s where the spirit comes from.
Could you briefly share your personal reflections on the art of storytelling?
As an artist the art of storytelling is a very important part of my music. My music is a tool to share my personal experiences with the world. The art of storytelling therefore helps me share my life experiences using words and rhymes as the brush to paint stories and experiences exactly how I see it or feel.
What is the number one reason for telling your story?
Music became an integral part of my life when I realized I cannot trust or rely on man in any way. Music is the only thing I feel happy doing right now. I want my story to be heard everywhere I go and the fact that I have relatable stories, all class of music lovers enjoy listening to my music and it feels good when people get motivated by your craft in the positive way. What is life without inspiring and showing love and care to the people around you? I consider story telling as a medium of passing stories from one generation to the other and also if you listen to Our Typical traditional music you will realize it’s the epitome of storytelling.
“23 yrs old, I share the same room with my mother// so my girlfriend shall never fit sleep over// Those are lines from one of your songs. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
I grew up in the Adenta SSNIT Flats. I lived in a 2 bedroom flat with my mum and my siblings. I shared a room with my siblings. So under such conditions, how could my girlfriend ever come for a sleep over? It’s just the plain reality. Ask any flat boy and he’ll tell you about that struggle.
Interesting. Adenta has a rich Hip Hop tradition and a lot of influence in the current state of Hip Hop in Ghana. A lot of producers and musicians, local and international have had a thing to do with Adenta, one way or the other. Do you think that has influenced you?
Well, Hip Hop is a really big thing in Adenta and it has definitely influenced me. JaySo has really been an influence. I used to jam a lot to JaySo and also listened to him on Dr. Carl’s show. And today, I’ve been interviewed on Dr. Carl’s show. That’s a major achievement for me.
Music as therapy. Music as an outlet. Music as passion. Music as business.- which one/combination of these situations ring(s) most true in Abladzo Kwame’s case?
My music most times talks about physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.I wrote most of my songs when am down or turned up or even attracted to certain situations. As we all know musician impact on our emotional state. Music actually gave me the courage to go after my dream and my momma’s prayer for me every day is that my feet don’t fail me chasing this big dreams. I don’t just put words together, I make sure my story is heard the way I want it to be heard and my music is relatable so when you are driving in ya whip and you playing my music you will relate that’s why we don’t always talk about pain cos there are good and bad things. I won’t be painting a different picture whiles in real life am not living that life so I kept it real and always talk about the actual things that we go through in our daily lives but people who have the chance won’t talk about, I feel itI write and I make sure I do it well. As far as you are doing something well with all your heart you will surely get paid from it and the moment you start making some money from your struggle that’s where the business aspect comes in but I wouldn’t say the main purpose of making music is money I have love for what I do that’s why I can spend my last on music I guess the same reason why my ex left.
The central theme in your music seems to be about your woes, and how people are generally unsupportive (of you). Could you talk about this, please? And also whether sharing your pain through music has any cathartic effect on you at all.
Yes sharing my pain through music has had a tremendous purification and purgation of emotions especially pity and fear. Back in my city Adenta, am known for music and riding in the hood gives me a different level of excitement. Most people that grew up in Adenta relates to this line in my song #Balotelli “23 Yrs Old I Share the same room with my mother, So my girlfriend shall never ever sleep over. Yes how can you keep your girlfriend under the same roof with ya parents? Anyone that has listened to my music for the first time always want to listen to the next song I am releasing because of my kind of music and from today the my versatility will speak for me so the world will testify when am gone. Some people actually want you to make it in life so they pray and help you work things out but as soon as you start doing great most of the same people who wanted you to rise tend to envy your success especially when it turned out better than they expect. I am not competing with anyone because my style is unpredictable and I am unique. I know people who walk to me and say many things that I wouldn’t say here and I know they are mostly listeners of my music so when I speak my mind in my music they get the message. Sharing my pain in my music is one tool that makes other people who are facing challenges in life relate to my music. I am happy that my music has inspired a lot of people and am putting my city on the map any day.
If you weren’t a rapper and you were still doing something in hip hop, what would that be, and why?
It will be Spoken Word or production because I have some ideas which sometimes I feel like no one can actually create them but if I should sit myself and put all those ideas together it always comes out differently and I am not saying other people don’t or cannot do what I do but its my story and I can tell it better than anyone else.
Any future projects that we should look forward to?
I have tapes and an EP coming out. This Ewe Boy 3 will be out soon, as well as my new EP, Sacrifice.
Complete this: Rap music is not…..
Complete without Abladzo Kwame. Am the future for Adenta . So If our music industry is an institution and I am the Freshman that walks in and has the crazy swag and showing and proving it right now, then you must get used to me now cos am here and I will soon be Running your City as well.
Photos by: Fullish Art.