When Kojo Cue announced somewhere in the first half of 2015 that he was going to release a joint album with BBNZ label mate, Dj Juls, his fans were excited and expectant- a situation that can be partly (largely?) credited to the dopeness and the success of his mixtape, “The Shining.” With the album nowhere to be heard several months later, bubbles most definitely have been burst. Kojo has however released quite a number of singles in-between this period, perhaps in an attempt to make up for this. We’ve gathered though, that the album “This Earth, My Brother” is going to be released this year and in anticipation of that, we’re bringing you this dialogue Moshood of yoyo tinz had with the BBNZ rapper, in which they talk about books, knowledge & education, and of course, the upcoming “This Earth, My Brother.”
The title of your last project- The Shining- was taken from a Stephen King book. Now, you have This Earth, My Brother- another title from a book/ poem by the late Kofi Awoonor. Add to that some of your tweets on books and reading, and it’s safe to say that “Kojo Cue loves books.” Would it be a wrong thing to say? And how important do you think books are?
It wouldn’t be wrong at all. I love books and 80% of the things I know came from them. I believe history has a lot to teach and most these things were kept in books. Nowadays google allows you to access a lot of information at the click of a button but most of that information still came out of books. Plus I just enjoy reading and writing.
Ghana came last in a recent global Maths & Science education ranking and you tweeted that you weren’t surprised at that. What do you think is wrong with the country’s education system, and do you have any ideas as to what can be done to remedy these defects?
I may have to write a whole essay on that for you. I believe our system is wrong at the basic level and I personally don’t just blame the system, I blame parents too. I’ve always wondered why the teachers at the basic level are the people that couldn’t get into the university. Most people end up at teacher training college not by choice but because they couldn’t get into the university. That’s why I don’t understand the fact that we trust the education of our kids (the point when humans can be molded the most) in the hands of people who didn’t excel in the educational field themselves. Plus parents don’t encourage kids no more. They don’t help with homework. They’re too busy working but somehow they all want the kids to become lawyers or doctors or accountants even when they suck at math and have a gift for painting. Like I said, I can write a whole essay on it.
Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang not so long ago called for the use of local languages as the medium of teaching in our basic schools. People argued for and against her submission, citing various reasons. Where do you stand on that?
I’m in the middle as far as that. On the one hand, teaching in a local language can make it easier for the kids to understand but on the other hand, which local language are we gonna go with? Whichever one we choose will not benefit a lot of people as much as it will benefit others. Plus, we still have to deal with a lot of English or French speaking people and until we affect the global economy in a major way, we can let the world bend to our will like China did. Its simply not the right thing to do anytime soon.
Your thoughts on ‘home sense’ in relation to ‘school sense.’
That’s just a wisdom versus knowledge debate. Whilst wisdom is clearly greater than knowledge, it still cannot do much without knowledge. So home sense is a great thing to have but without school sense it can’t do much in this new world we have. Likewise, school sense is a good thing but is in the end meaningless without home sense.
Kofi Awoonor’s poem “This Earth, My Brother” is more or less a poem of lamentation. Also, in a recent interview with Swaye Kidd, you stated that “the fact that a lot has happened to [you] personally, to DJ Juls and to the
rest of the world that made [you] realize just how crazy the world is. So
the title is just [you] shaking [your] heads at life in general and all the
unpredictable things it throws at [you]” Would it be out of place if these were put together to describe this album as a lament? (What is the general vibe of the album?)
It would be because although the poem focuses just on the sad aspects of this world. The album looks at both sides. The title to me is so laden with meaning. When someone says “this world, my brother’ with a shake of the head, it can mean anything from the fact that he just lost everything he has, to the fact that he just won the lottery when he least expected it. The title makes sense to someone who has been betrayed by the people he trusted as much as it makes sense to someone who is now being worshipped by the people who shunned him. So the vibe of the album if anything is just reflective. Think of it this way; it feels like sitting on the veranda drinking alcohol and talking about your old school days with a bunch of your mates. In a convo like that, you’ll both discuss the good times and the bad times.
You’ve mentioned in interviews that the response to/ success of ‘The Shining’ exceeded your expectations. Do you foresee a repetition of this feat with ‘This Earth, My Brother’? What are your expectations for this tape? Are you nervous about this project? Or you’re rather on the optimistic side because of what you did with ‘The Shining.’?
I’m not nervous at all. Honestly, I’m more nervous when releasing singles than full projects because I am able to give all I want to give in full projects. If people accept what has been given, fine. If they don’t, fine. Because at the end of the day, my happiness comes from giving what I feel like giving, the rest is not really up to me. With singles, it’s a lot harder because you’re only giving a part of something that may not accurately describe the whole thing. Yet, people will still judge the whole thing off the part.
Which is your favourite element of Hip Hop besides rap?
Hard to choose between break-dancing and DJing.
Which is much more intense: your love for Bantama or your love for Daddy Lumba?
My love for Bantama. Because it really is a love-hate thing for me when it comes to Bantama and hate is a more intense emotion than love. I love Bantama because a lot of my great memories were formed there and a lot of the people I love are there but I also hate Bantama for what it does to people. A lot of the people I grew up around cannot escape the place and they mostly end up doing the same negative things. A wise man once told me you can’t do anything great if you live in Bantama all your life and I have to come to realize he was right.
Describe DJ Juls in two words.
“Rap music is not……………………”
“…. just entertainment. It’s a tool to educate and uplift our people. It’s a way we kept our history as well so may we all learn to use it wisely.”
Photo : @fullishart