On the 14th of April 2017, Abena Rockstar released two EP’s –MAFIA and Only Few Can Relate – at once. MAFIA happens to be Abena’s abbreviation for her expression: Making All Fears Inside Abort; and is arguably the one out of the two tapes whose title better encapsulates Abena’s motivations for taking the leap and finally putting out whole bodies of work – “I’ve learnt art in itself is not perfect so there’s nothing like a perfect art and unlike before I’m now ready to go all out with my music and works.” In this yoyo tinz dialogue with Moshood, Abena Rockstar speaks about her artistry, the MAFIA EP, and one or two other things.
Could you start by giving a very brief history of Abena Rockstar?
I started music professionally in 2011. Been working since. I was on the (D black’s yes boss tour) in 2013; and played a couple of shows (all in Tema) I was also on the Vienna city anniversary show at Sunyani with Cabum, Tinny, Jupiter, Trig etc.
Tell us about the “Rockstar” in your name.
I took (Rockstar) from ‘Rock’ and ‘Star’….I’m a realistic person and I know nothing good comes easy. I have always known that my musical journey is not going to be all rosy, and in order for me to succeed I need to have a mindset as solid as the rock, to persevere, to be resilient that’s the only way I can become the ‘STAR’ that I know I am.
You are reported to have said that you’ve been wanting to release a project for a long time but have “kept drawing back because you felt they weren’t good enough to be put out.” I’m curious as to the factor(s) that made you decide to finally put something out.
I’ve learnt art in itself is not perfect so there’s nothing like a perfect art and unlike before I’m now ready to go all out with my music and works. I’m emotionally and psychologically ready for what comes with putting yourself out there.
One of the things that i liked about your mixtape about your tape is that you didn’t even for once present yourself as a/the/that female rapper (who is typically here to battle with other female rappers.) It’s something i’ve observed which i think is a needless and restraining trope. Was it a conscious decision on your part, avoiding that?
Like you said, it’s needless and I also don’t believe art has a gender. But avoiding that wasn’t conscious.
About a year or so ago, KEYZUZ declined a nomination for a “Best Female DJ” award. One of the reasons stated for her decision was that “women who DJ are not a novelty.” She then offered that she would love to be acknowledged based on her skill and not her gender. In light of that and of the fact that i’ve seen more than one outlet refer to you as a female emcee (femcee), i would like to know what your thoughts are on the essentialisation (if you will) of women in this regard. Do you think it is useful in anyway? Or do you, like KEYZUZ, think it’s problematic?
Well, I think everybody has to be awarded based on their actual work, skill or talent and not because they’re a male or female. Personally I don’t care if you limit me to just being a female emcee, most important thing to me is I don’t limit my own self as being just a female rapper but a rapper.
You mentioned in an interview that you read a lot. Do you have particular favourites with regards to authors or literary works? Please share.
I read everything, even the daily graphic. Maya Angelou is my fav author though.
Who are some of the artistes whose names aren’t necessarily out there that you’d suggest for people to pay attention to?
Rap music is not …….
…..to hear, it is to feel,.
Photo Credit: Idris Solomon