‘The only fulfillment one can truly have in this world is in giving back to the world. I have been blessed with these gifts that I have to account for, and I wish to better society by sharing my talents through the messages and observations I relay.’ Those are words from Delasi the Soul God, that seem to be his guiding philosophy in life. His repertoire-from making inspiring documentaries and hosting writing workshops for kids, to making music that is relevant and to society, to fighting for the protection and preservation of the environment- further reaffirms this belief of his.
In an email interview with yoyo tinz’s Moshood, Delasi talks about his recently released “Thought Journey” album, and about his conscious effort at making his music more Afrocentric. He also shares his thoughts on Pan-Africanism and a host of other things.
You call yourself the “Soulgod”. Why that? And also, what, in
your opinion, does it take to consider any work of art as “soulful.”
I have had some nicknames in the past but the way this one came about was with the producers I worked with. They’d say: ‘Delasi you’ve got a lot of soul’ I’ve been told I add some of this ‘soul’ on any piece of music I do. What I think it may be is the mellow feel of the sound or the themes involved which may be deeper than your average mainstream songs or of stronger emotional content. The god part came about because I’ve always wanted to portray this Ewe voodoo god that needs to be worshiped. So one day you may see me hover on stage in some raffia and a horsetail fully possessed with soul. You only discover yourself in your quest to discover god. Who’s god?
You and Mc Kah of Kenya collaborated on a brilliant song titled “Accra
Nairobi” which exuded Pan-Africanism. Are you a pan-Africanist? What are
your views on the ideology/concept?
About that song we had a long discussion surrounding the issues you hear in the song today. So when we got into the studio, it just felt like a continuation of what we had already talked about. MC Kah and I are very passionate about Africa.
Some of the things we spoke about from classism to poverty and corruption among other themes we are directly or indirectly affected by and I saw some similarities in both our situations (Ghana and Kenya) I respect Ghana the land of my birth and pay allegiance to her heroes. Yes I believe in Nkrumah and what he stood for, I believe in African unity, the borders should be dissolved! If that makes me Pan-African, then cool.
(Unfortunately this song did not make it on the #ThoughtJourney album)
Who do you make music for?
I make music that I hope everyone can enjoy. But first of all I need to feel and enjoy what I’m doing before everyone else matters. I do not give a thought as to who may receive the music when I am making it. It’s in the spur of the moment as I put the thoughts down as they come. I just make the music and appreciate all the feedback I receive later.
You once mentioned your conscious effort at making your music more
Afrocentric. How important is that to you, and do you think more
Ghanaian/African rappers should also consider that?
I have been struggling with my Identity and finding myself and asking a lot of questions as to how the world around me works. I realized that I was able to communicate in English better than my own mother tongue and other languages from Ghana. I very much liked M3nsa’s ‘Fante Love Song’ and that inspired me to want to tell stories in my own tongue. Up until hearing that song, I had already recorded a song called ‘Searching’ which had some little Ewe lyrics in the chorus and would later feature Edem who has also been very supportive and encouraging and he’s doing very well with the Ewe and I applaud him on that. I started introducing Ewe in the lyrics and in my beats as well because Ewe is a very melodic language and our traditional sounds are vast and rich. I am proud to be from the Volta and want to share this heritage to the world. I definitely
will encourage other rappers on the globe to do the same (Kenyan MCs and producers will know me for preaching this) Music is universal and multicultural in many aspects and I believe adding elements in Ghanaian traditional music that are dying out because of neglect will help to maintain our history or to make us own the music. The world will spin with or without you so you need to find your place
You’ve been around the continent (and beyond) a bit; could you tell us what
the hip-hop scene here in Ghana could learn from the scene in Kenya and
anywhere else you’ve been?
Hip hop in Ghana is doing well at putting us on the map with the likes of Blitz the Ambassador, FOKN Bois and M.anifest. I believe there are many more acts from Ghana who can represent us and do a good job at it. Kenya and elsewhere have good music laws (or artists fight for better laws) and also have good distribution outlets via digital and physical shops for putting music out. There are also more platforms for performances and music festivals are popular to bring artists, industry professionals together to network and collaborate. Artists need to realize that music is a powerful tool that they can shape others’ destinies with. Once that understanding is there, it should reflect in artists’ actions, the brands they endorse, the lyrics and messages communicated.
Which MUSICIAN has had the most impact on your LIFE (not your art)?
I cannot give the credit to one musician alone. Some of my mentors are not even musicians. I learn from everything and everyone around me. I am a product and reflection of their thoughts, aspirations, fears and joys.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your travelling experiences?
Home is where you make it
Do you appreciate graffiti? Who is your favourite graffiti artiste?
I appreciate graffiti art, the colorful images make for beautiful backgrounds for music videos and you’ll notice that musicians like them a lot.
I am friends with about three graffiti artists, two Ghanaians and one non Ghanaian. Of all three, I have actually assisted one of them during work and had a first-hand experience on how he makes graffiti. In terms of Ghanaian graffiti, his work stands out. Kwabena Danso aka Jahwi is a multi-ability artist to watch out for.
Some have argued that advocating against skin bleaching equates to worrying
over a trifle, and that people who bleach their skins should be left alone
since them choosing to do it is their prerogative. What would you say to that?
That’s a tricky position to be in because one cannot be judgmental towards one’s choice of cosmetic but however I think it’s necessary to spread awareness on the effects of the choices that bleaching can do to the body. On ‘Pigment Matter’ I explore the relationships, frustrations and the unsatisfactoriness of the human. I compare Caucasians who tan to look darker and then Africans who bleach to look whiter and ask if they are not happy in their own skin? This narrative is also made possible because of my worldwide acquaintances and the tensions that I observe.
On Thought Journey. Why that name for your album?
I’ve held on to that name for years. I think I overthink. I am a pilgrimage; I have no permanent place of abode.My Thoughts like to linger on journeys to meet new souls new smiles new frowns new laughs. I get inspired that way capturing unconsciously sometimes events that took place in the writing.
Who are the artistes featured on the album and what are some of the factors
you consider before deciding to work with some of these artistes, and artistes
The artists on the album are, Peter Somuah, Yom Da Poet, Azizaa, Patty Masai,AbenaGyamfoah, Edem, Recognize Ali, Yaw Donkor, Shukid, Kevin Grands and Allinor.
I need to like your style of music and persona and what you have to say also matters in deciding. I can get along well with a certain artist and may not get along well with another and that will also determine if we can work together or not. The energies have to be right, leave that entire ego behind if you want to work with me and just be straightforward about things. I’ll respect you more that way.
What do you aspire to achieve with this album?
World domination hehehehe I want to be heard around the globe and I hope to impart society positively with the messages I will share with this project.
There has been a lot of collection of emotions, observations, thoughts, and hopes and dreams on this album. I hope people can relate to the experiences carved out. I want more feedback like: ‘Delasi, you were singing about my leaking roof and empty fridge in ‘Where Do We Go’! When my girlfriend chooses to argue with me concerning some lyrics in the song because its believable enough, then I’m satisfied I’ve been able to get a reaction.
Rap music is NOT……………………………………… living up to what its beginnings stood for. It has degenerated to materialism, misogyny and braggadocio. Artists with positive messages and alternative genres do not get equal opportunities on platforms to put their music out. New school rappers should research on the beginnings of the artform and bring that positivity
Click to delasi’s album here: http://delasi.bandcamp.com/album/thoughtjourney