A little over a month ago, Worlasi released his debut mixtape-Nus3– to critical acclaim. Prior to this release, the young man’s ‘claim to fame’ was his single ‘Ay3 adze’; a song that can be rightly declared as an anthem for the ‘rebel-creative’ in these parts. It promised so much from Worlasi- a promise that can be said to have been honourably fulfilled with the release of Nus3-which has seen the Supreme Right artiste’s fan base grow, and has led to his art being much more appreciated. Adjectives such as ‘refreshing’, ‘promising’, ‘gifted’, ‘special,’ & ‘essential’ can be used to aptly describe Worlasi, but then it can only be imagined what the future holds for this young man. For now though, his primary focus is building the inner strength of his people. In a Whatsapp interview with Moshood, Worlasi talks about this obsession, his craft and what goes into it, beatmakers that he admires and a bunch of other interesting stuff.
You’re signed to Supreme Rights label. Can you start by telling us a little bit about the family and the relationship you guys share?
Supreme Rights is family; like an extended family of mine. We’re that close. The main reason why we say Supreme Rights is that we believe that everyone has the supreme right to do what they want to and have to do, what they feel need to be done in the society in which they find themselves. That’s the meaning of Supreme Rights. So if i want to do this type of music or you want to write in a certain way, or you want to invent something, that’s your supreme rights because you were born to do something new, not to always follow the trend. If it were to be so, what would we learn? Becuase if people didn’t do new things, what new thing would be there to learn than the same old things. That’s why we say supreme rights all the time.
Your song W’aye Adze could be said to be the unofficial anthem for creatives in this side of the world: conventional parents who have their own preconceived ideas of what their children should, and should not be, and their own ideas of what success is. When you were writing the song, did you set out to only tell your story, or to also send out some vim to people out there who haapen to be in the same situation? What has been the most remarkable experience you’ve had with that song?
Aaye adze was for creatives. I wrote it in the context of someone doing something their parents don’t approve of. But that’s not the main idea. With me, my parents are okay with what i do. They actually push me. People think i’m telling them not to listen to their parents but that’s not the case. I wrote Aaye Adze out of an experience i had with someone who told me that the kind of music i’m making would not help me because it wasn’t going to go anywhere. So in writing and singing it, i felt like i was doing what i do because i loved doing it. But i wrote it in that simple context because of our society; we don’t like, or we don’t really understand really complicated stuff- so if i wrote it according to the exact feeling i was feeling, it was going to be someway bi. That’s why i wrote in that context of being and artiste and blah blah blah, but then, it’s all true, except for the fact that my parents actually want me to do this. But still in doing it, i feel like i’m letting them down. So first of all, it’s because i didn’t like and i felt really bad about what the person told me (that i can’t go anywhere with my type of music,) and then i also feel like i’m letting them down even though they’ve allowed to me to what i’m doing. A remarkable experience with the song would be being on stage and watching people sing along to it.
Emotions (and expressing them) are something you talk about a lot. How does that work for you: a young man in a scene and in a society that would rather men bottle up some kinds of emotions and not express them?
If i’m feeling sad, i can’t call someone and release my sadness on the person. I think and write then channel it through the music. So any song i write, it’s out of something i’ve experienced. The emotion could be sad, happy, amazed, amused etc. In “Hey” for instance, the emotion was anger so my tone in the first verse was a little harsh and rough like “Hey, you got your space, i got my space” You see, they’re all expressions. The moment i get emotional, i just channel it through music or art.
Where does the ultimate inspiration come from: for your art, specifically, and your life in general?
The ultimate inspiratiion comes from me but sometimes i’m inspired by whats around me; what i hear and stuff like that- when i vibe with it, that is.
You talk about how enthusiastic you are about people realising their full potential. A colleague of yours also told about how concerned you are with people of African descent rising above their current perceived state of being inferior people. Most songs on Nus3 (Black Man, especially) confirm this, by exploring these themes. What inspires this preoccupation, and why are you so passionate about it?
I keep to myself a lot. I don’t like being in the midst of people especially when i don’t know them. I also think a lot. I don’t like seeing people feel bad or sad, i hate it. So that’s what inpires me to write about people being better and realising their potential. Maybe i don’t know what’s going on in the world but you meet some people and they’re so down-spirited waiting for their godfather, a priest, some family member, partner or a friend to tell them what they can do. It got to a time i met people who had a lot of potential and they were always telling me that they weren’t good enough. But i saw a lot in them. Sometimes it hurts me so much it annoys me and i think about what i can do about it, and that’s why i channel it through music. It’s really affecting us, and it’s not even just black people. I met one white guy who’s into something i’m interested in and i wanted him to do something for me and he said he couldn’t but i’d seen him do it. So it’s not just black people, but i’m in a black community, and we happen to do that a lot; allowing ourselves to be controlled by rivers and trees. It’s cool to worship them but you were born with brains so when they tell you to do something, you think about it first because you’re a human being, not a goat. Even goats, when they’re locked up, they try to open. But us, when we’re locked up and told to stay for we’ll be brought food, we stay in forever.
You’re an illustrator as well. Could you say anything about what you do with your illustrations, in relation to the art of graffiti?
For now i’ve not been able to express myself through illustration or painting; probably because i’m already doing that through my music. The painting takes a lot of time so i do that on contract basis, because man has to eat, too. So that’s my job. I illustrate and do portrait paintings of people. I hardly express myself through art: i do that every now and then but it’s been very long since i did that. Because i don’t get the time. I do get the time though, to do it for people who pay me to.
Tell us about the tape, and about producing 11 out of the 13 songs on it.
Nus3 took me a lot of time. I was doing my National Service in Cape Coast while i was working on it. So i had to come down to the studio in Accra every weekend to record. That was one of the hardships involved in it. I also spent most of my NSS money on the tape. It was stressful. With the beats too, i did over thirty songs so it took a lot of time and energy. It was hectic. I could sleep for like only three or four hours. It all made me skinnier too so i don’t think i’ll ever grow big until i stop making music.
Altogether, there are six voices on your tape: 3 female voices, and 3 male voices, which is such a refreshing balance. Did you (and your management) make a conscious effort at balancing sex representations on the tape?
I did not even know that there were three male and thre female voices. Besides, i did not choose the songs: i liked all of them and that made it hard to choose. My team made the selection so you could ask them but i doubt they were even aware of the balance.
Are there any beatmakers, beside yourself, that you admire?
I like Hammer of the last 2’s productions. His beats are dope. Ball J also has some heavy beats. And Red Eye as well. I don’t know plenty, but those are the few favourites that readily come to mind. But yeah Timabaland, my god, he’s dope. And Pharell too is dope as well.
Do you ever ponder on the lack of female voices in the Ghanaian rap scene? And what are your thoughts on that (the absence of women on the scene, that is.
Me, i like female rappers: Missy Elliot, Eve, Lil Kim, those rappers are dope . I recently found out about Rapsody- she’s also dope. So i feel their presence would help a lot. It’ll worry the male rappers but then if they’re very good it will help us too to be on our toes. I’m a rapper too so it’ll worry me small if they’re very dope but me too it’ll make me speed up. And the balance would be cool. All i’d say in addition is that; when at a point in their careers they want to start a trend, they should conscious of how whatever trend that is, going to influence the children. If its clothes, the exposure should be reduced bacause, the children watch and learn from them. They influence the children. So just do whatever you want to do but bare in mind the fact that it’s not just about you, but also about kids who’re being influenced by whatever it is that you’re doing.
If Ghana were a person and you had to say anything to them, what would it be?
That churches should pay taxes.Otherwise, Ghana should let them build at least 3 roads around where they are because they are everywhere. So if they build roads, we’ll have roads everywhere in Ghana. Secondly, Ghana should balance their culture. Its either it should balanced or it should be more than the Western culture. Ghana should have a stand on what she believes in. What they used to believe in, and who they are and know the difference between what they are and what they’re learning from people. That Ghana should be Ghana. Ghana was colonised by the British but i think they are more Americanised than them. So at times they confuse me. But i guess Ghana is on the right track and i thank Ghana for allowing me to grow up in their country and that there’s been no war. God bless Ghana for that and all the nice roads they’re doing now. But we need more. I don’t know why im talking about just roads. Anyway, there are other stuff but i just like roads. Ghana should find work for people. Ghana should try and balance the disciplines. Because its not everybody that can go to school so what of those whore not going? How are they going to survive? Ghana should try and find ways of making them part of the community. It has to be balanced. If the leaders are stealing money, cool. Because maybe me too if i get there, i might steal. I dont know what will happen but if they’re stealing they should make sure they’re building something so that there’s balance. You don’t steal the money and go and build in USA. They should build here in Ghana so that Ghanaians, especially the youth, will benefit from whatever it is that they build.
Rap music is not ………………………………………. .
Rap music is not just rap. its not just writing, rapping and saying it through the mic, no. Rap music is art; it takes energy- from what i know so far. I dont have a degree in rap, i don’t know much about it, I cant even mention 5 old school rappers. No, i can’t. But from what i’ve experienced, it’s not just writing and rapping. Its an art and a craft at the same time. It comes with soul. It’s not just making something. It’s like creating a human being and putting a soul in it so that it can live. That’s how come some rap songs can live till now and they’re still living. So rap music, it’s more that art, chale. Its soul.