Image courtesy of the artist.

Yaw Tog.

Interview: Yaw Tog Eyes the Pinnacle With His Debut EP 'TIME'

The confident Ghana drill rapper makes a statement with his debut project.

Yaw Tog is a gem. Going from a local emerging talent to a nationwide superstar in the space of a few months, Thorsten Owusu Gyimah is undoubtedly one of the next Ghanaian rappers to grab the game by its horns.

Yaw Tog is the most prominent face of Ghana's drill scene, a buzzing rap movement that emerged towards the tail end of 2020 to become the most talked about topic in Ghanaian music. "Asakaa" as it's called, is the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born sub-genre of rap, and its roots are in Kumasi, a city in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, fondly referred to as "Kumerica" by its patrons.

Yaw Tog's single "Sore" was the first song from the Kumerica crop to hit the limelight in a major way, making it one of the benchmark songs of Ghana's drill scene. Dropped in September 2020, the song exploded onto the scene, triggering the exposure of the entire genre and its rappers to Ghana and the rest of the world. A short while later "Sore" secured a power-packed remix featuring UK rapper Stormzy and Ground Up star Kwesi Arthur, doubling down on the popularity of the already massive joint. It's currently sitting at close to 2.9 million views on YouTube, but it hit a million views within the first three days of its release, the first music video by a Ghanaian artist to do so.

From topping Apple Music charts, to landing a feature on Billboard Italy, to several other accolades, Yaw Tog is cementing his position as superstar on the rise day by day. But despite all the heights being hit and achievements being claimed, none of it is a surprise to Yaw Tog. He is extremely sure of himself, confident that it's his hard work that has brought him this far.

We sat down with Yaw Tog, and he spoke to us about his debut EP, his recent achievements, and what he plans on doing next.

Yaw Tog, Stormzy & Kwesi Arthur - Sore (Remix) (Official Video)

So you're about to drop your debut EP. What can you tell us about the project?

Well it's my first project called TIME. And the reason why I named it TIME is because it's my time right now, and I'm proving that to the people, you feel me? And I'm exposing the new me to the people. People think I only rap, but I do sing too. So I'm using this project to like expose the new me to the people, to the world like "okay, Yaw Tog raps, Yaw Tog sings too," you see that vibe. That's the main reason why I did this project, basically to tell the people all about me and who I am.

How long have you been working on the EP?

I finished the EP sometime last year. So it's about two months I spent working on the EP.

Who are the producers you worked with on the project?

I worked with KhendiBeatz, he worked on the "Sore" remix. I also worked with Juiczx, DG Productions, Doosis, and ChrisRich on the project.

Image courtesy of the artist.

The remix of "Sore" was the first song by a Ghanaian musician to hit a million views on YouTube in just three days. How do you feel about that achievement? Did you expect the song to do that well?

I was expecting that. Because Stormzy was on it, Kwesi was also on it. And I know how Stormzy's numbers are, I also know how Kwesi's numbers are. So I was really expecting it. Though when it happened I was really really happy, because what I was expecting happened exactly how I planned it, you feel me? I was very excited, happy, I didn't even know what to do when I saw the numbers. I was going crazy for real.

What's your favorite song on the EP?

My favorite song on the EP is "Gold Friends," I did it for my friends who have supported me from day one. So the song means a lot to me.

There's a song on the EP called "Fake Ex". Is there a story there we should know about?

[Laughs] That song, I did it for my friend, you feel me? The situation happened, and I was around. So I was like okay let me do a story on this issue that happened. So I did it for my friend, it's not me. I put myself in someone else's shoes.

After the EP what's next?

After the EP there will be more bangers coming out. Just support the movement and keep calm. There's so much in the pipeline.

How do you feel when you get nominated for awards, like your "Hip-Hop Song of the Year" nomination at the 3Music Awards?

I'm very happy. Because bro, I believe my hard work has brought all these things to me. I'm very proud of myself and I'm still working more to go to the next level. I'm working hard to get to more heights, to get to the pinnacle.

News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.

Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.

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