Music

BRYAN THE MENSAH On His Debut Album ‘Road to Hastafari’

The Ghanaian rapper narrates the journey of his career in a candid debut laced with personal stories.

BRYAN THE MENSAH is one of the new school acts from Ghana who’s been doing it for a minute. Ever since the arrival of his debut EP in 2017, he was quickly recognized as one of the rising acts in the Ghanaian music scene with a fresh and unique sound—a contemporary rap act but one who fluidly moves between rap, pop, alternative, and fusions of the three, and does so effortlessly.

From then until now he's released four projects in total, all EPs including his critically acclaimed debut Friends with the Sun. His most recentwas 2020’s Not Going Outside, which saw the rapper employ the coronavirus pandemic as its underlying theme. Now, the rapper has decided to level up with the release of his debut album Road to Hastafari.

Bryan actually announced as early as five years ago in that he would be releasing his debut project in 2021, and just before the year came to an end he made good on that promise with an earnest, spirited offering.

As far as full-length projects from contemporary Ghanaian artists come, Road to Hastafari is in a class of its own. Twelve tracks long, with features by M.anifest, buzzing Ghanaian newcomer Black Sherif, Nigerian rappers A-Q and PsychoYP, and rising singer Titi Owusu, RTH is not the conventional African sound. Here, the self-assured rapper with a precise, melodic flow makes it clear that he’s not like anyone else, and he’s not trying to be.

But the album isn’t built on just sonics alone. Road to Hastafari is an album full of personal stories from the rapper that speaks to his journey so far, from family to his love life, and even tales of disrespect that he’s encountered in the music industry. And who better to tell those stories than the rapper himself? We invited BRYAN THE MENSAH to speak to us about his debut album, and the stories behind its creation.

Check out our conversation below.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: BRYAN THE MENSAH On His New EP 'I Don't Feel Like Going Outside'

The rising Ghanaian artist is all about the money in his new EP.

In an afrobeats-dominated industry, BRYAN THE MENSAH is a gem that you need to pay attention to. The young Ghanaian act has been active as a solo artist since 2016 and delivered three projects, a string of singles, and a few videos. This time around however, he's issued a project that's a bit more intentional.

Being a rapper, singer, producer, sound engineer, and visual artist, BRYAN THE MENSAH wears many hats. Over time he has made himself known for his unique marketing strategies when it comes to his music, things such as offering merchandise bundles along with music to push sales, and visiting fans on university campuses to play new music for them personally. These things typically should be common practice, but in the Ghanaian music space, they aren't. That makes Bryan an anomaly, showing dedication and drive that goes beyond just creating and releasing music, but a special attention to how it's received as well as the business side of things.

Bryan has a signature rap-sung flow which is distinct to himself, and he bars no subject matter, even going in from time to time on matters of love and relationships. Arguably no young, budding artist in the Ghana music scene shows the kind of drive and ambition he does—that's judging not just from his music but also from his moves in real life. You can tell that this is an artist who has his sights set on very big things.

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