The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.
The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.
Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.
Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.
Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.
We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Where does your name come from?
So Kofi Jamar is like a blend. It's an Indian name, but it also relates to Egypt. In India it means "happy and healthy," and in Egypt it means "God giveth.." I picked it up from a role model that I used to follow back in the day. He's called Capital Zeez. He was a rapper, and his rap was more revolutionary, more metaphysical, and I related to his concept. So I picked that name, that's like his real name. So that's where I got the inspiration for the name from.
What gets you out of bed?
Getting a new vibe. I'm always about the vibe, trying to get a new vibe and see what the day has for me. I'm really optimistic about every day. So trying to find a new vibe, new music to listen to, new videos to watch, new songs to write, new motivation, new ideas.
Describe Ghana in one word.
What genre would you prescribe to your music?
Well actually I don't like being boxed into one genre. Cause most of my inspiration came from hip-hop, but I'm an afrobeats artist by nature. If you give me an afrobeats song, I can just sing on it without even needing to learn or rehearse. So I don't like being boxed in. I do afrobeats, I do hip-hop, I do any kind of music. I try to bend the genres. Because I feel I'm meant to create a new genre by the end of my term as a musician. So I just play around until I create something new out of it. But for now I'm just being a commercial musician and trying to do everything that would get me out there.
Kofi Jamar ft. Fameye, Quamina MP & Tulenkey - Meye Gee (Official Music Video) youtu.be
So tell us about Appetite for Destruction. Is there anything you're trying to say with the project, or is it just vibes, like music to enjoy?
There is music to enjoy. But earlier this year and throughout late last year I really popped off, during the "Ekorso" time. New people that got to know about me associated me with the drill kind of feel. And after that I released a drill song again, so people have linked me with that kind of music. But I'm trying to set the standard, trying to set myself apart from the whole drill movement and let people know who I really am, apart from me doing drill music and me fitting in with the hip-hop community. Apart from that I'm just trying to make music, the kind of music that would get you questioning who this guy really is. So I felt like this was the perfect time for me to release this EP, to show my versatility and the range that I could go with music.
What's your favorite song on the EP?
I would say the song featuring Teni, "Surrender." Its vibe is different. Although it's an afrobeats song, it's different from the afrobeats that you would hear on a daily. It's real different, and even Teni really loves that song. And that says a lot for me.
Tell us about working with Teni.
Well we were supposed to work earlier, two years ago when she first came to Ghana. But because of some occurrences we couldn't work around that time. So I made that song earlier last year and I sent it to her, and she absolutely loved it so she hopped on it. But we weren't in the same studio. So she did her verse separately and I did mine separately. But we were talking, we were going back and forth on how the song should be and how we're going about it.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
What's your long term vision for your career?
To be a pioneer of a new genre first of all, and also be hugely invested in afrobeats. Because I feel afrobeats is getting a lot of exposure also, so I hope to come out with a new brand of afrobeats that will also keep the legacy alive.
This new brand of afrobeats, is there anything like that on this EP?
It dabbles in that. This project is like trying to climb outside the box, but still in it in a way. It's not like me fully going alternative, but you feel that alternative vibe in the whole commercial mix that I've tried to do.
Where does the title of the EP come from?
People were hooked on something different. People liked the drill and what is going on with it now. So I feel like I'm destroying their appetite for what they already think they have in mind, or their consciousness. Because most people think I'm gonna drop an EP full of drill songs and all that. So in a way Appetite for Destruction is like a triple entendre. And also it's on the perception people have about me already. It's like I'm destroying that perception, and coming out with a new one.