Interview

Interview: J.Derobie Makes His Mark With 'Nungua Diaries'

We talk to the buzzing Ghanaian dancehall singer about his debut EP Nungua Diaries and telling the story of his

Many of us know about J.Derobie remarkable come up story in the Ghana music scene. In January 2019, what was just a mobile phone video clip entry into Mr Eazi's emPawa 100 contest by an unknown artist became the talk of social media, earning him a slot in the shortlist of selected artists, his first hit, and a subsequent artist development deal.

Ghana is a thriving ground for dancehall music and its musicians. Samini, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, MzVee, Jupitar, Epixode, all represent the Gold Coast's interpretation of the vibrant international sound. However, there is room for more stars, and many saw the potential of this young kid who turned a short video snippet into a nationwide hit.

J.Derobie, a young dancehall singer from Nungua, a suburb in Accra, is not man of many words—but he is focused and knows exactly what he wants. He doesn't feel any pressure to match up to the grandeur of his beginning days, and he believes in the quality of his music. Paying homage to his hood while at the same time issuing bops, Nungua Diaries is J.Derobie's mission statement. His first project launches him out into the deep waters of the music game, and there's no doubt within him that he will smoothly sail the seven seas.

OkayAfrica sat down with J.Derobie to talk about his debut EP Nungua Diaries, how it was made, and what comes next for him.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

Watch J.Derobie's New Boxing Video For 'Back It'

Video Premiere: The buzzing Ghanaian act and emPawa artist comes through with a new music video for "Back It."

Ghana's J.Derobie turned heads last year when he arrived in a big way with his hit single "Poverty." The track, released through Mr Eazi's emPawa, was one of. our top picks for the Best Ghanaian Songs of 2019.

J.Derobie is now returning with the brand new music video for his latest Uche B-produced dancehall banger, "Back It," which we're premiering here today.

The new Accra-shot music video, directed by Babs Direction, follows J.Derobie to a boxing gym and ring as he trains to become a champion, while also splicing in scenes of the Ghanaian artist as a military leader.

"The idea was to create a song to show resiliency, to show courage, to show that you are not weak, and you can handle challenges that come your way," J.Derobie tells OkayAfrica. "To prove that yeah, you are a man."

"The boxing concept came from the director. The song sounds so hard, so he was picturing something like boxing. In boxing, you are not afraid of your opponent, and it's all about winning. We shot at a boxing gym in Accra, Jamestown. It's a real gym, and those pictures are legends from back in the day like Azumah Nelson and Joshua Clottey," he continues.

"When you see me in the [military] uniform, that is like I am a president addressing the nation, a leader. Every leader shows courage, every leader is not afraid of challenges, every leader is not afraid to go into whatever situation, and face the challenges for their people," J.Derobie explains.

Watch the striking new music video for "Back It" below.

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