In an Okayafrica exclusive interview, Well$ talks his latest mixtape 'MTSYD: The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher,' out now on Immaculate Taste.
We first caught word of Congolese/American rapper Well$ via his cousin, self-dubbed "cultural bastard" Alec Lomami. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the 19-year-old emcee is making his own name on our radar, most recently with his latest mixtape MTSYD: The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher, which arrived yesterday and you can download here. We caught up with Well$ ahead of the release to talk growing up in Charlotte, linking up with artists in Cape Town, the story behind his grandma's debut music video cameo and more. Listen to MTSYD in full below and scroll on for the full Q&A.
Okayafrica: Firstly, how did your family wind up in North Carolina?
Well$: My dad came to The States back in 87' I believe to go to College at UNCG. He got involved in politics, speaking out against Mobutu and ended up seeking asylum.
OKA: What was your experience growing up in Charlotte?
Well$: Life in Charlotte was cool. I had a regular childhood full of fun memories. Being from the West$ide of the city life was tough but I didn't realized it til I was much older. But Charlotte is a growing city so you can always find shit to get into. It's a southern city with lots of up north swag so it kinda helped me play both side of the fence. You can see that in my music. You hear southern and northern influences in my sound... I'ma young southern lyricist.
OKA: Who are the kids at the beginning of "Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher"? What are the most absurd things you can remember kids in school saying about the continent?
Well$: That's a sample Alec dug up. I felt like it embodied the lyrics of the song. The typical shit - "You African Booty scratcher," "Do you see wild animals?" "Do y'all wear clothes" etc... but yooo I'm no passive victim. I dished out a few dissed of my own, haha!
OKA: How did your grandma end up getting involved in the "Savoir Faire" video? What was your relationship like growing up?
Well$: Me and my manager Michael Zayiir (aka Father Mike) jokingly thought it would be dope to have her in the video. Then my big bro Shak Oteka who directed the video threw the J's on her haha. My grandma is the homie. I learned a lot of my Congolese culture her. So don't talk shit to me in Kitetela cause i'll whoop yo ass.
OKA: How was Alec involved in the new mixtape? Do you guys have any projects in the works together?
Well$: Alec has been a great help to this project being that he executive produced it. Once I was done recording I put the tape in his hands to do his Diddy shit.
Yeah we got a side project coming out sooner that you think with Immaculate Taste's in-house producer Lucho. So look out for THE BL∆CK HE∆RTS CLUB. I'm also on his next EP... but I'm not allowed to talk about it quite just yet.
OKA: Any African artists you're listening to these days? Are there any collabs we should look out for or artists on the continent you'd like to link up with?
Well$: Does Nipsey Hussle and Earl count? There's this South African rapper/producer I met while I was out there named Gifted. Yall remember that name!!! Bars for bars one of the best spitters in SA you haven't heard ( better than that AKA nigga haha). I actually did a couple songs with him. And I fuck with Petite Noir. I also met him in Cape Town. I definitely wanna work with him. Yo Yannick Holla at a player!
MTSYD: The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher is out now on Immaculate Taste. Head here for a free download.