Kojo Cue releases free album in June
KOJO CUE is set to release a free album, This Earth, My Brother (TEMB) next month (June). The first single Pay Day featuring Pappy Kojo is already enjoying excellent response. The rapper, who’s stature within the hip hop/hip life scene has been growing steadily after getting signed to BBnZ.
His first mixtape-The Shinning– received great reviews among music critics. He has since gone ahead to work with heavyweights as Sarkodie, EL, M3nsa.
Kojo Cue has won himself respect among his peers (rappers) for his lyrical dexterity, wordplay and ability to hold his own among the more established rappers.
Ahead of the release of his free album TEMB, I got Kojo Cue talking about the album, his first mixtape under BBnZ, state of hip hop in Ghana and his overall growth as an artiste.
‘‘The Shining is more Late Registration, as in it is more of my personal stories, trials and triumphs. TEMB is more like College Dropout as it just talks about broad topics without them necessarily being personal”
You went ‘low key’ after The Shining Mixtape. Was it deliberate?
KOJO CUE: Yes it was. I felt like I’d given what I wanted to give on The Shining and I had to lay low and regroup for the next stage of my journey.
Did The Shining meet your expectation per how it was received?
KC: Exceeded it in fact. Did way more than I imagined it will do. I must admit, I was a bit nervous because I had been working on it for so long. I feared that the window for it to be seen as the work of art it is had passed. But I am super glad for all the love it received and still receives.
You’ve been with BBnZ for a year. How has your joining BBnZ impacted your growth as a rapper?
KC: They have helped me overall as an artiste more than as a rapper-how to become the complete product. I just wanted to make music before them and now I look at myself as more than an artiste but a money making brand as well.
The title of your soon to be released album- This Earth, My Brother is interesting. What inspired that title? And your expectations for the album are?
KC: A Prof. Kofi Awoonor poem of the same name inspired it. That and the fact that a lot has happened to me personally, to DJ Juls and to the rest of the world that made us realize just how crazy the world is. So the title is just us shaking our heads at life in general and all the unpredictable things it throws at us.
TEMB album cover
Why a free album?
KC: Because it’s hard enough to get people to download albums so selling it is next to impossible. Even though we’ve been working on improving the distribution system so we can get back to selling albums again, we just felt we had to give this one out for free because it’s something people need to hear and it will be painful if breaking even for us got in the way of that.
Is the album entirely produced by DJ Juls? How was the creative process like, knowing you are here and he, in the UK?
KC: The internet makes everything possible now. So the project is the result of a thousand WhatsApp messages, Wetransfer uploads, calls and Skype calls. Communication is key. We made sure we were open with each other and put egos aside to get the best out of each other.
Which other artistes are on TEMB (This Earth My Brother)?
KC: I can’t tell you the full list at the moment but of course there is Pappy Kojo. Wanlov is also on there as you will see on the second single. Let the rest surprise the world.
What will you identify as the difference between The Shining and TEMB?
KC: The Shining is more Late Registration, as in it is more of my personal stories, trials and triumphs. TEMB is more like College Dropout as it just talks about broad topics without them necessarily being personal. And of course, the sound is different too. More minimalist as is often seen with Juls beats.
What would you say was the challenge in putting together this album?
KC: Staying inspired. I just move from zone to zone and that threatened to affect the overall sound of the album. Sometimes I wanted dark beats then when my mood switches I will head in the opposite direction.
How does CUE honestly feel about the state of hip hop in Ghana?
KC: Makes me happy honestly. When I look at our industry in 10 years all I see are hip-hop and highlife artistes. Real rappers. The fact that E.L and Sark are two of the biggest acts in the country alone is a testament to the growth of hip-hop.
What factors influence your decisions to feature on projects (Yours and others)?
KC: Others – I have to like the song, simple (or owe you a favour). Mine – the person has to be the perfect fit for the theme and mood of the song. Never a popularity thing with me. In fact, I’ve tried to stay away from riding on the shoulders of others my whole career. But I have come to realize why that is necessary too.
Who would you love to take on in a freestyle battle?
KC: Daddy Lumba. So I can let him win and add that to his list of triumphs. You know he is the smoothest.
Listen to the Pay Day, first single off TEMB
Interview by @swayekidd