The Ghanaian prospect has been blessed with legendary moments that have shaped his career over the last few years, making him one of the acts to watch out for. For Imullar, we had a conversation with him about life’s inspiration, learning from the best, the Ghanaian culture as a movement, and life as an independent artist.
You were born in Ghana, before moving out to The States where you were raised. Obviously, you had different cultures inspiring what you do. Which one in particular started it all for Naab as a musician?
Naab: It has got to black Culture, African-American culture, hip hop basically, it’s so addictive and it’s something I was new too. I discovered my favourite rapper back then, Nas. Changed everything for me, I was hooked from there, I literally rap because I am a Nas fan, that’s how deep it is for me.
What were some of the tapes that solidified that it was possible for you to do the rap thing?
Naab: I didn’t really hear a tape that pushed me, I just believed in myself enough to start this rap thing, at a point I felt like I could write, after drowning myself in many rap albums, from Cole to Kendrick, Black Stars, Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, you just happen to learn from these rappers through listening sessions because they are some of the greatest out there to do it. Like a double dutch, waiting to jump in, then you just do it, whether you trip or not, you just gotta dive in regardless. I started working, got myself enough money to buy equipment and it’s been go-mode from there.
Your first pilgrimage to Ghana in 2014 was a mind-revealing one, what was the experience like? And was there any specific encounter that cleared the path for you on which to walk on?
Naab: Ghana was a trip, it was crazy, I hadn’t seen my family in years, from friends to neighbors, I was anxious because I knew things were not the same but I was excited too, the sun was crazy lol, I got an uncle who took me around. The dynamics between Ghana and America, so different. In the states, it’s work sleep, work, that’s not community, its people on their own. The community here inspired me, people have fun and work here, go to the beach and all, Ghanaians have a good time and sometimes it’s needed. So because of the community I started to come up with a brand, I went through the Adinkra symbols, the return, from the diaspora. I was really focused on bridging the gap between Ghana and the diaspora with my music and took a trip to the Cape Coast, the castles. It was very inspirational and eye-opening. My family, people I don’t even know, showed love, and it’s why Home will always be home, The totality of how the community is over here is something I knew I needed in my life, I mean there’s tons of Ghanaians in the states, but the originality that comes with home’s community gave me a new perspective towards this path I walk on.
Your relationship with the Asakaa boys is a fruitful one, with features from them on your latest single, how far back do you guys go? What’s the backstory?
Naab: Bro, we go back, like a couple of years back, I got involved with them through a friend who dm’d me on instagram, asked if I make music, i’m like yeah, he linked me up and its been magic since, I knew they were the ones I wanted to work with, especially YG, bro he is special to Ghana’s scene, these guys are actually rapping, put aside the fact that they are ushering a new sound, originality, not compromising it. Initially it was business, but with time, it evolved into a creative space between us and that’s it. Those boys don’t play with their business and that’s something I admire. They are family, good people.
Diespora Records is an independent label with dreams of pushing the Afro-culture movement. How big is the challenge running an independent label and What made you build such a supportive environment?
Naab: Diespora Records is an independent label with dreams of pushing the African culture movement, it’s a big challenge running an independent label. Some of these challenges are that I do almost everything by myself, physically, typing everything by myself, organizing everything. You know at the end nobody pushes your own ideas like you. The goal is to expand and work with other brands, promote African culture, food, language, events in the continent, the focus is on us (Africa), trying to promote the sound but bringing the utility back in Ghana. The goal is to open a community for young hungry creatives who are ready to go. Another challenge is finances, I invest a lot, from websites to videography, photography, interacting with people, hosting events, networking, sorting features, learning from mistakes, moving forward, and getting recognized. That’s what it’s about here
You opened Black Sherif’s show in NY just last month, how inspiring was that?
Naab: That was crazy, the Blacko concert, I was just going on a trip to the Bahamas, before that, an associate reached out to me about it, said they are interested in bringing me on, normally I don’t take unpaid gigs but I love Blacko as an artiste, seen him perform in Ghana 3/4 times, puts on a hell of a show. He was my favorite too, so I decided to take it on, he’s also another frontman for promoting the culture. It showed me its possible to do what I’ve been doing all along, I’ve been talking about what I can do since I was thirteen, to see it come into fruition, someone from Konongo Zongo, fill up the venue in New York, so many people coming through the rain to watch him perform, it made me see everything was possible, you just need to put out quality concerts, or quality stuff and people will listen, people will be there for you. I enjoyed my time, the crowd was accompanying, and songs that were out months ago were on the lips of the crowd, so inspiring. It boosted me up with the urge to put myself in a similar atmosphere.
For an artiste from the new age, you’ve had the privilege of working with Legendary Ghanaian artists like Ofori Amponsah, Apya, Ipappi, Bisa Kdei and more, how much of a learning process was it for you being under the same roof with timeless artistes?
Naab: Working with legends in the game is inspiring and a blessing, be it recording songs or just talking as a form of learning, I’m super grateful for that, I show respect, let them know I am a fan, I enjoy working with people that I am a fan of, so it’s amazing, these are expects, the best at what they do, it comes with some difficulties, miscommunications and all, but that’s the music business, that’s business in general, you learn from it and apply in the future, so overall it’s a learning process that impacted my life and all, forever grateful and we move from there.
The iMullar is the voice of emerging African music and the lifestyle that surrounds it, showcasing exceptional talent from all around the globe focused on promoting the most distinctive new artists and original sounds, we are the authority on who is next.