“This EP Is Set To Mark The Beginning of Bigger And Better Things For Me, and That’s on Gang!” : A Conversation With Kwame Yesu
Kwame Yesu, with his alter ego Astro Nyame (born Raymond Kyere), is a recording/performing artist from Ghana. He is best known for his hit single “Anadwo,” featuring Black Sheriff and Kimilist, which received massive local success.
Specializing in hip-hop, trap, and afro beats, Kwame expresses himself through his art. Since 2017, he has been consistently working on and pushing his craft. Last month, Kwame Yesu released a six-track EP, featuring the pre-released hits “Adwuma” and “Libation.”
The EP has been steadily gaining attention, and it’s a step forward for more exciting things to come from the young artist. Coming off this new project, Brian Benjamin catches up with him to talk about hip-hop, his musical journey, the new project, and other topics Kwame’s fans are interested in.
iMullar: It is great to be having this conversation with you. To set the ball rolling, who is Kwame Yesu?
Kwame Yesu: Kwame Yesu is a go-getter, Kwame Yesu is fearless, and Kwame Yesu is a hip-hop/afrobeat recording and performing artist from the motherland, ready to take Ghanaian music worldwide.
iMullar: How will you describe your 2023 so far?
Kwame Yesu: 2023 has been a good year so far. I have dropped two singles, Adwuma and Libation, which have received great reception. I got signed to a label (Mimlife Records), dropped an EP ‘THE LAST SUPPER’ a month ago, and just put together my first show, LAST SUPPER WITH YESU, which we plan to make an annual event to celebrate the hip-hop culture. In my opinion, it’s been a blissful year.
iMullar: We find ourselves in an era where Hiphop has been described as declining. What is your assessment of the current state of Hiphop?
Kwame Yesu: Music as we know it is dynamic, especially in the era of the internet, where trends and waves are things we experience with each passing day. Hip-hop as we know, has been a staple in music, and with the influx of subgenres that keep emerging, it’s evident that it’s going through a phase right now, but on a global scale, some of the biggest artists are rappers, and each time they drop, the world stops. I believe, with the likes of myself keeping the culture going, hip-hop will remain a staple even though it might be going through a phase right now.
iMullar: One of the things that happened to you this year was getting signed to Mimlife Records. How does it feel to be on a label, and why Mimlife specifically?
Kwame Yesu: Being on a label has been an interesting experience, by far. Since I’ve been indie for so long, I’m used to being very hands-on with everything. I’m trying to get used to delegating some of the work and focusing more on creating. Having a structure and backbone to support my ideas and vision is something I appreciate. Mimlife Records has been like a family to me. I have been an affiliate since I started working with their very own Kimilist, and the relationship has always been organic and never forced. When the option of deals was available, the idea of joining the Mimlife team was a no-brainer because I think they understand my direction, and by joining forces, they can help bring my vision to life.
iMullar: You have been described as someone who is intentional about their image. Can you run us through a typical creative routine for Kwame Yesu?
Kwame Yesu: First, I want to give a big shoutout to my team, who work tirelessly brainstorming to put together mood boards and looks that tie in with the brand we are trying to push out. A lot of work has gone into the creative direction/imagery of Kwame Yesu. There are days we bump heads on ideas, and there are days we end up having a lot of great ideas for a project and are faced with the dilemma of choosing the best. Working odd hours to get what we want is not easy either. Luckily, I have a team whose vision aligns with mine, and we always end up with a direction that will help further our goal.
iMullar: Is there going to be a time we will see Kwame Yesu switch from music to other aspects of the arts?
Kwame Yesu: I used to dabble with modeling before music stole me away. The fashion industry is another space I’m interested in pursuing. I still design merchandise and stuff for myself and others, but it’s been slow for a while now. I am currently learning and building on my craft in the background and working to get better resources and knowledge needed to produce the best stuff. I believe fashion and music go hand in hand, so seeing me venturing into the fashion industry isn’t far-fetched, it’s something you can look out for. We are just working to build the foundation now for the moment in the future where it will all align.
iMullar: What will you say are the three biggest moments of your career so far?
Kwame Yesu: I would say the three biggest moments in my career are;
1. When my mom sent a video of herself jamming to my songs.
2. Being nominated at the 2022 edition of the Ghana Music Awards UK.
3. Getting signed to the Mimlife Record Label.
iMullar: You have two solo projects to your name. Can you tell us what went into the making of your new EP “The Last Supper”?
Kwame Yesu: The making of “The Last Supper” was an interesting ride—the ups and downs, the people who contributed to the making, and the experiences that inspired the songs. One fun fact about the EP is that the project we have out now is the second variation of it. We initially worked on a whole set of songs with a different direction for the EP, but unfortunately, we lost all the project files and my entire unreleased music files, so we went back to the drawing board to restructure.
The idea for THE LAST SUPPER came into play from a conversation with Moorsound. The team and I concluded a new direction for the project, and new songs were recorded. The title of the EP is a clever wordplay on my name (Kwame Yesu), where “Yesu” means Christ, and just like the Last Supper in Christian tradition marked the beginning of something greater, this EP is set to mark the beginning of bigger and better things for me, and that’s on gang!
Creating this project was fun though, working with different producers moving from studio to studio and creating great music that weaves together to form the amazing body of work I can share with the fans and the world as a whole. I can easily say this is my favorite project by far. I have a mini-documentary out that sheds light on the creation of the EP. Everyone should go check it out.
iMullar: What will you say has been the reception for the project so far? Can you also run us through the process of selecting the people you featured and why those people?
Kwame Yesu: The reception has been great since its release. Getting great reviews from critics and mentors and hearing your peers speak highly of your work is a good feeling. The numbers keep growing as well, and I’m thankful for that.
The selection of features is mostly based on the sound and theme I’m going for on a song; mostly after picking beats, my manager and I run through them to figure out ideas for the song and the approach. Once we have that part figured out, I’m able to hear the song and who will sound good on it. I believe I have great music ears, and I’m able to curate amazing songs and record shows. The boy is lowkey an A&R, you know, haha.
iMullar: You had a concert for your project and congratulations! How was the experience at the concert, and will you advise young acts to also take the bold step of putting together concerts? Because I understand it’s not easy to put together a concert.
Kwame Yesu: Thank you! The concert was great. It was an amazing night, with such a great turnout and some of my peers and musician friends passing through to support me. Getting to finally perform the new songs of the EP, some for the first time, and getting to see people’s reactions while singing some of the songs word for word was wild to me. Hahaha, in those moments, you forget all the stress and effort it took to put such events together, which makes the process very much worth it.
I would advise young people to take the step to put together shows and build a community rather than always wait for someone to bill you on theirs. Though I would have to say it’s not an easy feat to put together a show, I think collaborating with fellow acts with whom you share a similar vision to put together one will ease the burden that each person can play a role and bring something to the table.
iMullar: What is next for Kwame Yesu? What should fans expect from you?
Kwame Yesu: For now, the focus is still on the EP. I’ll urge all my fans to keep feasting on the tape and take their time to digest each song and each verse, as they were carefully made for enjoyment. We also have some visuals planned to drop soon, so they can be on the lookout for that.
And just like always, we are back in the lab working to put out more amazing music so they can expect some great music with some interesting features on the way.
iMullar: It has been a great time having this conversation with you. Any last words to your fans?
Kwame Yesu: I want to say a big thank you to anyone who takes off time in their day to press play on my music, the fans who pull up to every show front row singing their hearts out, and all those who have been supporting from afar. Kwame Yesu appreciates you all. If, for some reason, you’ve never heard a Kwame Yesu song, this is a sign from above to go press play on the new EP. 2023 has been amazing, and we look forward to a bigger and better year ahead. Thank you for having me as well.
Stream His Latest Project, “The Last Supper” Here.
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.