Spek Won is a multi-talented Canada-based rapper and entrepreneur of Ghanaian origins, who says he is ready to show the world the true meaning of hiplife. And with the creative and amazingly beautiful video for his track, 'Hiplife', he may well be on his way to achieving that. [watch video]
Born Benjamin Nii Kpani Addy in the city of Toronto, he started writing lyrics as early as age 10 but started performing professionally at about the age of 19. His music which is influenced by a multiplicity of genres is often inspirational and real. He has completed work on his mix album, 'Preemo Donna' and is ready for launching on-line and on CD late November.
Spek Won is also a member and founder of a group of young talented Africans, mainly Ghanaians in Toronto, called Z-BOIZ (Zongo Boiz). The coalition consists of musicians, fashion designers, dancers, producers etc.
I caught up with the budding musician to find out more about his music, inspirations and aspirations.
Ameyaw Debrah: What kind of music do you do?
I make good music. I don't like confining my music to just one genre, but if I had to, I'd say Hip Hop. My music is about reality, love, revolution, and my life in general.
Ameyaw Debrah: Who are some of the musicians that influence your music?
In the early 80's I had older cousins that would play mixed hip hop cassette tapes of guys like A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang, Nas, B.I.G, Snoop Doggy Dogg, etc, and vinyl records of guys like Kool Moe Dee, Rob Base, Krs One, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick etc. That was my introduction to hip hop music. Also my father would play a lot of Motown music like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Jackson 5 as well. Those have to be some of the main influences on my music.
Ameyaw Debrah: How would you describe your upcoming album?
It has 10 solid tracks where I take you into my world and give you the Spek Won perspective on what Hip Hop music has been missing for a while now. I've also got a Bonus Track on there called “Hip Life” that I shot a music video for. The video and song narrate the life style of most of us young African entrepreneurs living here in Toronto. It will be available in Ghana early 2010. Ghana should have my music bumping before the Black Stars get it popping on the soccer field.
Ameyaw Debrah: As someone born and living in Toronto, what influenced the track 'Hiplife'?
What I'm doing with this “Hip Life” single is I'm introducing hip life music to all those on this side of the world that don't know about it. Hip life is known as a style of music, I'm taking it to that next level by letting the world know that it's a lifestyle, a mind state, more than just music. If you were to come down to Toronto and witness the way the African youth here vibe out, you'll see that we've created our own slang, or own fashion and our own trends by mixing our African heritage with the North American way of life. Last year I performed at a show with Reggie Rockstone 'The Godfather' and I asked him if he had any advice for me. He said… “There is Reggie Rockstone, and there is Spek Won. Just show the world hip life from your perspective”. I took in what he said and that's where the inspiration for the single came from.
Ameyaw Debrah: What is your impression of Ghanaian music from Canada?
Ghanaian music is big out here in Canada. When I was growing up in here in Toronto the Ghanaian population here was quite small, but now the Ghanaian community here is huge, and it's managed to fuse both Ghanaian culture and music with western culture. We love hip life and high life over here, and we appreciate the music that all of the artists there are making.
Ameyaw Debrah: Are you in touch with Ghana, and when was the last time you visited Ghana?
Yeah I stay in touch with my family back home in Ghana. I was there about 2 years ago for the African Cup of Nations, and I'll be there next year for world cup. I say Black Stars are taking it this year.
Ameyaw Debrah: What are you currently working on?
Currently I'm working toward the release of my mix tape album “Preemo Donna”, so I'm quite busy with shows, and travelling here and there. Besides that I've been doing a lot of writing, and producing for my next solo effort. The album is going to be called “MG&R”. I'll reveal what that stands for when the release date is closer. That album is due to drop in summer 2010, and I plan on bringing that whole movement to Ghana.
Ameyaw Debrah: What do you hope to achieve with your music?
My music has to teach and inspire otherwise there is really no point. I'm here to educate, uplift and mobilize the people, and make you dance to it at the same time. Music is a very powerful tool to be used wisely, and I'm doing just that. I want to promote my music in Ghana, big time! I've got a few connects, but wouldn't mind having a few more. The industry out there is much different than it is here, so my team is taking time to figure out how to maneuver with promotion over there.
Ameyaw Debrah: How do you think Ghanaians would receive your music?
I think they'll love it. I've been to a few clubs out there in Ghana, and I've listened to the radio. Ghana is ready for Spek Won 100%.
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