Kofi Mole, a Ghanaian rapper hailing from Abuakwa outside of Kumasi has found a fresh lane for the city the whole world is watching. Knackaveli, Kofi’s second album, is a sweet blend of Slime Language inspired vocals in English and Twi, and a surprising mix of trap bounce and alternative rap productions. For a region that’s been championing the drill phenomenon, Kofi gives nod to the sound on “Monsters Dey Back” but finds a much freer and creative approach to the project as a whole. The eight tracks clocking in at a dense 22 minutes is a testament to Kofi’s versatility. Kofi is also making his production debut on the track “Mood” which is arguably one of the most exciting beats on Knackaveli. This skill has also attracted some high profile features, with tracks including Ghanaian rap star Joey B and hip-hop / hiplife legend Pappy Kojo who hops on Kofi’s own beat.
We sat down with Kofi Mole to talk about the city he grew up in, his inspirations, Knackeveli and what we can expect in the future.
Where’d you grow up?
Kumasi is the city and Abuakwa is the town, precisely. But Abuakwa, that’s my Homeland. We have other towns in Kumasi, so yeah, I’m representing Abuakwa. That’s where I was born.
What was it like growing up there?
So, everybody’s parents is a hustler. Yeah. Most of them are in that class that they have to go to market. And every other kid is talented. Either a rapper or footballer, like every other kid got something that he or she trying to pursue. You get me? We have ambitious kids in Abuakwa.
When did you first get into music?
I’ve been a fan of music and hip-hop since I was a child. Then at a point when I got to junior high school, I felt like I had to start putting some things down because I wanted to write my raps too and see how it was going to sound like. So I did a couple of writtens and then I spit it to my friends and we were just playing with it. It wasn’t anything serious. When I got to the university, that was when I wanted to do music as a full-time profession. So I had to drop out of the university and then pursue my music, get me? That was a tough decision though.
Who do you look up to musically?
I can mention Weezy, Lil Wayne. Currently I’m seriously into Young Thug, Lil Durk and Baby. I think I get most of my influence from Young Thug.
So a lot of American rappers?
Here in Ghana I grew up listening to Obrafour, Kwaw Kese, Buk Bak… We have a group in Ghana called Buk Bak. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them? They were controlling the whole Ghana music scene. So you have to check them out.
So I grew up listening to all these people and I think I picked inspirations from them and Captain Planet or Okomfo Kwadee, like a bunch of them. Then, everybody was my favorite. I was vibing to everybody and I used to dance too. So it was kind of banging. That was like the Ghana type of hip-hop back in the days.
What do you think about what’s happening today in Kumasi?
It’s crazy. A few years ago there used to be a few artists popping in Kumasi and now you can’t even figure out how it all happened. Shout out to everybody holding the Kumasi music down. It makes each and everyone feel motivated and it gives much motivation to the ones coming. The perception used to be that you have to be bringing in a crowd before you come and do music. Accra where all the plugs are but our brothers are in Kumasi and they are everywhere now.
Can you tell me about the name of your album, Knackaveli?
I like to use this word, “knack” which means to make something. And I’m a big fan of Tupac too. I take a lot of inspiration from him. And he’s Makaveli, you get me? The emphasis is on the “knack” though, like to do something, to leave an impact.
There are a lot of different types of sounds on the project. What genres are you referencing?
I’m not that type of guy. I don’t limit myself to a particular type of genre, I like to feel free anytime I’m making music. So whatever comes out comes out and most of them are not really planned. The beats can call for the vibes right here and the vibe will come. But yeah, I try as much as possible to be different all the time. Experimenting new things. I think that’s the main reason why I like varieties of sounds on this.
What producers do you work with on the album?
I work with Kayso and I work with Juiczx. Kayso did “Opoku”, and Juiczx did “Abuakwa” and “Hope”. I worked with Ebo & TEO, they are based in the UK, they did “Monsters Dey Back”. And BPM boss. That’s my guy. That’s my G, I mean, I’m sticking with him all time, he did “Work“. I did “Mood”. And one more producer on the album “Yepie” was MOG.
How did you select the features?
Most of the time, when I make songs, I can feel someone’s vibe on me. Me and Joey, we already did “Atwei”. It almost has the vibe of “Work” because it has that same swinging type of hip-hop. I did that song and I felt like, you know, Joey is the guy. So I just gave Joey a call and we linked up. I went to Joey’s side and we did it that night.
Edem is like my big bro, anytime he did for me. So if I’m like, “Edem, big bro, this is what I got for you!” he would pull up for me.
Pappy Kojo too. He was on “Mood” cause Pappy Kojo is the mood guy. He has a lot to say when it’s about mood. Yeah, Pappy Kojo is a G, anytime we link up he provides.
So what’s next? Music videos, touring, etc?
Yeah, that’s, that’s the stuff we’re planning on now. We are sharing. We’re planning on a tour. Definitely not just in Africa, in Europe too. Taking it outside. We’re definitely going to do that. We got two music videos down. I’m gonna keep this low key, but I have a couple. This year, I just want to be giving more music cause I think I paused for a while due to some personal reasons and I couldn’t drop my song last year. So this year I just wanna to drop so much more music and do so many shows. I have to link up people, my fans. I mean, basically, bro, I just, I just want to take the music out of Ghana this time.
Listen to Kofi Mole in our Pan African Rap playlist on Spotify and Deezer.