“Since day one Kumasi has always been that place,” Kwaku DMC explained on the rooftop of GHOne TV Studios in Accra. He was doing a press circuit to promote his sixth full length project, ROAD TO THE JUNGLE, where we found a moment to chat in between TV appearances and radio interviews. “If you want to have real life entertainment it’s Kumasi,” he continued looking confidently over the Accra skyline. “It’s easier for the young cats out there to find their voices when it comes to music because Kumasi is fun.” Over the last few years Kumasi aka Kumerica has been the hotspot for a new Asakaa drill movement that has everyone talking. With over 10 years in the game, Kwaku DMC is sitting at its helm, raking in the laurels and attention as the world, and the local scene, look towards a bright future. “I encourage the world to come and see Ghana,” Kwaku says with a smile.
Kwaku DMC (the DMC stands for “Da Music Child”) has always seen himself as a standout. Back in the day when he was just starting out, around 2008, he says, “When I listened to other rapper’s verses and I listened to my verses I’ve written down, I felt like they were soft. I said back then that I can do this because at the end of the day practice makes a man perfect.” Much practice and studio time proved to be worth the effort. Kwaku has adapted the practice of improving himself each day. “Anytime I look at myself inside the mirror I try to be more perfect than the guy I’m seeing today. That’s how I get motivated,” he explains with his usual nonchalance. The results speak for themselves. Moving from a series of Trap House mixtapes to the Jungle, each new notch on Kwaku’s belt is a little more refined, a touch more produced and lands with more recognition.
Speaking of the shift from the Trap House to the Jungle, Kwaku notes, “we’re switching from the trap house right now. The world is getting tough. It’s getting wild. And over a year, this whole place has turned into a jungle.” He continues, “I’m the only gorilla here and, you know, most rappers are GOATS. And to me, a goat is a soft animal. When you come to the jungle, you have to be wild. Either you are a tiger, a lion or something like that. You have to be hard. So I think all of these goats can’t survive when I’m here. King Kong. I’m the only gorilla out here. Gorillas over goats!” It’s a tongue in cheek stab at the catchy acronyme (Greatest Of All Time) that goes hand-in-hand with Kwaku’s clever lyricism.
“My lyrics are about myself,” he explains. “80% is about the situations I’ve been through in life. Whatever situation I’m going through, I put it into music. I think I’m the most quotable rapper in Ghana.” Rapping in a mix of Twi and English, Kwaku DMC is able to touch the public broadly. In conversation around Accra and Kumasi, Kwaku’s name consistently came up as a premiere lyricist and a rapper that has a way of capturing the voice of the people. For those who don’t speak Twi, his flow and cadence is enough for hip-hop heads around the world to bump to, making for a deadly combination in his burgeoning space.
When asked why he does it, Kwaku DMC reflects back to his childhood. He spoke about his grandfather who hosted talent competitions, plays and concerts and held the auditions for the shows out of his house. There, Kwaku DMC with his cousins would be judges and jury of the talent, laughing if something is funny, vibing if the performance was worthy. Perhaps this is where the long held confidence stems from. His grandfather issuing casual confidence into his familial circle while integrating them into the world of art and performance. “I’ve been a part of it ever since growing up, because I’ve been watching these people in my own house,” he says. Now, as Kwaku DMC rolls around with his entourage, a videographer, manager, friends and the like, he has built his own commission of longtime bonds that resembles a musical family on the move, ready to take over the country’s rap game. “Music is something for my home.” he says with a grin. “It’s home.”
Da Music Child left with a dap and an invitation. “When you come to Kumasi, look for me, Kwaku DMC. I would show you around, I’m the gorilla, you guys are safe.” Next he was off for another radio appearance, continuing his press tour and making the most of his ongoing hype. “We’re here to take Ghanaian music worldwide” he concludes on his way out. “As we’re already doing, but to take it to the next level.” With Kwaku DMC and his team set to the mission, the world’s eyes and ears are waiting for the Kumasi rapper’s prophecy to come to fruition.
Listen to ROAD TO THE JUNGLE out now.