Ghana’s Indie Rap Crusader – ‘Bryan The Mensah’.

Ghana’s Indie Rap Crusader – ‘Bryan The Mensah’.

It’s no news anymore, the creative scene across Africa reaches new heights every day, we’re all documenting and involved in the globalization of the continent. Ghana is one of the countries leading the charge, and this year was probably the biggest highlight of its new spectrum of young Ghanaians, Kwesi Arthur, Maayaa, The entire La Meme gang collective, ArtsoulKojo, to name a few demonstrating this by breaking boundaries in Art and Music. As other scenes like Tech, Fashion, Culture, Media also take new forms.

This evolution of Ghana’s scene was put on stage at this year’s ChaleWote, a one-week long art show that brings all the diversity of Ghana in one place, showed with the help of numerous images shared through social media we got to share in this new chapter of the country. The spectacle was brought together in the photo essay by popular Nigerian photographer Stephen Tayo for Vogue.

In what seems like an outburst of so much range coming from Ghana’s consciously aware generation Z. Bryan The Mensah has been charting an origin story worthy of dreams, on his crusade to make sure his name written in the history of Ghana’s new age.

Bryan grew up listening to bands like Westlife, Coldplay, One Republic, finding his interest for rap music through his Uncle, a radio presenter who introduced him to artists like Busta Rhymes, Jay Z, Fat Joe, Twista, Obrafuor, Chamillionaire and others. He then started listening more to hip-hop artists like Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, J Cole, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and others springing up along the lines of rap and alternative music. This helped shape his songwriting and craft.

He got his stage name ‘Bryan The Mensah’ from an idea of being the third born child of his parents after out-growing several names, his current stage name is a mash-up of his first name ‘Bryan‘ and surname ‘Mensah’ which coincidentally means the third born in Akan. He recalls performing on smaller stages during his high school days which gave him the courage to take his rap career seriously. A decision that’s been a positive move for both him and his audience.

In the last two years, Bryan has released two projects, the most recent ‘Wildlife EP‘ doing 140k streams in two months across collective streaming platforms, a personal record for the indie rapper. He’s also been featured on top projects, and performed at major shows in Ghana, leading to his music being highlighted by Apple Music’s curation team. Reaching such levels of success at only 22 can be attributed to his talent as an incredible wordsmith with an ear for interesting sounds, and a creative/innovative music model common to indie stars like Chance The Rapper, Odunsi The Engine, Noname who all use social media and the freedom of the internet/streaming platforms to boycott the nuisances of signing to a label.

The Accra native aims to inspire people to become more prolific in achieving what they want with their lives. He believes everyone always has the potential to be a better version of themselves at every point in time. We caught up with the rising star via email as we spoke about the importance of hip-hop, his new project, first headline show, and his favorite quote.

How important is hip-hop as a music genre to young Africans like yourself?

Byran The Mensah: Hip-hop is important to me because it is one of the only globally recognized genres that serves as a platform where both producers and artists can have a lot of room to express themselves creatively. Most of the other genres already have a sound or a structure to how music in that genre is made but hip-hop is extremely malleable and flexible. You can do a lot with it.

Your music defined by you would be?

Byran The Mensah: Contemporary music.

Much of your success has been driven independently with your in-house team, why have you followed this indie route and do you plan to stay indie?

Byran The Mensah: The plan is to stay creative and innovative. I don’t think I mind whether it’s being done by myself or my team or it’s being supported by a label. At the end of the day, it just has to be done.

Your last two projects have seen you transition from SoundCloud rapper to appearing on premiering your songs on top streaming platforms, being featured on mainstream albums. What’s that experience and journey been for you, how it has it affected your artistry?

Byran The Mensah: It just makes me feel more inspired to do more in terms of growing as a creative person, marketing, understanding the business side of things and working on more collaborations because now it’s evident that it’s very possible.

Your latest project is doing quite well, talk us through it.

Byran The Mensah: Wildlife is my second EP and it’s basically a journey through several phases that I went through between last year and an early part of 2018 including personal frustrations relating to pursuing my music career and all the stresses and depression that it came with, personal relationships and my religious life.

I Bost minds for a living and talk facts to the children

Ghana’s hip-hop scene has a very rich and unique history, being a new generation entry yourself, what’s the special spark that makes it so luminous?

I think the special recipe to our sound is our general happiness and humor as a people and our blatant honesty when it comes to issues that concern us. As a people, we always find a way to bring joy to our lives even during the worst moments. It’s just very impressive how well our artists and producers are able to express that in the music.

A lot of curation goes into your craft, from your art, sound, marketing, all distributed strategically through social media. As an indie artist navigating the Ghanaian music landscape, how paramount are these hacks in Africa’s new age?

I think the Internet has come to make a lot of things easier and faster to achieve. I’d only say this: there’s a lot of knowledge our there for artists who want to have control over their own brand and still be able to have a very successful run. We just need to be curious enough and willing to learn.

There’s been a slow rise of indie collectives doing things on their own, Are African labels missing the point in nurturing talent?

I’m not sure how well or poorly individual labels may be performing but I can tell that artists are getting smarter by the day and figuring out how to do a lot of the necessary things by themselves so if labels want to be more relevant in this new age they’d have to find more innovative ways to make their offers more convincing.

Ghana’s creative scene is exploding right now along with other countries in Africa, what stands out in Ghana’s young creative/innovative scene?

I think we’ve eventually realized that we can do it too. We’ve come to learn more and we’re more informed about what we’re doing so we end up making smarter moves that bring us better results all on our own.

What’s the message behind your sound, can your music to inspire a generation?

My message simply strives to be better cause it’s possible. I don’t think this will change any time soon.

Congrats on your first headlining show, what can we expect?

We’re actually planning on making this first show a very memorable experience for everyone attending from the environment to the venue to stage performances so definitely, people should expect something unique, enjoyable and something worth their night.

Yofavoriteite quote?

‘I Bost minds for a living and talk facts to the children’

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Voices Of Music: Nigerian singer Efe Oraka releases her most important single yet, ‘Nigerian Dream’

Next Story

Ayanfee Seeks To Tell Truths Through Her Distortion-Fused Aesthetic

Latest from Music & Playlists