What inspired this EP?
Our hunger for authentic hiphop/rap music and our eagerness to show Cameroonians that there could be something way more than the regular everyday sound we have been getting for years. We also wanted to inspire other artistes who are scared of exploring English to start feeling comfortable and follow our steps.
Why did you guys decide to work together on this project?
Before this EME project, we have had a great working relationship lasting over three years. Blahk Santa has that hunger to be the perfect producer. He practices and works everyday. He doesn’t believe in “only pidgin and french” can work in our Cameroon rap scene. I also have that same language philosophy. I am also strong on putting out the best rap songs and albums anyone will ever hear from Cameroon. I think our same mind state brought us here. Santa had also been reaching out to other artistes to join hands on such a project but they as usual will cunningly reject. When he talked it out with me, I knew this was the kind of project we could work on.
What were some of the lows and highs during the making of this record?
We had to make beats, write and record each song on same day. It took five days. So even when we lost inspiration, we had to challenge ourselves to filling in the gaps. Writing and rapping a fast one like the track SWITCH UP wasn’t that easy too. Do we need to add ENEO and their usual power cuts? Hehehehe.
Will you guys be working together in the future?
Hell yea. This was the start. You might see us on another before 2017 fades out.
Do you think this record is different to what other hip hop artists are putting out?
Perfectly different. Who has confidently put out an English rap project in Cameroon and put so much energy behind it? No one. Our beats are international standards for whatsoever genre we used. Should i mention the lyrics and flow? They say do you. We just did us. Something different from the regular in terms of flow, language, beats and lyrics. Cover arts too were fire. Thanks to graphic designer Chuzi of Fantasy Arts.
What do you think about Rap and hip hop music in Cameroon
Good question. Every other section of music in Cameroon is ok but for rap and hiphop. Call a spade a spade. Most people sing something else and call it hiphop. I dont care how they take this. Most rappers here are doing something else and want them classified under hiphop. I applaud a few who still know what it’s all about like Mic Monsta and Pascal. They have dope EP’s too. Cameroon hiphop is hyper sectional. Those at the top. Those in the middle and those starting. At the top, trust me, almost all are bikutsi artistes. Hahahaha.
Who are some of the artists you would love to work with.
So many. Wanna work with Stanley Enow. I love his work ethic and his strive to raise a lot of up coming artistes. Ewube got that Jamaican vibe too. Working with Djs too like Mark Hartnel aka Dj Mister Mark. He’s a fire on turning records round.
Hakeem why did you call New Bell Music “The devil’s house”?
When I use the word evil or devil, it doesn’t necessarily mean witch practicing. I simply mean the way the young artistes there are treated is a call for concern. Fans of that house or whosoever, know only the music side. They don’t talk to people from there to know their story. As an OG i knew something wasn’t right. But i kept quiet because i am about my music. But once i saw the attack on Tilla and we spoke deep, i saw the look on her face. I knew there’s massive truth in what this girl is telling me. Couple of others spoke to me before. But i had to get some more. People don’t talk because they fear. I am not that guy. You cant be brainwashing kids and expecting everyone just to keep looking at you. They all changed when they left. All of them! Go and check. They can’t socialize. New Bell made them think its the world against new bell. They unfriend people, even close ones on social media once they get there. They don’t promote dope songs if it aint produced by the boss or if it aint his song. Smaller artistes have the ugliest videos. Dope tracks the fans yearn for a video will never be put put simply because pivot of power or attention may shift from the pioneers. They promote songs the artistes aren’t at peace with. Even when its done, they are on the smaller budget and planning side. Do i need to give examples? They don’t go out of that place for months etc. You cant treat people like that especially when you’re not financially assisting them. I call that a “devil’s handwork”. Pascal was broken and wanted to leave long before Tilla. Ask him. If he’s bold to face the truth, he will tell you his story. All that tweeting about “Pascal is now a boss and has fully grown” was some bullshit. The truth was the kid didn’t like that place no more. He almost stopped music entirely. Ask him. There’s more. Can’t talk too much though.
What you you guys think about the Jovi-Stanley beef?
Its hiphop. May the winner win.
Rate the Cameroon Urban music industry
Almost every song sounds the same. It’s more like the new trap USA. Reasons why the Drakes and Kendricks keep winning. Because even at the top, they strike a perfect balance and try to appease the crowed while still giving them intelligent music. Those in Cameroon doing Afro are doing great. Some though. As for hiphop, we need EME standards. So we give 35/100.
What do you think the industry lacks and needs to work on.
Lets invest in buying our own cameras and video equipment because the cost of videos is alarming and trust me an indie artiste in cameroon cant drop consistently with promo packages like the bigger labels will do. Some people control Trace too. So lets forget outer media and take on home based stations . Tgey have to stop crooked ways too. Taking money and playing videos only when they want. And lastly, let those up there stop destroying good music because theres “no french” in it.
A message for upcoming artists out there?
Cameroon shouldn’t be your only target audience. Also try to be patient and consistent. Look at the world at large. Not only Cameroon or even Africa. Do you. Do not try all the french or english or pidgin language or bikutsi or what have you “nonsense” if you arent gifted in that. Do it if you can. Be ready to do you. Do it regardless. Just like us, on EXCUSE MY ENGLISH.
It was nice talking to you
The pleasure is mine
Check out and download Hakeem and Blahk Santa’s new EP