Alwayne’s Fire -Q&A

If there’s one thing to be said about Ghana’s Alwayne, it’s that he is always grinding. “Always Alwayne,” if you will. It takes all but a few seconds into an interaction with Alwayne to understand right up front that the man is about his business. About the hustle. Lock and step that makes a great deal of sense. If you take into consideration the massive hip hop movement that has been happening in Ghana from, as early as my recollection, around 2020 with the Drill Scene movement, you’d expect it to be so. I believe it’s more commonly referred to as Asakaa. This is a formative brand of hip hop that in my personal opinion is close, if not one of the closest, to what I consider to be the roots of the hip hop culture. At least what I perceive hip hop to be. Particularly rapping. These days, hip hop is a wide spectrum of styles and approaches with as many sub-genres as rock music. It is very much the global music today. When I think back about my introduction to it and when I first began listening at a young age, it was a taboo thing culturally here in the States. Politicians were trying to “ban” it. It was a raw reflection of what was (is) happening in the streets. No sugar coating lyrically. However, audibly, there is plenty of audible sweetness that resides within beats that knock you on your a$$ and get you moving. Quite a paradigm it was. A cosmically infectious production of sound undeniably pleasing to a Top 40 audience, with an MC at the helm spouting off the harsh realities that you either were on board and vibed with, or you were one of the people uncomfortable about it and trying to ban it. It’s so weird to reflect on that now, as rap and hip hop are such staples in modern, relevant music today. My overall point being that essence of what I knew hip hop to be back in the day: rawness, outlandishly sonic beats, a steadfast ambition to grind against all odds. That is what I liken to the Drill Scene movement, and Alwayne’s music to when I hear it.

Alwayne’s latest album, an EP entitled, “Demedi Yemekpor” was released on August 30th. It was produced in collaboration with NarrowBeatz Productions on a couple of the tracks. Kaureer is credited for mixing and mastering. The original tracking was done in Ghana. The beats on this album are stellar. Really is something you should take in on some nice headphones and as I’m listening here on my favorite JBLs, some nice speakers to get the full effect. To put it bluntly, it bumps. Alwayne brought in three international features on this EP as well. In terms of any over-arching concept to the album, Alwayne states:

“It’s about searching and finding one’s purpose. Talks about standing for something and staying true to yourself.”

Not a man to mince words, he declares his ethos and inspirations are straight-forward and simple:

“I’m all about the money and good music.”

Citing the current stages of his life and the people around him as inspiration as well, his lyrical delivery on the EP is fierce and energetic. Much of his lyrics reflect hanging with his people, flexin’, smokin’ blunts, and remaining determined to overcome struggle. My first impressions upon hearing it was that it was rooted in that original Hip Hop ethos I described earlier. Alwayne definitely keeps it real. I believe this is what he means to express when he has said that his says that his intended influence is to “promote and preach hip hop culture through records.” However, while rooted in the old school origins of hip hop perhaps lyrically, I am of the opinion that his overall sound is modern. The record ventures into sub-genre moments of Autotune and Emo rap throughout.

The EP consists of seven tracks. Here’s the track listing and some of my initial thoughts:

Gam3(Time)Feat. Big Slime, Puffy Jay – This song is the one that you’ll hear some “Autotune” sub-genre influence. The bass has heavy laid back vibes, but the beat overall is a bit more upbeat. As evidenced by it’s placement on the record and implied title, it’s an opener intended to hype you up and set a tone. This song carries his message of not giving up.

Take Me AwayFeat. Queue Mogul – possibly my favorite track on the EP, this beat centers around a beautiful piano melody. Once that beat drops, Alwayne delivers emotional vocal hooks. I really like Queue Mogul’s politically charged verse on his feature.

Badderman” – Ughhh. That guitar lick at the beginning before that beat drops. I like that, haha. It reminds me of some classic 90s hip hop. Like something from “Me Against The World.” Obviously Alwayne’s vocal style is niched in Ghana’s influence, but this beat though sounds like West Coast to me. Alwayne goes hard on his flow in this one.

Don’t Get in My LaneFeat. ATM MAVADO – First of 3 tracks to feature ATM MAVADO’s quick flow, “Don’t Get in my Lane” features nice, chill, female backup vocals in the background over a catchy hook.

WinFeat. Neeko Lsh – This song stands out to me as more of the “ballad” on the record. It warms up shortly in the beginning before the beat drops to another catchy hook right out the gate.

Hunnid BandsFeat. ATM MAVADO – There are heavy elements of the “Autotune” sub-genre here in this song too. The beat is hard though. This song by my ear is most similar to what I relate to the Drill Scene movement.

They Don’tFeat. ATM MAVADO – Again starts off super hooky (“They don’t wanna… They don’t wanna”). This song is probably more than likely my favorite track on the entire EP. It’s a hard call between “Take Me Away” and “Badderman” but I think this one has a little bit of an edge for me. The hook is solid, the beat knocks hard, the piano melody is epic. And in approach vocally, it’s right up my alley. I like it when MC’s spitting truth, flowing smooth, and you can hear the emotion.

Overall, the EP is a solid one. Front to back some bangers. It’s an easy listen as well, the entire release clocking in at a hair over twenty minutes. I had the great opportunity to chat with Alwayne about the EP, hip hop in general, and plans for the future:

AMS Radio: Greetings to you Alwayne, thanks for chatting with AMS Radio. First up, we got the “big 3” questions. Starting with: what inspires you to create music?

Sometimes the words just kind of come to me. Other times am inspired by the world around me. The good vibes and great energies around helps to create magic. I also get alot of inspiration by how I’m feeling. If I’m sad, i write something that starts sad and ends happy. If am excited, I write about it. Anytime i write anything it flows from the heart.

AMS Radio: Tell me a little bit about your creative/writing process, how does the music make it from concept to final product?

Basically, choosing or coming up with a beat, and then developing a melody and after that I pen down lyrics to fit the melody. i revise my lyrics and then I record. I usually record myself.

AMS Radio: Nice! I was curious about that, considering some of the mixing and mastering was outsourced. Tell me about the music scene where you are from. What’s popular, what do you like or dislike about it, and what interesting things are happening?

Music as a whole is doing well currently in my country Ghana especially Ghanaian hiphop genre, amapiano and afrobeats which is been recognized worldwide. Some popular music festivals like the GOBAL MUSIC FESTIVAL and AFRONATION, just to mention a few are hosted here in Ghana

AMS Radio: You mention that you had three international features on this album. I am seeing ATM MAVADO, Neeko Lsh, Queue Mogul, Big Slime, and Puffy Jay on the record, which ones are the international ones and where are they from?

Initially I had 3 international features but one of the songs couldn’t make it to EP due to copyright issues. My two international features are TAKE ME AWAY which features Queue Mogul from Kansas City(USA) and WIN featuring Neeko Lsh from Munich(Germany).

AMS Radio: Fascinating, in retrospect I should have probably picked up on that with Queue Mogul, his verse was one I immediately identified with in a socialized political way. Which tracks were produced by NarrowBeatz? How’d you end up collaborating with them?

Narrowbeatz produced TAKE ME AWAY and WIN. A friend from the states recomended Narrrowbeatz.

AMS Radio: What is the title of the EP about (Demedi Yemekpor)?

Demedi Yemekpor is actually a term coined from my lyrics back in high school which means “I’ve searched and found”.

AMS Radio: Cool. I’m going to plug that into my DeePL app to get a good understanding of pronunciation. I like that saying. Who are your Top 5? What MC’s inspire you most?

Top 5 definitely Pac, Biggie Smalls, Jigga, YE and Kendrick Lamar.

AMS Radio: Solid five. We could go on and on about who fits in the rest of the spots as most people do, but I will say that my number one is in line with mine. I’m a Pac guy, no doubt. When you’re looking to do a collab with someone and add a feature to your track, what are you looking for in someone? Is there a particular style you look for? How do you evaluate who is to be featured on the track?

Well that’s a big question. Candidly I choose my features based on intelligent lyrics though other things like our ability to connect on a track or fellow artists who’s visions are similar to mine.

AMS Radio: Appreciate that. You’ll find a lot of others that hard line about “you gotta be mumble,” you gott be “gangsta” etc. So it’s nice to see that you’re willing to mix it up a bit on an artistic level. You mention an Xmas Fiesta gig coming up soon, what’s the details on that? How can people come see you?

Xmas fiesta was my first gig back in 2010 held at the conference center, Accra. I have couple gigs this holidays and dates will be communicated through my socials soon.

AMS Radio: Kick ass man! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.

Thank you and love

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