Next up for an exclusive interview with DCWS is the New Jersey based emcee Kwab aka Y.e.S. He just released his latest single "Infatuated", produced by Josh Rodriguez, so we thought that it was only right to touch based with this rap artist on the rise about how he got his start with rapping, the impact of his Ghanaian culture on his music, and much more.
Tell us about your journey as an artist. How did you get your start creating music?
How are you guys doing? First of all, I would like to say thank you for this interview before we get started. When it comes to my journey as an artist, I was always a fan of rap music and enjoyed trying to come up with creative lines at a young age. I remember my older cousins always playing these rap songs for us when I was younger in Ghana. I would say I probably started rapping when I got to high school in the United States and steadily progressed after that. I would always be part of these cyphers and rap battles after school or during house parties with my friends. Just a little fun thing we used to do but my close friends always told me to give it a serious try. I never really recorded any songs or even understood how to format a song until I got to college. I was around creative people on a daily basis who ended up being into music as much as I was. I was able to learn and get better in different aspects of creating/writing music and now we are here.
Would you say that your Ghanaian culture is reflected in your music?
I would say yes and no. Yes because my culture comes out in my content when I record personal songs where I touch on things back home. Sometimes I speak on my family’s ideologies or cultural differences to get a point across in certain songs. Also, it was pointed out to me by a family member that some of the sounds and cadences I use are directly tied to my Ghanaian upbringing. Now I say no or actually I should say not yet when it comes to this question because of my overall work. In the past, I didn’t try to make any music on Afro beats or anything similar but I started recently trying to test myself on that sound to see if I could come up with some creative records.
We're really digging your new single "Infatuated"; tell us about the development of the song. Why did you select the instrumental and how long did it take to write and record it?
Thank you. I really do appreciate the positive feedback from you guys. Infatuated actually randomly came about while working on a full length album with Josh Rodriguez (close friend and talented producer/engineer). We were at the end of one of our long recording sessions and he was playing me some random beats he had started working on. The instrumental came on and I fell in love with it right away because I could already hear the song I wanted to put on it. I remember him saying he made the beat in like five minutes and I told him to send it to me regardless and I would have the song done. I wrote it pretty quickly and recorded it in our next session. We always felt the song would be a good single release and I have received some positive feedback about it.
What's next for you after "Infatuated"? Is there an upcoming mixtape or EP on the horizon?
I am currently deciding another single to release any day now. I finished a quick EP at the start of the year that I’m planning to progressively release these songs and the whole EP. I still have another project on the side which I have been working on for a while with Josh. We are always touching up on it to make it better because we know that is some of our best work. I also make sure that I’m always writing, recording and creating consistently now. In the past, I was releasing music more consistently but had to take an elongated break because of some personal circumstances. My close friend Koffi, who is also a DJ, definitely got me back on track when it came to getting refocused on music. So in other words, there’s definitely more music coming on the horizon.
Who are some of your music influences and what is your favorite rap album?
My music influences have always varied. Besides the common top rap artist, I always make an effort to listen to different sounds. It goes from artists like Rufus & Chaka Khan (because of their funk sound) to DMX (his energy) to a Childish Gambino (because of his creativity). I try to listen to different artists so I’m able to learn and apply something to my own sound. My favorite album right now is “Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star.” I probably still listen to that album once or so a week at some point. The overall sound and vibe of the album always puts me in a positive mind state. In addition, those are two of the best emcees in music in my opinion.
If you had to describe yourself as an artist in three words, which ones would you select?
First of all, I would say versatility. I try to tackle different records or sounds and still show my creativity as an artist. Secondly, I would say truthful because I don’t have to lie to glorify an image I’m not. I stick to what I know, what I have been through and how I have dealt with it. This is evident even in a song where I’m coming off braggadocios. Finally, and this is two words, I would say I’m an unfinished product. I’m always trying to get better on a daily basis as a rapper, writer and even beat maker. I refuse to get stagnant as an artist so I always keep this mindset in order to always improve. Thank you again for this interview. I appreciate the support from you guys and you will be hearing from me very soon.