In 2017, Lykay released his debut EP, “The Deity”, a hip-hop project that was greeted with an appreciable degree of acceptance from the ears that heard him. The 7 track EP is steep in real 90s hip hop with a few trap influences. His calm demeanor and strong voice makes me stand out among the many rappers out here who are much invested in today’s vaunted trap style of music.
Lykay, born Abel Brobbey is a rapper and head of the collective WEIRDXGENIUS made up of rappers, producers. The interest of the collective also include photography and fashion. The Santa Maria based rapper who’s bent on putting ‘my hood on the music scene’, considers music beyond the fame and money it may bring him. ‘I love music and arts. It’s my therapy’, Lykay tells me in a twitter exchange.
The over six foot tall rapper at first glance doesn’t carry the aura of a hiphop artist. His demeanor is laid back (and chill), his clothes far from the look won by many hiphop artists. Beneath this looks lies a talent that grips at first hearing. ‘A contemporary with an old school touch’. That’s how Lykay describes himself.
That old school touch permeated through his ‘The Deity EP ” and subsequent music. That feel was the quality that convinced Mutombo Da Poet (a poet, video director and rapper) to shoot a video for his song ‘Messiah’. ‘It was the sound. The sound made me shoot a video for him. His hommie introduced me to his sound and I got the vibe after listening to the first track: his hardcore lyrics and old school style. Lykay is dope. He has to blow u. Where I think he lacks is a strategy and packaging. Aside that, he has his art on lock’’, Mutombo Da Poet candidly tells me.
Lykay had a good year in 2017, musically. He released music, collaborated with some artists and performed at various musical events. Despite these moves, Lykay is looking to becoming more visible in 2018.
In this interview, he outlines some of the high points in 2017, his plans for 2018, sharing stage with the FOKN Bois and the importance of social media.
First of all how will you describe 2017 for you as artist?
2017 was good. [I] met idols I only visualized meeting; From Mutombo Da Poet (Fotombo) shooting ”Messiah” video because he loved the song, meeting Wanlov and opening up for M3NSA at Alliance Français. It was a good year but I could’ve done better as far as visibility, which I’m planning on working on this year
What didn’t you do to gain that visibility? What do you intend to do differently?
More performances because that’s really my favorite thing to do. Working with the team to be out there more and exhibit the skills on more platforms.
I saw you at the FOKN party. I was impressed by your stage perform. And seems the audience also loves it. What did the reception do to your confidence?
I felt really good ‘cos I didn’t really know what to expect. But I always make it a point to be confident any time I’m on stage because that energy bounces back to the crowd. I’m glad they loved it.
Aside the FOKN party did you perform at any events? Which one stuck with you and why?
[I] performed at Kona Live couple of times. Also did Badu Lounge and Verbs. But I think the Accra Hip Hop Festival was the highlight.
You released music in 2017 and collaborated some more. What are your plans for 2018?
More collaborations. I’m not known for collaborating more in the past. But, that changed from last year. I’m hoping to work with a lot more artists this year.
Are you very selective in who you collaborate with? What do you look out for in an artist before you feature them or jump on their songs?
Someone who takes their craft seriously, especially on social media. Even if you started recently and your song is dope and you’re serious with the craft, we’ll work.
You and Bryan The Mensah have been on a few records? There’s a very recognizable chemistry between you two. Any projects between you two?
Me & Bryan The Mensah. Yeah, great artist. For now, no projects. We’ll definitely talk about it. More works will come from us in the future.
Interacting with fans is very important to me. It’s good you connect with the fans sometimes rather than asking them to listen to your music all the time.
Social media has become an avenue for young indie artists like yourself. Aside the visibility it offers, are there other benefits that adds to your brand?
We are really exposed now to what is happening outside. And I’m learning & reading a lot; seeing how these bigger artists go about touring. We are taking clues from that. Aside music, myself & my team, WEIRDXGENIUS, we love fashion & photography. So we’re looking to get some endorsement deals someday.
You are very active on social media especially on twitter. What does interacting with fans online mean for you, your visibility for that matter? How to you handle trolls?
Interacting with fans is very important to me. It’s good you connect with the fans sometimes rather than asking them to listen to your music all the time. Connection is everything. For trolls, I just ignore. It’s hard though, but you responding to a troll’s tweet rather gives it the attention they’re thirsting for.
Tell me what you have on offer for 2018, from music to videos and other ambitions
I’ve already planned a lot with the team. All has to do with funding so we are putting things in place. I did a couple of guest features which I’m sure will come out soon as well. I can’t give much info on that now.
Event organizers really should at least compensate artists even if they’re not there yet. Because everything costs money in music. Recording, videos, photo shoot & even transportation to these shows
You mentioned funding as an issue. I’m curious how do you, an indie act raise funds to finance your projects? And what other challenges affect your career?
It’s serious. We hustle on the side to fund our career. But music is costly so you’ll need a lot more. I had a day job back then but it was so hectic. I wasn’t even having the urge to create or time to perform so I dropped it and took the music seriously in 2016 and I have seen progress.
So event organizers really should at least compensate artists even if they’re not there yet. Because everything costs money in music. Recording, videos, photo shoot & even transportation to these shows.
If I ask you what the Lykay brand is, how would you answer?
A contemporary with an old school touch, be it music or fashion. Currently working with our in house producer, Okukuseku to sample some old Ghanaian highlife & funk music- from the likes of Ebo Taylor and the likes- and fuse it with contemporary sound.
Are there any rappers on WeirdXGenuis apart from Okukuseku and yourself?
Jo Humphrey, a singer is on the label. He’s currently working on his debut EP. A very talented guy.
Aside the FOKN Bois, which artists influenced you musically? Which of them would you love working with?
A lot have influenced me. I’m very eclectic with the music I listen to. So ranging from Gyedu Blay Ambolley (who I’ve met once) to Sarkodie, M.anifest, EL, Worlasi & Ebo Taylor. I’ll love to work with most of the new artists too. We all have diverse sounds. I love that.