Ask Yung Pabi what music means to him and his answer is as direct as the lyrics he shares on his songs: “Music is the art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions by using rhythms and melody”.
Since the release of his socially conscious song ‘’BushMan’’, the rapper has seen his stock steadily rising. His name is becoming recognizable among music fans, earning him performance spots- he recently performance at the University of Ghana Drama Studio. He is scheduled to headline Serallio Sunday on 25th March, 2018.
‘’BushMan’’, a song about irresponsible fatherhood, has clocked over 2,500 plays on Soundcloud alone; an achievement Yung Pabi, real name Prince Addo Biney is delighted about. The positive reaction the song is courting isn’t just because of Yung Pabi’s incredible lyrical poignancy but, the relatable life story he weaved on ‘’BushMan’’. “I make music about everything; even stuff I imagine. About it being personal experiences, I feel the reason people are associating the song to my life might be because the story felt so true and emotional. But I am an artiste, I tell stories all I did was try to be better at my craft’’. In his view, the positive reaction is prove that ‘’Ghanaians pay more attention to lyrical content’’.
In 2017, Yung Pabi stunned many who watched his ‘’Phreakout’’ Performance at Alliance Francaise. Backed by a handful of dancers, he presented a dance interpretation of his lyrics, something many in the audience applauded. Yung Pabi understands the power of a well-choreographed performance: ‘’Anytime I go on stage, I don’t want my audience to hear the song actually, I want them to listen to me while I try to do something extra so they don’t feel it’s radio they’re listening to or say a regular artiste performing’’.
In this interview with Culartblog, Yung Pabi, a former St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School student and Entertainment Prefect shares detail on how ‘’BushMan’’ was made and earning a M3nsa feature, his music writing process, musical inspiration(s) growing up, and why speaking on social issues is important to him.
First, how has the reaction to ‘’BushMan’’ been since its release?
The reaction to ‘’BushMan’’ has been overwhelming. I’m getting to meet new people and the feedback has made me realize Ghanaians pay more attention to lyrical content. I thank God for whatever is happening with ‘’BushMan’’.
I saw your tweet about performing at University of Ghana Drama Studio. How will you describe the experience?
The performance was awesome, the crowd related incredibly with me. Anytime I go on stage, I don’t want my audience to just hear the song. I actually want them to listen to me while I try to do something extra so they don’t feel its radio they’re listening to, or say a regular artiste performing. God bless whoever was there!
I feel the reason people are associating the song to my life might be because the story felt so true and emotional
Before we talk about the song content, how did Mensa get involved? How did it come about?
Okay interesting how though. You know what they say “M3nsa barely does features”. I asked Wanlov who I already have a song (Sobolo) with to find out if M3nsa will love to hop on my song. According to M3nsa, the song impressed him so while in Texas he bought speakers and produced this song in his apartment. He even tweeted about the whole story of how I got him on the song!
Is the song’s theme of irresponsible fathers from personal experience? What made you want to talk about it?
Story: @YungPabiMusic made @wanlov ask if I’d do a feature. I heard the song n was so moved I asked for acapellas, went n bought spkrs whilst attending a film festival in Austin TX n prod this in my hotel/apt. Hook is inspired by Amakye Dede https://t.co/Mt3oU2GSJw?amp=1 #Bushman
— MउÑŠÅ (@mensamusic) March 14, 2018
Thing is, I make music about everything, even stuff I imagine. About it being from a personal experience(s), I feel the reason people are associating the song to my life might be because the story felt so true and emotional. But I am an artiste, I tell stories. All I did was try to be better at my craft. It could be a true life story though and it could be my life too. I’m being raised by a single parent (my mum) so yeah partly related.
The inspiration behind this is that orphanages are getting filled up and that’s bad news for us. How do we curb that? Try to minimize the “I am not responsible for the pregnancy stuff”. That’s the reason for the song, let’s focus on that instead of it being related to my life or not.
Mood, vibe and mission. Three keys to every song I write and will write. I am musician, unlike others, I don’t write with my mood alone.
This is fascinating cos listening to it, one might think it’s from your own personal experiences. A mark of an excellent artist. How do you write a song like this? Obviously something might have inspire you. But aside that, what’s the process like for you?
Mood, vibe and mission. Three keys to every song I write and will write. I am a musician and unlike others, I don’t write with my mood alone. Instead, I try to merge mine with the audience in my head. I imagine and try to create the very best vibe between us even though they are just in my head.
Vibe in my lyrical context is what is happening around me, what I see happening around or to you and what I think should be happening around us. Mission inspires me to write songs. Why should I put this song out? I want to try to curb things I think are not right in our world. I use my music as a tool to achieve that. Reason I did BushMan is to talk about irresponsible parenting and child neglect. The orphanages are getting filled and that is rather sad. With both parents alive and fending for their kids there will be more space in the orphanages and also children will feel loved.
Having been rapping for some time now and seeing how your music is being received, what does it to you, your confidence and your overall artistry?
I have always been confident and I have always believed my time will come. I’m getting more attention now. I thank God for that. I’m rather motivated to do more good work, for the people have made me realize they believe in me. Yung Pabi is trying not to let them down. I value everybody supporting my music.
People attend shows to listen the artist and to watch him perform his songs. I am against miming. I feel it’s more like giving the crowd less than they deserve. If they want to hear your recorded version, they’d go download or stream it.
I saw you at BeatPhreak’s ‘’Phreakoutlive’’ last year and your performance was memorable. You performed live as well which isn’t easy. Is there a reason why you perform live? How do you prepare for a performance?
Oh thank you. I’ve always had encouraging feedback about my 2017’ ’Phreakoutlive’’ set. It humbles and urges me to do more. When I perform, I try to give my audience something different from radio. I usually perform with live band and sometimes the instrumentals of my songs. People attend shows to listen to the artist and to watch him perform his songs. I am against miming. I feel it’s more like giving the crowd less than they deserve. If they want to hear your recorded version, they’d go download or stream it.
I cherish my audience and I feel they deserve better. I love to see progress in my craft live band gives me that opportunity. Voice control, timing and stage craft are some of the benefits I get from live band performances. I call my team we draw a plan in line with the venue and the kind of audience I’ll be performing to but before that, I pray to God and the ideas are gifted to me by Him.
I feel you on this point. It’s important to speak about situations in society as artists or ordinary person. ‘’BushMan’’ is out. People are feeling it. What’s next for you? More singles to come? Any cohesive project coming anytime soon?
Yeah firstly, I am forever grateful to a God and to M3nsa and Wanlov. Shouts to everybody vibing to the song. More singles will come. A project, I feel it’s not yet time but you never know. Meantime we’re observing the progress of BushMan. We will drop a video if it does well! The latter is an exclusive.
I want my people to succeed with me. I aim to make my music have positive impacts on their lives and I want to everyone to see Yung Pabi not only as an artiste but a brother and a friend.
You’ve mentioned how you cherish your audience whether writing songs or performing. How do you intend to grow and leverage on your fan base?
First I prefer you call my fans my energy. They are ( T.Y.P.E.) The Yung Pabi Energy. Do more songs, promote them, do more shows and get more interactive with them. I also aim to help them in anyway. I can or lead to seek help for them. I believe this is a “hand go, hand come” situation. If you support me I’ll try to support you in your hustle too. I want my people to succeed with me. I aim to make my music have positive impacts on their lives and I want to everyone to see Yung Pabi not only as an artiste but a brother and a friend. TYPE will grow. I know we just have to keep pushing. I pray that my music in one way or another give people employment, peace and even make people feel loved.
I went like if I can’t sing like Daddy Lumba and Kojo Antwi, at least I can tell my stories like Okomfuor Kwaadae is doing.
Lastly, who’s Yung Pabi? What inspired you to do music or become a rapper? Which artists inspire you?
Yung Pabi is some guy in his corner trying to make his thoughts and ideas heard of through music. Yung Pabi literally is my name. The P in Prince, the A in Addo and the BI in Biney. The Yung is to signify I’m a youth.
My inspiration to do music is very weird. I grew up listening to Kojo Antwi and Daddy Lumba. I loved what they did so much but I didn’t have a singing voice. Then, I heard of one of the best to do rap music in the world, Okomfuor Kwaadae. I went like, if I can’t sing like Daddy Lumba and Kojo Antwi, at least I can tell my stories like Okomfuor Kwaadae is doing. That began my music journey. I later grew into admiring the works of many artistes hence looking up to them. Kanye West, Eminem, Naa, Talib Kweli, 2pac, Sarkodie and Obrafuor are some of the legends I looked up to.
At what point did you take rapping professionally?
Initially, I was doing music for the ‘boys boys’ and the “fans”. Fast forward, I gained admission into the St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School, exhibited my talent and by grace I started performing in other schools. Then it dawned on me that, I can eat from the gift God has given me. That was when I took music as a profession. Just by the way, I went on to be the entertainment prefect of the school’s 2013 year group.
What does music or rapping mean to you as a person?
Music is the art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions by using rhythms and melody. I feel music is a tool used to influence or improve upon moods and knowledge and what’s the real name of Yung Pabi.