“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race” – Calvin Coolidge. “Press On!”, What they told the slept on.
It was not easy for Frank Gyamfi Kwarteng. Not his musical journey, not his artistic pain. How he feels about his music, how he feels about his art and what he goes through in the creative process of production. What is talent amalgamated with hard work devoid of appreciation?!
The mid to the late 90’s marked the beginning of his creative metamorphosis. He was Sentenced to embark on a journey through a world of creativity connoted by constant and involuntary mental assault and battery.
“Pae Mu Ka” was the order of the day. Obrafuor, Okomfuor Kwadɛɛ and the likes were running the Ghanaian music scene. That was when he first stumbled on the soul of his artistic self.
During a mano-a-mano with H.F which is an acronym for Hurricane Fizz as he would later come to be called, he disclosed that he wrote his very first rhyme whiles in the 7th grade. Most true Hiphop fans find it customary to listen to music from legends like Tupac, Biggie, Nas and Jay Z among many others to more or less be fully incorporated into the Culture. Like every other ardent fan of hiphop he did exactly that and per their poetic & lyrical acumen he found his inspirations. His imagination was captured by two of the greatest to ever do it, Notorious BIG and Tupac Amaru Shakur. He also mentions Eminem, Slaughterhouse and his love for a myriad of music genres as his inspiration to rap and not only that but also, soul blues, classics from Beethoven’s era which has served as a source of inspiration for the “Fizz Orchestra” theme for his beat tags.
He however mentioned that aside these icons being a source of inspiration, he is also of the opinion that inspiration is as it comes and personally he doesn’t know the next thing that will inspire him but when it comes, it comes.
“The “Fizz Orchestra” theme for his beat tags”. This phrase might have awoken your inclination towards the possibility of he being a music/beat producer in addition to him being a rapper. If your thoughts were directed along these lines, then you’re on the right path, He is a beat producer as well as an amazing rapper. Not only that, he’s also a fine pencil artist and digital graphics designer. Though not widely recognized, H.F has and is still playing his role in the promotion and sustenance of rap, hiphop music and the culture as a whole in Ghana considering the fact that he’s just a younging fast rising.
In 2013 he represented Ghana at the Nokia Don’t Break The Beat Rap Competition in Lagos, Nigeria alongside another Promising Ghanaian Act Muhammed Nasir Abubakar, best known as Abu-Nasir, the only two Ghanaians to make the final 16 round of the competition. He’s been on several battle rap platforms (Headnodders Battle Zone, Lyrical Wars, etc.) and also radio shows like the Brownberry Show then hosted by Brownberry himself, the UrbanXpress HipHop Show hosted by renowned undeservedly Unknown DJ, DJ Aljahzeera & the UrbanXpress Crew. He’s also been on the Set of Ace Ghanaian DJ, DJ Black Cypher. Through his musical journey, he’s received recommendations from icons like Jayso of Skillions fame. It’s safe to say that Hurricane Fizz has and is still playing his part in ensuring the preservation and institution of rap/hiphop culture in Ghana.
“THE WORLD IS LATE“! The name of his last musical project which was totally underrated, accurately describes the situation at hand in the world of Ghanaian Hiphop at the moment. He and other talented Emcees have contributed their quota to the game, but the fans have chosen to turn a blind eye. His gallery of varied arts has been ignored and relegated to the background just like other Emcees who possess amazing talent as he does, like Kahaz of Fantedote fame and Mr Smiff now known as Smiff, Obibini, Flippa, JaeGhost and a pool of other great talents. But! really though, Frank like his cohorts is just a statistic. It’s not about him alone, he is just a rep for all the other talents we have out here that aren’t being sought after, talent that isn’t being tapped, talent that is wading away like the dreams of dead men.
He later expressed his thoughts on the art (Music, Movie, Drama & Arts) industry in Ghana stating that he does not think there’s an industry in Ghana and he would like to be a part of the education process of the people because a people is nothing without education. He said that “We are as a people where and what we are because the privileged ones didn’t not give back. They did not ensure the continuous education of the people. Still speaking he mentioned that if there’s required knowledge to gain through the needed education, then we can actually believe in systems and processes to create an industry, A REAL and WORKING one at that. In the obvious absence of that provision he describes the Ghanaian Scene at the moment as a dog-eat-dog affair and opportunities going to those who are fortunate enough to be well acquainted.
To be able to tap into ones fountain of creativity in effort to satisfy the hearts, minds, souls, ears and eyes of the artistically curious does not require just talent, It requires hard work, dedication and Appreciation. How do we plan to sustain the life of arts when all our focus is on an aging and dying breed of “Artvocates”. We need to shift our focus. We need to focus on longevity. We need to wake up and give the young generation of creators a voice.
John Drummond said, “The Arts are not just instantaneous pleasure- if one does not find pleasure in it, the artist is wrong”. I, like Drummond, refuse to be a part of the generation that says the artiste is wrong. I belong to the generation which says “If you don’t like it, You don’t understand and you ought to!, it is your responsibility to find out. What is Art without Appreciation and Acknowledgement?! – “Press on!” They told the Slept On.
Compiled by Jephthah Osei-Mensah