He Came In 30th So What?

Pursuing your passion is not a journey for the faint hearted. Your definition of success as a goal and you sticking to it can end that journey or see you through it. There are aspects of spirituality, discipline, life etc that come into play but today I want to focus on the importance on not giving up.
I was on twitter and saw tweets from different sources on Akwasi Frimpong’s performance at the olympics. Some sources dwelled on the fact that he underperformed because he had the lowest score.
Akwasi Frimpong is Ghana’s first skeleton Olympic athlete. Wikipedia defines the skeleton sport as:
a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled, down a frozen track while lying face down. Unlike other sliding sports of bobsleigh and luge, the race always involves single riders. 
It would be awesome if Akwasi came out first or top three but he didn’t. Are we saying that pursuing your dream and seeing it through regardless of not achieving your goals is not good enough?
I resent that!
It is that attitude that dampens our spirit to explore and take risks.
Akwasi has probably sacrificed time and resources all in an effort to out Ghana on the map. The least we can do is be supportive.
Ghana needs more people especially the youth and younger to see Akwasi’s effort as a reason to take risks and pursue their passions. Coming out tops is good but more important in my opinion are the lessons learnt on that journey. 
He came out 30th so what? 
His name will not have been written in history if he didn’t sacrifice time and resources to pursue his dream. Because of Akwasi a young minority will be empowered to believe that they can make it in winter sports regardless of their environment. 
I relate a lot to Akwasi because as an artist I feel I am pursuing my passion as well. It is not as rewarding but I have dream to be the greatest Spoken Word Artist and Rapper and I will continue to pursue it.
Yesterday via twitter I received a tweet from a fan asking to buy my album WTF? that I released last year. We communicated privately and in minutes he had made a purchase. He informed me through conversation that he saw me perform “Gidigidi” at Yoyo Tinz shrine at Chalewote Festival 2017, James Town, Ghana and had been thinking about the track since.
I was humbled! 
Last year was stressful for me as an artist. I had challenges in creating and promoting my album. I sold a few copies but after September 2017 things kind of took a down turn. I did not give up but I needed time to find myself and strategize towards making progress. 
So yesterday’s tweet was a beautiful gift of encouragement that made me feel appreciated. I wish it was always like this but I appreciate the little steps of progress.
I feel Akwasi needs encouragement like the one I received yesterday. Let him know via social media that he is beacon of hope. It lifts the spirit in a special way. Do it because you understand what it means to have encouragement.
I urge you all to encourage anyone who is pushing or pursuing their dream. Criticism is all good but all of us need encouragement to make it. So lets be proud of our own and encourage all to reach for the stars.
Akwasi came in 30th but if he hadn’t participated he would have been last. He did not give up and saw himself all the way through. I believe he has picked up valuable lessons to improve on his performance in the next olympics. In my eyes he is a hero keeping it One Hondred!

Life After High School Pt.2

So last week I mentioned I had to go to my high school as a guest to chat about life after high school. The panel was made up of both seniors and juniors including myself who had the rather unconventional route. 
We all had similar experiences and it was clear that passion fueled our drive to be engaged in what we are doing. 
It was sad however to hear that morning that Ebony, celebrity artist pegged to win Ghana’s Artist of the Year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), was involved in an accident that took her life.
It was something I reflected on during the talk to the students. Ebony took a decision to walk down a certain path which has made her known all over Ghana. She made a mark on society and will be remembered. Whether the mark is positive or negative that’s another debate for another day. 
However, it also reminds us that our time here on earth is not forever. We need to live everyday as if it’s our last and also acknowledge there are things greater than us. 
I am a Christian and know that the future is uncertain. God however on my side I walk daily knowing that his grace and angels protect me and my family. 
The uncertainty of life calls for you to lean on something. For me it’s God. He ensures that I am safe and is available to all who call on him.
So keep it One Hondred! Live life to the fullest, trust in God and be the light of the world.

Life After High School Pt.1

I have been asked by my high school, SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College (HGIC) to be a guest on a panel speaking to the kids about life after high school. This time however, I will be speaking as Hondred Percent. 
As I think of what I will tell these teenagers I can’t help but look back at why I decided to walk down this challenging road as an artist. How I even came up with the name Hondred Percent is even interesting yet the more I reminisce the more I see how I have evolved.
I have a better sense of purpose as an artist. I want my success as an artist to pave the way for others to cause a positive shift on the art landscape in Ghana and beyond.
The motto of SOS HGIC is “knowledge in the service of Africa” and I am definitely doing this for more than selfish gain. I guess I have to thank SOS HGIC, for being a significant institution in instilling these values in me.
One thing I do know is that I could have been better prepared for what life threw at me. Relationships, love, passion, spirituality and all other important elements I may not have mentioned, are all areas that I could have been guided through better. 
Knowing what I know now however, I feel I am in a better position to mentor someone deciding to walk down this same path. I just don’t know how I will do that in 7 minutes.
I will keep you posted on how the talk went next week.
Keep it One Hondred!

Get your Music on Itunes For Free

So I have come a long way as an artist trying to gain recognition in the world. Sometime last year I embarked on a journey to make an album. 
With an album title like WTF? you hit the nail on the head if you figured I had no idea what I was getting into.
My desire led me to my producer Boamah MadeIt who I call Ike. Ike kept it real from the jump and believed in my vision as an artist. For that faith he will always have a special place in my kingdom (y’all thought I was going to say heart) 
Ike partnered with me and gave me insight into the costs of making the album. We had a mutual agreement and got to work. We worked track after track building the album and our relationship as friends.
Promotion
I labored so much into making the album that I didn’t think much about promotion. It wasn’t my intention it’s just that as an indie artist without a team it’s difficult to manage all these aspects.
Don’t get me wrong I had a plan but I was a virgin in this world of opportunists and I had built castles in the sky hoping to have a break. 
Resources on my end was short as I had invested in making the album. I wish I had done this when I was younger. I had just had a son and I was trying to put an album together. 
Some will say I had my priorities mixed up but I believe what I had made was a work of art that will make a difference in my world. Problem was I hadn’t put together a plan to let people know that. 
My album is good but I am not famous plus when it came to distribution I had a big problem.
Distribution
My goal was to let the album go for free. I thought SoundCloud could hook a brother up but unfortunately there is a limit to free downloads. 
I eventually found www.noisetrade.com a site that made that possible. I could load up my album and for trading your email address you get to download the album for free. 
As I write this I have had 27 downloads from that option. I have my work on SoundCloud but don’t have much going on getting people to listen to it. 
With everybody screaming “Check Me OUT!” in this digital age we are in  it’s real hectic trying to get attention. Plus I am alone pushing this dream whilst working so needless to say but it’s tough.
Aggregators

Screenshot of Hondred Percent's WTF? on iTunes
Screenshot of my album on iTunes

After a while I started considering getting an aggregator such as CD Baby, Ditto and the likes. 
(For those who don’t know an aggregator is service that allows you to get your music into the top digital stores. So you deal with one aggregator and they ensure you get your work in stores like iTunes, Spotify etc)
The problem with an aggregator is that it costs money and by money I mean dollars. When I did the math it made no sense to me so I didn’t even bother. 
However for my music and art to reach the masses or for the globe to access it; the responsibility lies on me to make that happen. I couldn’t deny that I needed an aggregator but I just hadn’t found one right for me.
And I Found One
Screenshot of Hondred Percent's WTF? on Spotify
Screenshot of my album on Spotify

So how am I able to now have my album in digital stores?
I give thanks to Ike again. 
I visited Ike some weeks back to brief him on my plans for the next album. During the visit I saw some art work for a single he was releasing and I realized through the logos on the art, that the single will be available in a couple of digital stores. 
So I enquired as to what aggregator he was using and how much it cost him. I was expecting to hear a familiar name and some reasonable amount of cash. The name of the aggregator and the cash involved however is quite ironic with a pun in it.
First of he was paying NOTHING for the release in the stores and secondly he was able to do this through AMUSE.
😒 Seriously?
(I know the name sounds like it’s laughing at all the other aggregators)
Amuse

So Ike broke it down for me and showed me how to make it happen. First of this works via an app and not through a computer.
Amuse puts your work into digital stores for free because they are looking for hits that they can invest in. You keep all your royalties and if your track happens to be something they are interested in, they get into an agreement with you to make money.
It sounded too good to be true so I decided to give them a try. 
Screenshot of the Amuse app
Screenshot of the Amuse app
 
I downloaded the app and got straight to following their instructions to load up my work. It took a bit of time and I had to reformat the tracks and change the album cover to adhere to their guidelines. Thereafter I had to wait for them to review the album.
I waited for a couple of days and they got back to me on an error which I addressed. They later got back to me early this week to let me know that the release is on Friday 27th October 2017. Their email response time is great. I applaud the effort.
My release day email from Amuse
My release day email from Amuse

So here I am having my album going out to digital stores for free. It is awesome and you too can make it happen by just downloading Amuse. 
(Amuse is available on iOS and Android)
The only downside to us in Ghana is that to collect your money you need to have PayPal. Also you won’t be able to check out (at least immediately) which stores you are in without signing up or subscribing to a service. 
For now I know I am up on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal. There are probably others but unless I get access I won’t know for sure.
It still doesn’t mean I get famous but it’s a stepping stone in the right direction. I am still figuring out this promotion thing. If anyone there can help make my dream of touring and performing around the world true, I will be honored.
I will be putting out other resources and tips whenever I stumble on one. Remember to follow me on Social Media @hondredpercent 
To check my album out on iTunes click here
To check my album out on Spotify click here
To check my album out on Deezer click here
Keep it One Hondred!

Justice Where Are You?

I’m an African but I don’t feel proud to be one. Roll up in my streets and you will feel foul to be one
– Hondred Percent

The statement above comes from my track titled Akola Boni of my album WTF? I never thought I would refer to this specific line but the situation I find myself fits perfectly into that sack of words.
Today I am ashamed to be called a Ghanaian. I feel no confidence towards our justice system. There are tortoises instead of hares in the system and disgusting lacks the foul stench I require to describe how this unfortunate crime to a four year old went past six hours without the necessary action taking place.
This is just some plain old BULL SHIT!
When I first stumbled upon the story it was so horrid that I expected obvious action to take place. I didn’t see the need to voice out my thoughts because I felt we lived in community of love, a community that wants progress, a community that has billboards saying the future is exciting.
Sorry to burst your bubble but this right here is some messed up matrix without Neo or Morpheus. Ghana is a hypocritical society where we know how to pray more than take action. We have become numb towards crime that we don’t even see what’s wrong with it and I have to say that I am ashamed.
I am ashamed because I expected there to be action by now. I hoped that the hashtag #Justice4Her would have stopped appearing on my social media channels as a result of justice being served. Rather I am met with the opposite reaction and I have seen too much that I can’t be quiet anymore .
So I am voicing out my complaint and enquiring through this blog post to ask a single question.
Why has it taken so long for justice to be served?
The necessary authorities at this point need to have the facts of the matter and offer options to the family for action to be taken. I feel that there is a lackadaisical attitude to this whole crime and it’s more irritating than scabies.
Justice I know you are on vacation but please come back to Ghana.
If you’re looking at making a difference tread through and sign this petition.
Keep it One Hondred! 

Where Were You When Gas Exploded?

Last Saturday 7th October 2017 was a display of tragic fireworks that made Ghana wish Superman came to our aid. Alas, Superman is only fictional and even if he wasn’t, the chaos and crime in the world that day may have prevented him from being a hero to Ghanaians. (Black Panther who is near by may be a better option). 
As the explosion occurred I was at another explosion less disastrous occurring in the East Airport vicinity.
A baby shower was happening for my sister and two teams of family and friends were exploding with answers and at each others throats trying to win points for the coveted honor of wearing a baby shower medal.
It was during the shower that we heard news of the explosion. Thanks to our smart devices, social media and the internet, all were abreast with the current situation and quickly checked in on their loved ones to ensure all was well.
That however did not stop us from engaging in our baby shower games which by far was the best I have been to. I have to credit my little sister and friend for putting this together. They did a marvelous job.
Its however interesting that on a night set to celebrate the coming of a child, an explosion occurs that took away life and more. A debit and credit of life was occurring and I just happened to be on the life side of things at a baby shower designing a onesie and writing inspirational messages on diapers.

I designed one of these
Hondred Percent’s Onesie design
 
Here is a little poem I wrote about Saturdays event titled “When the gas exploded”


When the gas exploded 
When the gas exploded
A fire was born
She fed on fuel and shone soo bright 
She turned night to day
But caused dismay
Hurting whoever came her way


When the gas exploded 
Eyes grew wide
Some stayed still 
Some run for their lives
Some overreacted, others too slow
Some confused as to where the fire may go


When the gas exploded
Chaos was born 
A twin of the fire but filled with scorn 
She burped stampede and farted a confusion spree
This was a baby without manners indeed


When the gas exploded
Babies were born
Their light shone brighter than fire and chaos’s scorn
Their cry was gentle, their laugh was sweet
They provide hope as fire and chaos sleep


Where were you when the gas exploded?
Keep it One Hondred!

October Fire Thoughts 

Accidents are interesting events. They seem to always occur unexpectedly. In some cases however, you can tell that one is bound to happen. Those who truly understand the risks get out of the danger zone. Others unaware of the risks or optimistic about the outcome face the same road.
Throughout 2017 I have listened time and time again to natural and unnatural accidents that have occurred throughout the world. From hurricanes, mass shootings, bombing and burning buildings; I always pray that such events never come to Ghana. I thank God that we have not experienced the above mentioned catastrophes. Unfortunately it seems that as a nation we are prone to gas or fuel related accidents.
From the flood Goil station incident around Circle in 2015 and the LPG blow out around Trade Fair in 2016; we seem to be running an unfortunate streak of having a gas or fuel related blowout once a year and last Saturday marked 2017’s entry.
Last Saturday 7th October 2017, there was a gas explosion at the atomic junction near Madina, Accra, Ghana.
I don’t have the facts on what caused or occurred during the fire. I have not even bothered to watch a video or dwell for a second on the pictures that are being circulated. Peoples reactions are enough for me to understand the gravity of what happened last Saturday. 
Despite the lack of information there is one thing I do know. Like all the other disasters that have happened in the past, we will survive this October disaster. We may loose some loved ones and many peoples lives will be changed forever by the fire but we should look towards the future.
I can’t comment on what should or shouldn’t have happened with regards to security measures to minimize damage as I don’t have information on what truly happened that evening. There however has to be some action taking place as this has become an annual disaster.
To the families of victims of this sad event my prayers go out to you. To those in hospital my prayers go out to your strength, doctors, nurses and families. 
The fire is an indication of how important life is and my question to all is whether when the time comes for us to part this earth we know where we going?
Keep it One HONDRED!

How I Celebrated My Birthday

So last Wednesday I celebrated my birthday and as I write this I realize its been about a year since I launched the hondredpercent.com website. A lot has happened since September 2016. My writing has increased, I released an album, I experienced fatherhood, my beard grew, I fell in love with green tea etc.
When I was younger birthdays felt like a giant spotlight was on you for the whole day. I woke up to my mother’s love. The living room was decorated with birthday stuff to make me feel special. I got a card and always wanted a badge to showcase my age. There was special breakfast, lunch, supper, a cake, a song, presents and a whole lot of other interesting things scheduled for the day.This year though I toned the expectation of the giant spotlight. I didn’t wake up to all that I was used to when I was younger. I woke up to my phone buzzing, my picture as the display picture which is still up on my school whatsapp group page and my active son who has no idea that it’s my birthday demanding his father’s attention.
The day was like any other day with my phone buzzing a lot with birthday messages and me saying thank you. In the future though I need to get a personal assistant to aid in replying to birthday messages.
I had interesting gifts too. I had a beautiful smile as a gift from a friend whose smile truly lights up my day; a digital portrait of me from a high school friend and a kiss on the head from my son. 
The best gift of all was from the Lord. I was given an opportunity to witness that beautiful day and all it had to offer. I take it for granted sometimes but on my birthday I realized that God has been by my side all this while and still continues to believe in me. That’s amazing!
Earlier that day as I drove around town, I heard on BBC that some people suffer from prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. Apparently there is a part of our brain responsible solely for remembering peoples faces and some people suffer from not being able to remember who people are a few minutes after they leave their sight and return. In worse cases they can’t even recognize themselves in a mirror.
I was in awe of the magnificence of the architecture of what lay in my skull and made me appreciate the gift of life given to me by the Lord.
It was a beautiful day not with the bells and whistles I was used to but a day that made me reflect and treasure the important things in life.
God and love.
Keep it One HONDRED!

A Review of "The Comeback"

Our elders have a saying:
“Dont call a spade a spoon if it is used in feeding cattle”
This is exemplary of the humorous wisdom rendered by Jojo, Uncle Ebo Whyte’s main character in his latest play titled “The Comeback” which I had the opportunity to preview last Wednesday 30th August, 2017.
“The Comeback” is a play about a successful uneducated Ghanaian Italian league soccer player, Jojo, who returns home to realize that his investments have been squandered by his brother.
My first Ebo Whyte in 2015 left me unimpressed. The script lacked depth, had an overuse of singing and jokes that in my opinion often fell flat.
Despite my past sentiments on Uncle Ebo Whyte’s work, I went in to watch this play in the hope that my issues from the past will have been rectified. 
Alas, my past issues were still visible. I often found myself sighing whenever there was a performance involving song. To be fair, the songs were much shorter but still rubbed me the wrong way.
Overuse of Singing
The problem with singing or use of song within plays boils down to choice. Many of the songs used within the play were unnecessary and added no value to the message or context.
One excellent use of song within the play was the use of Ghanaian rapper EL’s song “Kaalu” in a scene where coach arrived in the nick of time to prevent Jojo from assassinating his brother. 
It was perfectly placed to deliver laughter. I laughed effortlessly and was impressed with the idea. If all songs were placed in a similar manner I would be singing a different tune about Uncle Ebo Whyte’s plays today.
Characters

The choice of the characters in this play was a perfect recipe for humor. Coach for instance was my favorite character. He is a professional coach who enjoys life, likes to have a good time and calls a spade a spade as is evident in his commentary of issues at the family table.
Jojo’s mother, brother and Uncle were also great characters. The characters with the exception of Jojo were developed well.
I had issues with Jojos character. Jojo was the main character of the play. The acting was spot on but certain aspects of his character did not contribute to the success of the production.
Jojo’s illiteracy and wisdom

Often within the play, Jojo will blurt out some wisdom attributed to his elders. This happened so often that I looked forward to his so called words of wisdom. 
The problem was that majority of these quotes were either not funny, made no sense nor contributed to the discussion within the play at the time. 
More thought should have gone into these quotes to have made the play a hit. I feel each time Jojo made reference to his elders was an opportunity to make the audience laugh and this opportunity was not utilized efficiently.
Jojo as mentioned earlier appears to be uneducated. Thus, his speech is wired with bad grammar. This provided the audience with a lot of humor and was a bit excessive. In the same vein as the quotes, his lines could have been scripted better. 
A great example of this is in the early scenes of the play where we see Jojo return from his travels and realizes that his investments have been squandered. 
“wait, wait, wait….halftime, halftime”
These were Jojos words. The use of soccer jargon to express himself was effective in delivering a joke as well as expressing his frustration.
As a soccer player I felt such jargon should have been used more in his conversation to showcase his dependency and passion for on soccer as a livelihood.
That Weird Dance Scene
Now I am not sure what the idea of Agnes, the daughter of Coach and her fiance dance arguing was about. 
I always look out for something unexpected or surprising but this was beyond anything I my mind could create and till date I am not sure how to feel about it.
It was weird, confusing and hilarious. I laughed so hard that I believe the cameras took a shot of my laughter; and as I laughed I kept looking for something to justify this weirdness and came up empty handed. 
Now that scene could have worked if Agnes for instance was introduced earlier as a dance enthusiast and her fiance and her have been seen practicing a wedding dance of sorts. 
The dance however was a distraction from the main plot and totally unnecessary.
Stage Screen
Before concluding I want to comment on the screens used on stage as backgrounds.
I liked the idea of screens being used as backgrounds. The opportunity and convenience it presents allows a variety of scenes to be crafted. 
My favorite background was the gym background. The visuals created the ambience of a gym. Though I kept wondering what a dining table was doing within a gym premises.
The household of Jojos mother however had a background that looked animated than realistic. Which I thought wasn’t good enough. 
Also there was tv screen within the background in loop showcasing a channel that I felt was distracting and again, unnecessary as it failed to contribute to the story. 
If that was an attempt at product placement it should be reviewed for future productions.
Conclusion 
This play was far better than the one I watched some years back. Though I haven’t elaborated on all my issues with “The Comeback”, the play shows that the production house of Uncel Ebo Whyte is improving. 
Generally people loved the play and found it humorous. Uncle Ebo definitely understands what Ghanaians find funny. It just needs polishing to appeal not only to Ghanaians but others nationals as well as that can see his work being adapted in other countries.
Then again, a production house looking at producing a play every quarter will be faced with many challenges and for that I say the play went well despite my issues with it.
That however, should not be the case. The plays must strive for a good rating at all times and if that means making changes to time or staff that help in the content then it must be done to ensure that quality is maintained.
Bear in mind that going to the cinema is way less than watching an Ebo Whyte play. So for me quality should not be compromised as other entertainment options are available.
This play gives me hope for future productions and I look forward to the growth of the production house. 
Keep it One Hondred!

What Other Festivals Can Learn From Chale Wote

So last weekend was the Chale Wote Festival and as usual High Street saw floods of people parading through James Town to take selfies, express themselves, enjoy the art and entertainment artists had to offer and have a jolly good time. If there is anything that the Chale Wote festival teaches us, it is that Art is powerful social magnet. 
I remember when the Chale Wote in 2011 started. I didn’t attend that year but the streets weren’t packed with people like I saw last weekend. It was the beginning of something great and like a baby, Chale Wote festival was just getting used to its feet.
Year after year the scale of the festival has just grown to become in my opinion the biggest festival in Ghana. Strangely enough other festivals and events, paid or free that have a track record still can’t attract the audience that Chale Wote attracts (well unless its a sports event or shata wake lol).
The Chale Wote festival and its organizers are not perfect but on the whole understand people better than most. So I ask myself this question, why can’t other festivals especially the cultural ones, fuse art into their events?
There is a lot to benefit from such fusion. First off you get people who aren’t attracted by culture to be interested in coming to the event. 
Art within cultural festivals is a win win because it presents audiences with an opportunity to experience the beauty of Ghanaian culture that they may have been unaware of. They get to take their pictures with art and also see a side of Ghanaian culture that they never knew.
Tourism also has an opportunity here. Restaurants, bars, guest houses, hotels and the likes can make use of such festivals to increase business. The ministry of Tourism in my opinion should champion the cause to get something started. A lot of people travel to see the Chale Wote festival. What are the stats on this? How can we use it to improve festivals and tourism?
We are sitting on a lot of opportunity here that people are dying to see. All we have to do is infuse art with it and “kpakpakpa” you got success.
Keep it One Hondred!