Africa Sent Me A WhatsApp Message – Origin

Its only a day away till the release of my first single Africa Sent Me A WhatsApp Message of my debut album WTF? 
I thus decided to give a bit of a background into what lead me to create this piece of poetry that I have come to love soo much.
I wrote Africa Sent Me A WhatsApp Message in the early part of 2014. I was to perform at my alma mater alongside other poets for their celebration of Africa Day.
I had poetry but for some reason I wanted to perform something new and refreshing so started thinking of how I could make that happen.
I sure not of how the idea came into my head but it did and I started to flow with it. I genuinely asked myself from a Ghanaian perspective whether Africa will be happy with us Ghanaians.
Our filth, corruption, lack of standards and blindness to opportunity came pouring in my mind and I weaved with words the conversation that ensued. 
The piece is pretty reflective and gets one thinking all the time. I have performed it at various occasions and even when I traveled to Kenya.
The audio being released however has the element of melody that has been absent whenever I performed. The background music was produced by my producer Boamah Made It.
It is beautiful and is the fertilizer to create the mood that is required to allow the words to sink in. 
We are currently scripting the video which will be released in a bit. In the meantime get your ears ready to enjoy the first single of my debut album titled Africa Sent Me A WhatsApp Message.
Keep it One HONDRED!

Artist Bio….Hmmmm

Writing an artist bio feels like a forced assignment by a grade 2 teacher on a kid who just wants to play. The only problem is that playing alone doesn’t get one very far and at a point you have to get to the important stuff that just doesn’t feel like a holiday in Hawaii.
Over the weekend I stumbled upon an article about biographies that got me reviewing my sorry excuse for a tell the world about you –biography, which was nothing more than a glorified resume with a bit more text. I hadn’t realized yet that this affected my branding.
So I got around to making notes and working on them and I now have a short and medium bio I want you to check out. I will work on the long one this week and send it to you as well.
Tagline
Spicy Ghanaian black pepper poetry bumping to Hip Hop music
Short Bio
Whoever said Hip Hop was dead went to the wrong funeral and never gave Hondred Percent a thought. 
Hondred Percent expresses the raw humor and experiences of the Ghanaian lifestyle through authentic spoken word and rap. 
With inspiration from Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Reggie Rockstone, Saul Williams, Common, Mos Def, Timbaland, Kanye West and Kevin Hart, Hondred Percent has created a distinct sound that can only be compared to Ghana jollof. 
A Manifest (Ghana) and Blitz Da Ambassador (Ghana) fusion or Tumi (South Africa) and HHP (South Africa) rolled in one, jamming to sounds from the Roots (USA) gives a hint to the sound, word play and realness that Hondred Percent brings to the stage.
The two time Ehalakasa Slam Champion (2014-2015) is set to release his debut album “WTF?” in June 2017. It is spicy Ghanaian black pepper poetry bumping to Hip Hop music.
Medium Bio
Hondred Percent aka Paul Forjoe jnr is a rising spoken word artist from Ghana who burst on the scene in 2011 fusing poetry and rap to make Hip Hop music. 
Hondred Percent is set to release his debut Hip Hop album “WTF?” in June 2017. He is currently working on a video for a single in the album and releasing his second single “Poet Rapper”.
Hondred Percent in 2014 and 2015 triumphed as the overall winner of the Ehalakasa Slam in which over 40 poets in Ghana contested.
While in Form 3 (Grade 9) in the early 90’s, Hondred Percent got introduced to rap and started writing poetry. It was his varsity days in South Africa that exposed him to Spoken Word and got him performing. 
He came up with the name Hondred Percent in 2010 as a way to distinguish and motivate himself in his passion on his return to Ghana. He has since performed at numerous events within Ghana and recently traveled to Kenya to feature as a guest artist on a French show and a Slam at Alliance Francais Nairobi.
He is inspired by Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Reggie Rockstone, Saul Williams, Common, Mos Def, Timbaland, Kanye West and Kevin Hart.
He has been compared to Manifest (Ghana) and Blitz Da Ambassador (Ghana) by some. Hondred Percent is however trying to tap into the essence of Tumi (South Africa) and HHP (South Africa) bumping to the Roots (USA).
The artist has made quite a name for himself as a prolific wordsmith within Ghana. He plans to release his album for free as means to grow his fan base and crowd fund for the next album set for 2018. There are also plans to put together a band by the end of 2017 to enable him tour Ghana, Africa and the World.
Conclusion
Keep it One HONDRED!  and let me know what you think. Later in the year I will probably put together a workshop to help others see the importance of bios and branding. Look out for it.

World Poetry Day Celebration 

Today 21st March 2017 is World Poetry Day. So everything I write in this post must rhyme with day. Thus I will say, that I lay, in the arms of poetry’s bed made with hay.
There is a lot about poetry that people don’t know about. Its purpose in the world is sometimes ridiculed as a dying art form for hopeless romantics and bards seeking attention. 
History
In 1999 the celebration of poetry was instituted by UNESCO. UNESCO believed that poetry had a unique way of capturing the minds of people and encouraging creativity. 
Part of its objectives were:

  • To support linguistic diversity through poetic expression.
  • To offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The day is also meant 

  • To encourage a return to oral tradition of poetry recitals.
  • To promote the teaching of poetry.
  • To restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting
  • To support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

– UNESCO website
What Poetry Means To Me
Poetry is another form of expression. I have used it several times to express myself in a different manner to get people to see things differently. 
It can be personal or expressed to the public. It can be used for entertainment or pleasure; inspiration, social commentary and many more. 
A good number of songs without their instrumental can be viewed as poems. Yet the world today still doesn’t seem to recognize the importance of this artform.
I see poetry in everything and urge others to encourage this art form that once used to be held in high esteem.
Importance
From my recent travels to Kenya, I saw the power of poetry being emanated through slammers at a spoken word event called Slam Africa.
Each of the slammers tackled a social issue and got the audience to view their message in a manner that got them thinking. The poets tackled topics such as femininity, discrimination, rape, ignorance, Christianity and many more. 
I was awestruck by the their performance and more than ever realized that as poets we are blessed with a gift to reach out to people. Communicate with them on issues that will add value to their lives.
This is similar to marketing campaigns only that words are used orally. Id marketing campaigns are sometimes worth millions and often times incorporate visual artists, musicians and actors why can’t poetry and poets be respected as such?
Disregarded
Unfortunately poets are not respected for their craft. Corporates and small enterprises see the creation of poetry as ‘easy-peasy’ and don’t value the creation of the content. 
Thus the industry is raped by EXPOSURE. Believeing that we are being offered an opportunity whilst truth be told, it usually doesn’t get far. 
How Can This Change?
In my opinion poetry in Ghana has a marketing, reputation and unity issue. Our art is not packaged in a manner that makes it attractive to the public. People seem to be doing the art form a favor rather than actually patronizing and giving it a chance based on merit.
The other aspect involves reputation. Good reputation should see poets rise to unimaginable heights. Unfortunately anyone can get up and claim to be a poet; and while I don’t doubt their zeal, a lot more goes into this art form than meets the eye. 
Thus competition for poetry is often times non existent as organizations or individuals usually stick to who they know or are exposed to only a small number of poets who sometimes are not packaged well. Making a decision on who to choose difficult.
We are also not united as poets in Ghana. This is no fault of ill malice on the part of anyone but rather the lack of interest by all to come together for the common good of benefiting the industry.
Conclusion
We have come a long way as a country with regards to poetry. We still need to do  more. Rome however wasn’t built in a day so maybe this year we will try and build the Colosseum.
Happy World Poetry Day!
Keep it One HONDRED!
P.S In celebration of World Poetry Day there is a poetry show at PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra, Ghana 

Mufasa The Poet

Mufasa is a spoken word artist, actor and singer born and raised in Kenya. He popped into the spoken word scene after winning a spoken word slam competition. Since then Mufasa has been performing in all major poetry events in Kenya. Raised by a single mother, Mufasa is a passionate performer on stage and hides no emotions when he speaks about his life and disturbing issues in the society.  –Mufasa Biography – Badilisha Poetry
Just so we are clear, this is not another Lion King Story. Its funny but people actually play with him like that. I guess sometimes its due to the popularity of the Disney flick. The best one I heard was 
So when you were born did Rafiki hold you in the air and cry, Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! (the cry from the Circle of Life at the beginning of the Lion King)?”
Well though that never happened to the poet, it might as well have. For when Mufasa is in town its as though a graceful king is amongst his people.
Walking down the streets of Nairobi with Mufasa it is clear he is poet loved by many. This poet has a thing about him that makes people just call him out to show love. Always dressed with a beret and a smile that makes you wonder why a toothpaste brand hasn’t made him a brand ambassador, it is easy to see why people gravitate towards this poetry sensation.
I have had the privilege of living with Mufasa for the past few days and I must say that I have never met an individual like him before. He calls himself the son of the sun for a reason for it is hard to see him without a smile. 

Mufasa and Hondred Percent
Mufasa and Hondred Percent
 
Unlike me also he doesn’t talk too much. He seems reserved but always greets me in the morning with such excitement that you look forward to the day. Kindess is his brother and as often as possible he chats with him.
Unfortunately I will miss his show Blame My Roots, which is set for 1st April, 2017. I have however had the chance to listen to his poetry via the internet. 
His poetry is emotional but not soppy. It has a way of creeping into you like a girl strategically trying to get close to cuddle. It is warm, true and straight from the heart. 
So today as my stay in Kenya draws to an end I want to put the spot light on one of my hosts, who is now my Kenyan brother.
For more of Mufasa check him out on Facebook @mufasapoet
Here is a video of the poet doing what he does best.

Keep it One HONDRED!

Mufasa The Poet

Mufasa is a spoken word artist, actor and singer born and raised in Kenya. He popped into the spoken word scene after winning a spoken word slam competition. Since then Mufasa has been performing in all major poetry events in Kenya. Raised by a single mother, Mufasa is a passionate performer on stage and hides no emotions when he speaks about his life and disturbing issues in the society.  –Mufasa Biography – Badilisha Poetry
Just so we are clear, this is not another Lion King Story. Its funny but people actually play with him like that. I guess sometimes its due to the popularity of the Disney flick. The best one I heard was 
So when you were born did Rafiki hold you in the air and cry, Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! (the cry from the Circle of Life at the beginning of the Lion King)?”
Well though that never happened to the poet, it might as well have. For when Mufasa is in town its as though a graceful king is amongst his people.
Walking down the streets of Nairobi with Mufasa it is clear he is poet loved by many. This poet has a thing about him that makes people just call him out to show love. Always dressed with a beret and a smile that makes you wonder why a toothpaste brand hasn’t made him a brand ambassador, it is easy to see why people gravitate towards this poetry sensation.
I have had the privilege of living with Mufasa for the past few days and I must say that I have never met an individual like him before. He calls himself the son of the sun for a reason for it is hard to see him without a smile. 

Mufasa and Hondred Percent
Mufasa and Hondred Percent
 
Unlike me also he doesn’t talk too much. He seems reserved but always greets me in the morning with such excitement that you look forward to the day. Kindess is his brother and as often as possible he chats with him.
Unfortunately I will miss his show Blame My Roots, which is set for 1st April, 2017. I have however had the chance to listen to his poetry via the internet. 
His poetry is emotional but not soppy. It has a way of creeping into you like a girl strategically trying to get close to cuddle. It is warm, true and straight from the heart. 
So today as my stay in Kenya draws to an end I want to put the spot light on one of my hosts, who is now my Kenyan brother.
For more of Mufasa check him out on Facebook @mufasapoet
Here is a video of the poet doing what he does best.

Keep it One HONDRED!

Kenyan Tea

Kenya has brought the English out of me and turned me into a tea loving African, drinking tea as if it is an elixir of youth.
Kenya is one of the world’s largest black CTC tea producers. Tea is actually a major cash crop for Kenya. Its a major export bringing the country majority of its foreign revenue.
Since my arrival here I have been drawn to two brands of Kenyan tea. (Lipton is no where to be found here yall)

Ketepa Pride Tea
Ketepa Pride Tea

Ketepa Pride and Melvins. Ketepa Pride has a number of flavors which I am yet to savor. Forest Fruit flavored black tea is what I was introduced to as Kenyan tea and I have been a lover ever since. 
I drink tea at least twice a day since I got here. What freaked me was the variety of flavors available here. Which brings me to the next brand, Melvins. Now Melvins has a hibiscus black tea flavor. Let me let that settle for a moment……..
Melvins Sobolo Tea
Melvins Sobolo Tea

My eyes lit up when I saw that flavor. All I kept thinking about was “OMG they have sobolo or bissap tea!”. The taste is heavenly. This is what I have been sipping in Kenya people.
Well its time for tea rafikis but here lies my dilemma will I drink forest fruit or hibiscus?
Keep it One HONDRED!

The Lion King and Swahili

If Hakuna Matata is the only Swahili word you know then you need an orientation into the language.
Hakuna Matata is a Swahili phrase popularized by Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. Though popular around the world, it is a detested phrase in Kenya. So refrain from using the phrase or singing Hakuna Matata for the ‘no problem’ or worries song could leave you with a lot of trouble.
See it as how a black person living in the USA may take offense if a stranger called him or her a nigga.
Swahili Words
Though Hakuna Matata is not advisable to use, there are other Swahili words within the Lion King that could get you on your way around Kenya. 
Simba, Rafiki and Pumbaa are all Swahili words. Simba means lion, Rafiki means friend and Pumbaa means foolish.
Other words that are interesting are the Swahili words for welcome and thank you which are Karibu and Asante respectively. I for one find it beautiful that Asante means thank you.
Swahili also has a slang version called Sheng. Its kind of a mix between English and Swahili. 
The phrase that sticks out to me is the phrase for ‘what’s up’; which is interesting because the first time I heard it I thought someone was asking me if I knew where Kofi was or if I was Kofi.
Strangely enough I am a Friday born and bear the name Kofi. (Though no one ever calls me that). I digress; the Sheng term for ‘what’s up’ is ‘uko fiti?’ and the usual response is ‘niko fiti‘ which means ‘I’m good’.
Well this my rafikis is where our lesson ends today. Look out for tomorrow’s post on Kenyan tea.
I will like to send a special asante to my Swahili teacher Waksy who is also a singer. Check her out on twitter or instagram @waksy_ or on Facebook @WAKSY
So be a Simba and don’t be Pumbaa.
Keep it One HONDRED!

My First Days in Kenya

I was not sure of what to expect when I landed in Kenya. The immigration officer seemed excited when she read my invitation letter stating that I was a guest poet. 
“Are you a good poet?” she asked.
For a moment there I thought I was going to give her a performance after my confirmation and though that didn’t happen, I was prepared to talk about her eyes looking like diamonds for a while.
Stepping outside the airport exposed my traveling error of not finding out about the weather before packing my clothes. It was chilly and reminded me.of harmattan in Ghana. I prayed the temperature was not like this in the day. 
My hosts Ian and Mufasa looked like long lost brothers from a distance and we immediately got acquainted and quite frankly have been talking non stop about poetry, music and everything in between since we met. The zebras chilling by the airport though beautiful did little to sway our conversation.
Our conversation from 2AM that Saturday, took us to see the morning sun and I slept enough to put energy into my legs. The time difference in Kenya is about 3 hours behind that of Ghana so I was a bit disoriented. I woke up to a Kenyan breakfast of jipati which I took with golden syrup and tea. I loved it. 
On Sunday Mufasa and I went into town to see a show at The Alchemist. We boarded a number of graffiti mini buses called ‘matatus’ to get there.
I was treated to art, fashion and beautiful Kenyan women. East African women are blessed with beauty and confidence. I am not talking about a particular frame of woman, for all the women there had something interesting and eastern about them. 
The venue itself had a carnival concept with a bar, a stage with a big bus for a back drop and a number of food caravans for people to grab something to eat. 
The Movement, a Kenyan band came through and killed it! I loved their music and it reminded me a bit of Ghana with their tunes.
I met a wonderful lady at The Alchemist who became my Swahili teacher. I will talk about that later. For now I am having a good time. Today Ian gives me a lesson in creating an Electronic Press Kit (EPK).
Keep it One HONDRED! 

Ronning Remix and Kenya

Today I travel to Kenya for a performance at a poetry event on the 18th of March, 2016. As I type this my eyes are struggling to keep open. I have been up packing and updating my affairs on my website and social media before leaving in order to depart with a gift for you guys.
The gift almost didn’t happen.
The plan was to release the Ronning Remix today. This was a remix made over Shyne’s Bad Boyz  instrumental. Unfortunately I had not read the terms and conditions of of SoundCloud and YouTube well and at the last minute realized that I was in violation of copyright.
You see I thought because the track was not for sale and I was open about using it as a cover, I thought I had satisfied all the legal areas. It turns out that I hadn’t.
It turns out that I had a recording of a performance of the track over a different set of beats courtesy of The Musical Lunatics at a show where we performed together last year.
This was my first opportunity to perform with a band and considering the short time used to rehearse, I have to say what we produced was on point. 
So today I as I leave to Kenya for a week I present you with the Ronning Remix featuring The Musical Lunatics as a celebration of women and a departure gift.
You have both the audio and video to enjoy. If however you want to listen to whatbi intended to share, hit me up and I will share a link for you to check it out.
Expect lots of pictures and videos as I am away. I will be documenting this trip like a kid with a new camera. 
I want to thank Ehalakasa and Gallery GM for making this possible for me to represent Ghana and further my career as an artist. I also want to thank Poetra and The Musical Lunatics for making that performance a possibility. The most thanks though goes to the almighty for providing me with this gift.
I will miss my wife, son and all you guys but the internet and your prayers will keep us connected.
Always remember to keep it One HONDRED!
Here is the audio

Here is the video