Following the release of his new mixtape The Delivery which features Akon, Styles P, Kardinal Offishall and Mr Hudson and led to him being described as destined to “reign over British rap sooner rather than later,” Ghanaian-born English hip-hop artist Sway recently had a chat with Nikhil Sharma.
How long have you been involved with hip-hop and how did you get started?
I’ve been involved since I was back in school. I’ve always known that I wanted to make music so while everyone else was messing around I was in the music room trying to learn as much as I could when it came to beats and stuff. I was also part of a group called Phynix crew which was me and two other people, then later on became part of One.
Is there a big following of Hip-Hop in Ghana?
There’s a massive hip-hop community in Ghana and it’s not just following the UK scene or US rappers. They have their own rappers that are big like Tinny, Sakordie, Asem, Samini, Reggie Rockstone, Kwaku T and loads more. I performed in Ghana Christmas just gone and the response was crazy. They really love it out there as much as we do here. Hip-Hop is a global thing now, there was a time when it was very underground but nowadays it’s everywhere.
America and BET in particular have shown you love, how was that?
The love I got out there was amazing especially because everything I did was from an independent angle. The love I was getting wasn’t from industry favours or pushes but solely cos of my music, so that made it even greater for me.
What are your views on hip-hop in the UK?
It’s definitely getting stronger and better. We’re crossing a lot more boundaries and opening so many more doors that two or three years ago we wouldn’t have even thought could be such a real possibility. Take the Brits for instance Dizzee one of the most urban artist, up there winning an award and getting Jonathan Ross dressed up in his clothes promoting his album! We’ve definitely come along way and are being taken a lot more serious as well. The whole UK scene has the quality really dropping away from the rest and shining through more so now.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years time? To be honest I see myself in politics. It’s always been something I’m interested in and want to pursue. A lot of people think I’m joking when I say that and laugh but they don’t realise how serious I am.
Who influences you and your music?
Everything around me in my life influences my music, what I see and what I live.
How has it been to work with some big names like Akon?
It’s been a really brilliant, overwhelming experience. Sometimes you don’t realise how big these stars actually are, until you come back to your own environment and you start watching TV and you’re like “oh my gosh, I was with that person yesterday and I spoke to him the day before”. It can be little surreal sometimes.
How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t heard your music before?
I’d say my sound is unique in the sense that I merge many different genres of music together it can be hip-hop, hip life, soul, grime, R&B, pop, rock and afro beats.
I’m feeling the ‘Pay Back’ track you recently did. Any message behind that track?
Yeah the message is to keep on going no matter what happens, there’s gonna be ups and downs throughout your career and sometimes things don’t always go to plan, so it’s times like that when proving people wrong can be a good incentive.
What does it feel like to perform in front of a crowd who feel and really respond to your music?
Performing in front of a crowd is overwhelming, sometimes it can be quite scary as you don’t realise how much power you have. Going from writing stuff within your home environment to 10,000 + people rapping your lyrics back at you and doing as you say.
Any advice you can give to aspiring UK hip-hop artists?
Yeah, quit! It’s not all it’s cracked up to be and I’m the only one that’s going to take it to another level……….
I’m joking (lol) I’d say follow your heart. If you believe you can change the industry and add to it then do everything within your nature to get to the position you want to get to.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these, definitely supporting ‘Mercedes-Benz’ and will be looking -out for much more from you. What does the future hold for Sway?
World Domination! My mixtape The Delivery is out – it’s getting people talking (free download). The bandana’s back on. Also working on my new album which I’m hoping to release round summer. Follow me on Twitter Sway_Dcypha.