When it comes to keeping an ear to the hip hop ground in Ghana, there’s not outlet like Yoyo Tinz: for the past few years, Selorm Jay Attikpo, Essé Dabla and Hamza have been supporting numerous underground artists in Accra by blogging, documenting, organizing events, workshops, and always, always networking – among other connects, we owe Yoyo Tinz the opportunity to showcase underground rapper Looney the TKR a couple of years back.
Yoyo Tinz want to take their show on the road, specifically to the Paris Hip Hop Festival in July, to connect with like minded artists and hip hop activists, to learn and to share knowledge, to build bridges between the scene in Accra and scenes in Paris and elsewhere.
And for this they need your help.
Yoyo Tinz’ cultural activism is making a difference in Accra, and is well worth supporting. Here are a few words about the project:
For those who aren’t familiar with Yoyo Tinz, what’s it all about?
It’s a hip hop movement, geared towards the promotion of Ghanaian hip hop culture. We want to make it more vibrant, more visible, we strive to create a scene as well, we don’t really have an underground hip hop scene even though we have many rappers and artists. So we are trying to make it all more visible and present.
How do you do this?
We follow three guidelines: archival, documentation and promotion.
We archive by looking into things that have happened in the past, meeting with the old school guys, shedding light on their work and scene back in the day, be it through music, footage or stories. In this regard we’ve interviewed pioneers such as Reggie Rockstone, Wanlov, Jayso of Skillions or Liberian rapper Scientific.
The documentation part mostly happens through the blog, but also with certain events: we’ve organized “Meet the artist” sessions with Blitz the Ambassador, EL, or even American hip hop photographer Mike Schreiber.
We promote via our social media, especially our youtube channel where we’ve been posting our Gintar Tinz series. We also help with the promotion of events, for example when Under Kontrol came to Ghana, they are a French beat-boxing team. We also worked with French graffiti artist Marko 93, to help him connect with local painters and find spaces to paint in Accra.
How do you go about fulfilling your mission?
We see ourselves as connectors. Through workshops, events or online, we strive to connect all of those who share a passion for hip hop and are eager to turn this passion into a more lively scene in Ghana.
We want to give underground artists more visibility, we look for artists who are interesting, both in their lyrics and their personalities, we write about them, we promote their songs, we invite them to a gintar tinz session.
What’s that all about?
When we were kids, we couldn’t pronounce the word guitar, so we’d say something like gintar (“jin-tar). We wanted to use this intimately Ghanaian name to showcase talent under a different angle: most concerts in Ghana showcase vocalists backed by pre-recorded instrumental beats, sometimes the full original song. It’s rare to see an acoustic session, so we wanted to bring artists into this particular format.
What’s your plan for Paris?
We’re already in touch with the organizers, who’ve invited us to take part in professional workshops as a Ghanaian hip hop organization, both the share our experience and to learn from others all over the world.
We’ve also offered to volunteer for the event there, in order to get even close to what’s going on, and gain more experience within a major global hip hop event.