Ghanaian Afro-Dancehall star Stonebwoy dropped off his latest album titled Anloga Junction in late April. Intertwining a variety of different sounds and eras into one, Anloga Junction is a marriage of Ghana and the Western world; sharing his experiences in both life and with music.
Coming in at 15 tracks, just under an hour long, this album takes you on a journey through music and time. With features from Keri Hilson, Alicai Harley, Kojo Antwi, Nasty C, Zlatan, Diamond Platnumz and Jahmiel, Stonebwoy is one of the heavyweight’s in the field, with an undeniable catalogue of work behind him. Having been nominated for an array of awards, he rose to international stardom after winning the BET Award for ‘Best International Act’ in 2015 and has since received nominations from MTV, the EMA’s and the Grammy’s. Paving a path of his own, you are able to feel the power and determination in his music, not just lyrically or visually but with his all-round delivery. Stonebwoy recently released the visuals to stand-out track Le Gba Gbe (below), at the beginning of the video he witnesses a massacre which in turn symbolizes the restrictions that society brings upon it’s people; emphasizing the power and messages behind his art.
Anloga Junction has already rocketed to success since it’s release, I caught up the star to talk all about the album…
How do you think ‘Anloga Junction’ differs from your previous projects?
The difference between my previous bodies of work and this album, is that this one has been carefully selected to continue to satisfy and fill the gaps where the African and the western sound has been more integrated. I carefully selected individual artists who represent different parts of the African continent and world at large.
In what ways do you think you’ve grown musically since the 2017 release of ‘Epistles Of Mama’?
In a lot of ways, because, music is dynamic and the sound has diversity, so to involve such developments is a sign of growth, as expressed by my current body of work.
Was there a specific message or concept you really wanted to push with this album?
Yes … unifying sounds from Africa to the world. It’s very important to continue to uplift and inculcate the African perspective in these times, especially where the African cultural values and morals seems to be forgotten by its own people… because to a very large extend there’s an indication that the imposed doctrines aren’t helping the Africans to achieve their own greatness!
Through the spread of music with, at least, an iota of African touch and constant reminder of ones true African roots, a lot of mindsets can be changed and huge developments can be made – to know who you are and where you’re from is knowledge of where you’re headed.
What does the title of the album mean to you?
Its true meaning signifies my roots as a Ghanaian and African, whose interest is to merge all influences that he has gained from the continent of Africa and the world at large to weave beautiful pieces of songs together, brewed in an African pot.
Anloga is a town of Anlos who speak Ewe language, that town has its indigenes spread across the whole country, whereby anywhere they are at, people identify them easily as the name “Anlo”. Therefore, there are various Anloga Junctions in Ghana, with the most popular ones being situated exactly in Kumasi. The fact that Anlos as a people are found everywhere in Ghana, that to me signifies unity and also comes to me metaphorically as African unity, beyond just uniting people, but uniting sounds – and I mean African sounds and African influenced sounds from the diaspora.
The parts of my roots that I wanted to highlight on this project is my mother tongue which is “Ewe language” besides representing the whole of Africa and the body of work with the name “Anloga”.
How long did it take you to complete ‘Anloga Junction’?
Over a period of years – some songs are pretty new and some have been long done!
Sonically, what avenues did you intend to explore with this album? I know in a recent interview you mentioned you scoped a wide variety of producers in, from homegrown to Grammy winning producers…
The intent is to explore different markets across the world with the album. And by doing so, we themed the album around a sound that will go further than a Ghanaian sound, so the collaborations were very important in making that happen.
1. Diamond Platnumz, from East Africa – Tanzania specially – came with a great verse. We recorded this together and built it from scratch in Ghana. Produced by STREETBEATS, of street my martyr records in his studio in Tema…
2. Zlatan, is a fresh voice in the Nigerian scene who could do justice to the song “Critical”, therefore we brought him on to the album to add his special touch to the whole project. ‘Critical’ was produced by a Nigerian producer called Phantom – he actually has produced a lot of hit songs! Zlatan recorded his verse in a hotel room in Nigeria when I went to perform at the Sound City Awards. It’s a great piece of a song.
3. Alicai Harley is a very beautiful songstress from the UK, originally from Jamaica. She has a great style and a beautiful voice to complement it, therefore when we got together in the UK we met up in the studio and cooked this beautiful song called “Understand” – produced by chart-topping producer called N2TheA.
4. Dre Bombay produced the most beautiful song on the album, as judged by everybody worldwide, called “Nominate” featuring Keri Hilson. This is a very beautiful song that we cooked together right in has studios in Atlanta!
5. Nasty C is a South African superstar. Though very young, he’s been able to achieve a lot for himself within a very short period of time. He’s been a friend of mine so when he came to Ghana one time we met up in my house and produced this beautiful song called “Bow Down”. This song is making a lot of waves in South Africa right now and it’s so amazing to see. It was produced by a producer called Paapi, based in Kumasi of Ghana who is also a friend of mine.
6. Kojo Antwi, is a legend and one of the founding fathers of all music today, right from the days of highlife through hiplife till today. He has a stood the test of time and arguably one of the legends that Ghana can ever boast of. I recorded this beautiful song a few years ago but I knew he was the one to fit it for the agenda that I had for the project. So low and behold, the legend loved it and then dropped a verse for me and that’s why we’re here today enjoying this beautiful song called “Nkuto” (shea butter).
7. Chiv is a young artist based in Holland. He’s new on the scene, and fits this song called “Good Morning”, produced by Spanker – who is also based in Holland. I recorded this song in the studio in Holland as well – it’s a beautiful masterpiece combination of African hip-hop rhythms and Dutch language.
8. Jahmiel is a Jamaican star and one of the most talented. Together we made this beautiful song called “Motion” to inspire people that no matter how slow they moved, they have to keep on moving because that’s just how you achieve. It was produced by Fox Beats from Ghana and this song is a beautiful one to look out for on the project. This is why I combined Afrobeats with the Jamaican sound of Dancehall.
Creatively, what’s your process like? Do you prefer to work in specific environments or?
No my creativity is not limited to any environment, as in, when I’m inspired I create!
You have various features on the album, which artist do you feel challenged you more on this album and why
The one with Keri Hilson called “Nominate” actually did, because, we have to create a merge of both Afro-beats and R&B, with a touch of ragga – I feel this was well delivered!
We can’t not mention the collaboration with Keri Hilson on “Nominate” – wow! I believe this collab was unplanned, how did this come about?
It was not planned; it happened organically which is much better, a friend met a fine lady en route to board a flight and realised it was Keri Hilson. The conversation then got musical and then he called me right there, which is when we got introduced.. and the rest happened!
You are a huge name within African and Dancehall music – do you ever feel the pressure to deliver ‘hits’ or music of a certain quality?
Of course by the virtue of hard work and God’s Blessings. I don’t feel pressured at all, we’re all ordained to execute individual tasks, I simply want to create music that’s all – a hit song is always relative to specific people.
Having now released the album, which track do you resonate with the most and why?
Trust me, all the songs literally…
You have the UK’s very own Alicaì Harley on the album, how did this collaboration come about? The song is amazing!
That’s a great song. She was carefully selected as well for her musical prowess, the song was recorded in UK still to cover the range of the African and Caribbean market
Are there any other UK artists you know or would love to collaborate with?
Yeah sure a number of them, find me the best female singer and rapper I’ll fix it!
What else can we expect to see from you this year?!
This year once the corona virus subsides… we are up with the world Tour of #AJWT20