Many of you might not know him. I have studied VOC for a while. I’ll love to describe him as that new brilliant student in every class or school, who always want to isolate theselves from the rest of the other pals. With so much curiousity, I had to knock on his doors. Here’s the juice we could squeeze out of the talented rapper.
237Showbiz: In a few lines, please tell us who VOC is?
VOC: VOC is me. I’m a proud African from Cameroon (or should I say Amba?) who resides in Oregon, USA. VOC is an Awing guy who was born in Tiko in 1985, grew up in Douala (Cite Sic to Bepanda and finally to Mambanda-Bonaberi). I’m addicted to good music. I love watching football and I’m a big Liverpool FC fan. My favourite food is “Achu and yellow soup plus kanda, beef with no fats, towel, egusi pudding and njamma njamma for corner” My name is T. Silas.
237Showbiz: How did you start making music?
VOC: I started making music by downloading free instrumentals online, writing my own lyrics to the instrumentals and then recording on them. I write poems and stories, so I decided to start putting them on beats because I can flow and it’s more fun (but difficult) telling stories that way.
237Showbiz: Your target obviously will be to hit the world at large with your music, but Cameroon to start with, how is like to work overseas and your main market is Cameroon?
VOC: I don’t think my obvious target will be or is to hit the world at large. I’m making music specifically for Africans but if the rest of the world fall(s) in love with my music someday, I will embrace it. It’s pretty challenging living and making music in the USA when your main market is “Cameroon.” I have to put in extra work. Thankfully, I’m a tough guy and internet / social media/ smartphones are helping me as well.
237Showbiz: One of the first tracks fans got to know you was ”Atanga Nji” it was well received by most of your fans. What inspired that?
VOC: God inspired that. I know I can write and can rap but praises due to The Most High. When I heard what Atanga Nji Paul, an anglophone man, said about the Anglophone Struggle on TV, it broke my heart and got me pissed off. I went from zero to a hundred real quick. I almost got on Facebook to rant about it but a voice in me told me to calm down and pour all that anger on a beat instead, so I decided I was going to write a letter to that old man. I paid for that beat in 2013 but for some reason my love for the beat decreased later on, so I just kept it on one of my flash drives. Usually, I listen to my beats in my car while I’m driving. One morning, I was driving to work, beats on that flash drive of mine were playing and that beat dropped. All of a sudden, all my love for that beat came back and I decided to use it to write and record the track “Letter To Atanga Nji Paul.” “Da beat be dear and ah no be want just waste the beat.”
237Showbiz: Let’s talk about your Forthcoming album ”FIRST BORN”. Why the name First Born. Can you spill out some juice on its content? I promise to keep it between us.
VOC: I decided to title my first album “FIRST BORN” because it’s my first album. I’m my parents’ first born too, so after thinking hard, I could’t choose a better name for my first album. This might sound cocky but I’ll just say it. My album “FIRST BORN” is going to be the realest and the most lyrical album an Anglophone rapper from Cameroon will ever give the fans. “No be bep bep bep.” I’m addressing a lot of real stuff. No gimmicks! It’s an album for “listeners” and not for “dancers.” There will be 18 items on the album.
237Showbiz: How much do you plan on selling the album First Born?
VOC: I was thinking about selling CDs for 1500 francs because I feel for people who are struggling but I changed my mind. I believe my album deserves at least a 3000 francs price tag. However, I haven’t come to a conclusion yet.
P.S: It’s probably going to be online too for $9.99…
237Showbiz: Which Camer rappers do you admire? Are there any artistes on the album First Born?
VOC: This is a hard question. There are so many rappers now in Cameroon. I don’t even know half of them. “And if ah name some people now, forget some other people, e fit ton be na matter, so ah go just sit me quiet massa.” I do admire myself though. Hahaha…
“FIRST BORN” is the definition of a solo album. I have just one track that I want to make a “Queen” jump on it. The rest of it is just me.
237Showbiz: Blanche Bailly, Askia, Daphné and Mimie. Kindly pick three and leave out one.
VOC: I’ve never heard a track from Mimie. This is my first time reading that name, so I’ll leave Mimie out. No disrespect to Mimie though. Keep doing your thing girl!
237Showbiz: When you released your single Atanga Nji Paul, many fans thought it was Jovi LeMonstre. How did you deal with the fact that people take you for the mboko god?
VOC: When I released the full track “Letter To Atanga Nji Paul”, I received a lot of calls and messages from friends and acquaintances. All of them said some fans were giving Jovi credit for the track. Most of them who called me or sent me messages weren’t happy that people were giving Jovi credit for that track. I wasn’t mad. It made me laugh instead. I told some of them to calm down. I said “Jovi does not own the rights to the track. I own them. So na small.” It was a little frustrating because even before putting out the full track out, I had posted a snippet of it on my Facebook Page, which went viral. “Letter To Atanga Nji Paul By Voc” was clearly written on the artwork. The only time I really got mad and made a post about it (people taking me for mboko god) was when some people kept writing comments like “Grand Jov” and more in praise of Jovi under my snippets posted on my Facebook page even when my name “VOC” was / is clearly written on them. I felt like that was deliberate or just completely stupid, so I had to address it. I’m not a copycat. I’m Me. I’m VOC.
237Showbiz: Which Camer artiste(s) will you like to work with in the future and why?
VOC: I won’t mind working with any Cameroonian artist. The only problem is I’m not wack and if I think you’re wack, I’ll have to write your lyrics and coach you (the artist) on how to spit them (the rhythm, tone…etc). I can’t stand wack music and I don’t want to be part of wack music.
237Showbiz: During the period of political instability in the north west, you made a post about the popular ”Mami Ngum” whose voice we hear on the track insulting Atanga Nji Paul. You were to give her a token. Did you fulfil your promise?
VOC: Unfortunately, I haven’t sent “Mami Ngum” anything yet. I was going to do it, posted it on my page, got some messages and comments from some people who said they knew “Mami Ngum” personally and then internet in the Anglophone regions in Cameroon got shut down. That just messed things up and I kind of relaxed a little. I still had her in mind but now that you’ve asked me this question, I believe it’s time for me to act faster. I really would love to have her phone number. There are a lot of scams out there nowadays. “Ah no want make people nack me stick”
237Showbiz: What can you say about the use of ”TOO MUCH” French by anglophone artistes in their songs?
VOC: Everyone is free to use whatever language they want to use in their music but we all know why many Anglophone artists in / from Cameroon are putting a lot of French in their songs / music. Due to the marginalization of Anglophones in / from Cameroon, many Anglophone artists (even those who can not speak good french or pronounce french words correctly) are forcing French into their music to get recognition or buzz. When the French in your music does not sound right, it messes up your music. My point of view is “That’s Not Cool At All!” Be You! Be ORIGINAL. Cameroon is BILINGUAL. If you can’t speak French well, keep doing your music in English or Pidgin English. Stop trying to fit in. That’s fake! If you keep using the language you are good at, they will listen to your music if it’s good.
237Showbiz: What are those ingredients slowing down the progress of the music industry?
VOC: There are a lot but I’ll list 7
1. Disrespect (It’s worldwide)
2. Wack Music (It’s worldwide)
3. Some fans and some artists who believe that garbage music with a good video is good music. Pushing garbage music with a good video will only slow down the growth of the Cameroonian Music Industry because when people from other countries listen to the pushed garbage music, they don’t respect our music industry, thus they don’t see the need to invest in it.
4. Jealousy (It’s worldwide)
5. Piracy (The worst ingredient)
6. A lot of promoters are shady….
237Showbiz: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
VOC: I don’t really know. Maybe an A&R for my own label? Hahaha… I’m just living life one day at a time. I hope to totally be my own BOSS in 5 years though. That’s the dream. I just know that at the end of the day, man proposes and God Disposes.
237Showbiz: Thank you for granting us a chance to sharing your journey in music with us.
VOC: Thank you for granting me this interview. I really appreciate it. God Bless!
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