Originally from New Haven, Akua Naru has succeeded reaching an outstanding place among the top of a Hip-hop scene striving for an open and progressive artist. She has been able to break through a sexist environment with her boombox in one hand and her unbeatable state of mind on the other. Her feminine flow combined with a deep meaningful and committed poetry has given her the opportunity to sing side by side with personalities such as Wax Taylor. On top of that, her song “The world is listening” shattered the U.S. charts. She triumphed combining the best from the new and old school, keeping her consistent and well-defined personality while defending her political views through unique and elaborated metaphors.
Jacker / Can you introduce yourself to our readers ?
Akua Naru / My name is Akua Naru, I’m a political Hip-hop artist, I’m an activist, also a lover of music, performer, friend, jazz lover, spoken soul musician. That’s what I call myself now.
J / What were your influences before evolving to what you are nowadays ?
A / I grew up in the church, in the black church, so the first music I ever heard was gospel music. You hear a lot the roots of black music, so... I grew up later listening to jazz, to soul, funk, and reggae. All these musicians were my influences, especially the truth tellers like Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfiel, Daniel Attaway. Where the message and music are two very important characteristics.
J / What is your philosophy concerning the whole Hip-hop scene, considering you are implicated as a female artist in a very sexist scene ?
A / The thing is I’m a woman, so I was a little girl before. I don’t know anything else. I’ve been making Hip-hop my whole life. I started when I was really young, around 6 or 7 years old. I’ve been rhyming my entire life since then. This is all I know. I can’t really compare this to anything else. It saddens me that more women could get support in Hip Hop than they get. When I was growing up, there were more women, more images, more ideas, for what women could be in HipHop. It didn’t have to be super sexual, you didn’t have to be objectified, you could rap in some baggy jeans. They were just different images, representations of what female MCs. It saddens me that today it’s not the case in mainstream HipHop. There are loads of female MCs who are ill, who are killin’ it. They don’t get the support on the mainstream level, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I think that the Internet is creating a lot of opportunities for a lot of people, not just for women. Traditionally we don’t have a normal level of corporate support. I got a lot of opportunities as a women making Hiphop music with a very, in my opinion, political, progressive message. And I’m grateful for that, I keep doing what I’m doing and apparently the people who come to the concerts are interested in supporting an artist for the music that they like, they are not stuck into sexist ways of thinking. They don’t think “we can’t support her ‘cause she’s a woman”. The world is becoming more and more progressive. People are willing to support messages that they agree with, wether male or female. I think it is important that I tell the truth, my truth... It’s not black, it’s not white. It’s just true, just a mirror of what is a reality. I write from a female space because I am a woman and I have an impact from how I see the world. But I also write from a space which is gender neutral. It’s just about a message, about anybody who speaks the truth. We relay to it, not because of the bodies which we are in, but because of our experience as human beings on the planet and our honesty to accept the truth.
J / How do you see the Hip-hops evolution ?
A / I have no idea. I live it day by day. The only thing I can say is that with the Internet and the new technologies, we are creating more and more spaces, opportunities for progressive content and different kind of stories to be told, an alternative to the mainstream. The opportunity to be heard by larger audiences is just awesome. I don’t know how the future will be nor its music, but I’m interested to know, I’m not a fortuneteller... (Laughs)
J / Who would you like to collaborate with ?
A / You know, it would be my dream to collaborate with Black Thought. If I could do a track with Black Thought, it would be a dream.
J / How did you come to Digflo ?
A / I moved to Germany, I wanted to put together a band. It came together naturally, I have no idear of how. I wanted it to be called Digflo because I love the name.
J / We can see loads of ghetto blasters on your pics. What does this object represent for you ?
A / It represents power and Hip-hop, urban culture. I used to collect them. When I started travelling, I left lot of stuff. But I still have one.
J / Nowadays you are producing and based in Cologne. How do you feel there ?
A / Great ! They are really a lot of cool artists here, a really nice music scene... The city is very very supportive with my project. I love this city for that.
J / How was it to work with Wax Taylor ?
A / It was awesome. I like him a lot. Before he sent me the music, we talked a lot. He is a really really hard worker. He’s very talented and he loves HipHop. I love people who loves Hip-hop. He is very serious about his music, about where he wants to take it. I just have a lot of respect for him as an artist, as a person. I really appreciate his way. He also inspired me. Was really great to be invited to feature a track with him, a good experience.
J / Do you have some projects for 2013 ?
A / Absolutly. I am working on my new album now. We just recorded some tracks for it. I’m really excited and happy about it. Should be out end of this year. That’s what I am working on basically.
J / Last words ?
A / Yeah, I just wanna send a shout out to Jacker Magazine who got up early in the morning this sunday to speak to me. Thank you for the support, I appreciate.