WEDU Arts Plus

S9 E24 | CLIP

924: Chael Blinya

Tampa resident Chael Blinya is a Ghanaian-American rapper and writer who uses language and music to share his perspective.

AIRED: December 31, 2020 | 0:06:35
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TRANSCRIPT

Hello, I'm Dalia Colon and this is WEDU Arts Plus.

Ghanaian American artist, Chael Blinya,

is a connoisseur of words.

He uses his talent to write and perform rap

that reflects his perspective and experiences,

but his love of writing

goes far beyond the scope of songwriting.

(upbeat hip hop music)

- [Chael] I'm not concerned with everything else

while I'm doing it, it just feels very innate,

but I think the biggest thing I can hope for

is that they enjoy it

and if they don't enjoy it, at least appreciate it

because you might not like something,

but you can still respect that there's like work and effort

that got put into this, you know?

So I think acknowledgement maybe,

but nothing more than that.

I got it, okay.

Uh, this is distorted portion of Hortland

Who hears the who

Who hears is who

Who is Dr. Seuss

Simple rhymes, elementary book

I do it every time

I don't feel like I gotta catch the hook

Yeah

- [Isak] I think before me and Chael kinda got to like

a certain limit where I was like, okay, I got all the,

you know, all my basics, you know, I know what I'm doing

and then like, when I started working with Chael,

like, you know, just, I started pushing myself,

he started pushing me, you know, like to keep up with the

caliber of lyricism that he was already at.

- [Charles] You really see the intention and the love

that he puts into his work and his performance

and then getting to know him there, you,

like you still see the work and how it follows through.

So there are times where Chael might be rapping to himself

or repeating a line

to get the cadence and the flexion just right.

He's constantly writing and rewriting

and exploring different ways to approach things

and that carries over to his music.

I mean, as an artist myself,

I feel like I know tons and tons and tons of musicians,

I know tons of artists

and Chael's craft and the,

the heart that he puts into his craft

is definitely different

from a lot of other people that I've come across.

The 99 and 2004

The cash money dropping

So I'm coming back

- [Chael] I come from Ghanaian also,

I was born in Accra Ghana in 1998

and I've been here since 2003, that's 17 years.

I came here a week before I turned five,

then in 2004, we moved into our house

and I've been there since.

My childhood was,

it was a pretty like pedestrian childhood, you know?

I'm pretty sheltered,

so a lot of my time was spent within my neighborhood,

you know, my next door neighbor is now,

like they're African too,

so we just kind of grew up in that,

that same sheltered lifestyle of this is where we are.

If we're not here, we're at school,

if we're not at school, we're at church.

Performing, I would say

started when I was like maybe like three, four

'cause I was that kid at that party on the dance floor

from the moment the party starts to the ending of it.

So I would say I attribute my stage performance and presence

to those early days, just DNA, nature of a person.

You hear music, put on a show.

My writing days

probably go all the way back to like first grade,

but sixth grade, I would say

that's when that writing translated from

more formal styles of writing

to more like poetic and creative forms of writing,

where I'm no longer writing in complete sentences,

I'm writing and making up my own language, essentially,

out of the English language

and just having fun and going crazy.

I don't think the writing and performing

have anything to do with each other.

I think the performing

is just embedded in who I am as a person

and the writing is something completely separate.

- [Charles] Watching Chael from a stranger's point of view,

he can seem like a very standoffish person

and then he gets on stage and he just explodes

and you're like, where did this come from?

This quiet guy who is not speaking to anybody.

Arm and Hammer smooth

Now camera's baggy loose

Pants and lateral shuffle stance

Shoulder roll with that roadblock on

We took a chance and danced

Cause E equaled MC

Previous to MC

Perceived it square

- [Isak] I do a bulk of the behind the scenes work,

so you know, I'm mixing masters music, recording,

make a lot of the, the beats, do all of the music videos.

I do all of the technical things

to get everything out of his head, into the, you know,

to make it tangible.

It goes on and and on, man

On and on like et cetera

(rapping)

Multiple dimension

Comprehension precise

Division of religion

Court decision

(rapping)

- [Chael] Our friend Scorpio is very talented.

(laughter)

He's, he's a very diverse, diversely talented individual

so it makes me not want to just wake up

and not give my best effort

because you have somebody who's literally

just like a one-stop shop for, for creative collaboration

and I have a lot of ideas,

but I don't have the patience

to learn the technical side of it.

With Charles, I think Charles just holds me accountable

and I, I'll say with Charles,

he's very outspoken about how good my art is

and I would be a fool to just wake up and stop making art

and you have this person that's shouting your name

at the top of the mountains.

- [Charles] There's definitely something

incredibly special about Chael.

He has a quality to him, he has a flare to him

that you won't find anywhere else.

Watching PBS after school

While my parents were gone

- [Chael] We all know how hip hop is the trend

in the media and in different outlets,

so I think the fear of my parents

thinking that I'm going to dive into this art form

and change the way I behave as a human being

is probably what allowed me to get to the root

of the art form that I actually enjoy,

which is the writing and the ability to bend words

and get really creative.

It wasn't easy, but I think I'm finally at a point

where I can create hip hop and not worry about it not being

like a stereotypical type of hip hop

and it just being my own brand of hip hop.

Now Mr. Benjamin

Tie the knot for him

Lucky Thomas Jefferson

Check this out, my wallet says

Misfortune lingers inside of all them crevices

Crinkle cotton fibers of them Hamilton

- [Charles] It's a work in progress,

but it's a movement that won't be stopped.

- [Chael] The art keeps me centered,

it keeps me grounded, it keeps me focused.

It just doesn't allow my mind to wander and stay idle.

It allows me to have purpose in everything I do,

just because I know at the end of it,

the art will probably help somebody else.

- [Dalia] For more information,

visit