924: Chael Blinya
Tampa resident Chael Blinya is a Ghanaian-American rapper and writer who uses language and music to share his perspective.
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
- [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
Division of religion
- [Chael] Our friend Scorpio is very talented.
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,