Sometime ago in the spring of 2013 (southern hemisphere), an ambitious young artist named Yinks made contact with the Lavatory Records Founder and Managing Director, Thato Keikelame. This is evidence of the powers of the Internet and social media networking. What first impressed us at Lavatory Records about Yinks, was his sleek website which tells you the man is about his business! This go-getter has already established relationships and networks with international managers in the music business globally.
Born Kofi Akwabi Yinkah in Accra, Ghana, the man known as Yinks’ story is that of a young man who’s literally “come too far” and won’t be turning back anytime soon, as there’s just no quit in him. In this exclusive interview Yinks opens up about his thoughts on the industry, his ambitions and his plans for the future.
Lavatory Records: Yinks, what brought you over to South Africa? Was it to primarily pursue your education and only then did music become your ambition? How did your journey into the arts begin?
Yinks: Arriving at the University Of Lesotho from Ghana the sole intention was to study. I then transferred to South Africa (SA) to pursue the same agenda, but the music found me everywhere I went to. All in all, I can say it’s a bit of both because to me education is key and the music talent is also a gift from God so can’t reject either of them, I balance both music and education simultaneously.
Lavatory Records: Who were your favorite artists and producers that you looked up to while growing up, even currently?
Yinks: I grew up listening to Nas and Biggy (Notorious B.I.G. or Big Poppa). My junior high school mates even called me “Escoba Nastradamus” as a nickname (laughs). It was that deep for me. As for producers I liked what Mannie Fresh was doing for Lil’ Wayne’s group, the Hot Boys, at that time. Currently, I’m crazy about what “London on the track” is doing for Cash Money records.
Lavatory Records: Do you see forests or trees? Meaning, are you a bigger picture person or more detail-orientated?
Yinks: I talk big and I visualize big! I’m also lucky to have friends who share the same big ideologies as I do. I always look at the bigger picture of things, in “pharaoh style” fashion. The bigger the pyramid, the more sacred it is.
Lavatory Records: Where do you see the direction of the music industry going, especially with the Internet changing the dynamics within the game?
Yinks: I see more indie labels shutting down if they don’t keep up with both the old and the new system. Operating in a 360 manner could help such labels to stay in business. More artist these days are going indie, taking calculated risks to release their own music with no restrictions and the internet has made it possible, but must also say that getting a record deal or distribution deal is strongly beneficial since it gives one access to bigger finances.
Lavatory Records: For all those who don’t know “Yinks”, what would you like people to know about Yinks and what can they expect?
Yinks: I’m a very shy person but I cover (camouflage) it! I love human beings and have sympathy. Basically I’m the man “with the good heart”, but don’t cross the line. I make hits only, I don’t force it, once I’m on the song its a must hit! Give me a “wack” beat and I will make a hit out of it. This is more than rap its biblical.
Lavatory Records: Which artists or producers are you currently working with or shared a stage with?
Yinks: I have a debut L.P. ‘The Red Carpet’ on the way! On it I worked with some great talents in S.A like Kalvin-K, L.I Beats, Gemi Mchugo, 2nyce, Cj, Maako from Ghana, also Kimz in Lagos Nigeria, Londoun from the U.S.A. and finishing off something pretty soon with Es Q from the Dmv in the U.S.A.
As for the production side I work with Jailed-on Fire, Mr Platinum, Lobby 808, Simmy-On The Beat, 2siikk and I am meeting some new guys I intend working with on my next project. I have recently also done some external works with Koolaid from Scranton U.S.A., Ray Mupats and Tre Unlimited – all great talents.
Lavatory Records: Interesting thing about you is that you have dropped a significant amount of singles during your career, any reason as to why we have not had a full-length album from you?
Yinks: Patience is virtue, staying relevant is a must. I decided from the start that pushing out a full L.P. on the spot was going to fade me out in a minute (quickly), I call that suicide because its just like you digging your own grave (laughs). So I dropped a single in 2012 after being in the studio from 2011 recording all 12 vocals for all the separate singles. I then followed up with another single in 2013, then again in 2014. For 2015 though, I personally feel it’s a special year. I am going to be dropping 2 singles to close the single release chapter. Which makes it 4 singles and with that I feel I will be ready to unleash the beast ‘The Red Carpet’ L.P. in early 2016 if God permits.
Lavatory Records: You have great musical networks globally; can you give us some insight on how they all came about?
Yinks: We have little stars coming out of Africa in terms of the Hip-Hop and RnB culture. We have some Afro-Pop guys like Dbanj, Davido, Wizkid etc, doing well in that sector but with hip hop, I still see Akon and French Montana as the only ones who made it. That’s the space I want to step into. I’m about to be the world’s next biggest brand and with that, you have to expand within music and the business side of it. So I saw the need to have associates and territory managers in countries with bigger markets like Japan, UK, Germany, U.S.A and Canada. I can assuredly say we have representatives in all these countries.
Lavatory Records: What has your experience in South Africa and Lesotho been like, in general as well as the music industry? What do you find is lacking in South Africa and also what’s good about it?
Yinks: I learned a lot in Lesotho, over there was more like the “initiation stage”. I became lyrically powerful over there .The streets out there appreciate lyrical content and they still practice real hip hop with freestyle cyphers, battle raps etc. I hope to sign an artist from there someday, I feel indebted to Lesotho. On the other hand S.A. has been alright, Africa’s entertainment power house, the industry out here has a structure, in terms of royalties, copyrights, publishing, licensing, distribution, attorneys, radio etc, it has it all in place. I think some of the artists out here should project their craft to an external level, do more international features and tours. There’s more potential for S.A. hip hop to grow worldwide as everything is in place. S.A. has got so much talent from producers to rappers to singers. The radio and the media in general should open up more for these guys to showcase their skill. I want to one day wake up and see the S.A. hip hop industry stifled and packed with 40 rappers actively on the scene and all making money (Laughs).
Lavatory Records: As Lavatory Records is a solutions-for-artists modeled organization, what changes would you like to see being made in order to help artists put themselves out there? Any suggestions? Be as honest as you want to be.
Yinks: I am a Lavatory Records client. They are great master minders; I think their level of planning is something that will elevate S.A hip hop. I hope more artists discover and work with them to save their dying (ailing) careers. As for me all is going well so far but will be open to expressing my opinions should I see any discrepancies there.
Lavatory Records: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
Yinks: A lot but let me be brief. Big shouts to my IT solution management Gray Mouse Technologies, my marketing strategic management Lavatory Records, my perfume endorser Jason Viviers Perfumes, my jewelry/ accessories sponsors Carly Beads Global, L.I. mixing and mastering/audio distribution, my worldwide management, promoters and the whole Team Yinks Group.
We thank Yinks for taking the time to do this interview. His next single “Mushin’ To LA” is currently viral on Nigerian Blogs, as a pre-release snippet.
Follow Yinks’ road to glory on Facebook and Twitter @Yinksofficial.