The term Kumerica was coined by two young Ghanaians named Wesley Osei Ampratwu AKA Blaq Foreigner, and Michael Owusu AKA Armani Sosa respectively. These two original members of the group Akataboyz music group grew up in a town located in Kumasi called Tanoso which is known for the Yaa Asantewaa Girls senior high school — an elite girls school in Ghana.
Kumerica, a hybrid word from the words Kumasi and America, has today grown into a cultural identity that has spread like wildfire in the dry season across Ghana’s garden city of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. It has successfully found its place in hearts by way of the internet.
So, TheAfricanDream.net set itself on a path to learn more about this infectious craze that is gaining global attention, we made some interesting finds.
To get to the source of this craze, we did some investigations that took us to the doorsteps of Blaq Foreigner, and Armani Sosa, both of whom started pursuing music professionally in 2016. The two recorded their eponymous first single titled Akataboyz in January 2020 which started underground and spread to online music stores, it eventually broke the internet in mid-2020 when it went viral.
The Genesis of Akataboyz, their blow up, Kumerica, and Asakaa
By June of 2020 Akataboyz had raked over 50,000 streams on their Audiomack page which is now verified with a total stream of over 113k since then. They have over 17k following on Instagram.
That is when the crew realized that they were on to something bigger. “Starting with nothing but merely a strong passion and love for music and a burning desire for originality, we gave it all our hearts,” the two told TheAfricanDream.net from their Tanoso Kumasi base. “We looked up to American acts like the late Pop Smoke who is considered as the face of New York (NY) Brooklyn Drill music in the United States (US).”
Other US-based rappers that inspired the Ghanaian duo include Compton California-born Roddy Ricch and rapper-activist Meek Mill. The Akataboyz founders disclosed that their team now managed by Jeezy has grown into over a dozen members.
“Together they shot into the spotlight when they came out with singles like Akataboyz, Kumerica Yaba (audio released June and video September, all this year), and Guy Guy. The audio and respective videos for some of these tracks streamed over 65k times in under a month and almost 75k and above on respective YouTube channels,” Jeezy said.
Jeezy also told TheAfricanDream.net that the group to carve a niche for itself associated with the newly invented musical genre Asakaa which is from the word Saka — a language spoken by youths in Kumasi that is a mixture of English and Twi but different from the popular West African Pidgin English.
“We are excited to see Asakaa take shape and grow,” said Jeezy who credited the originators of the genre by acknowledging that, “our brothers at Life living Record started the Asakaa, and we got involved with the exposure we had with them on many occasions.”
The quest for originality amidst cultural mergers
These Kumericans started as Trap musicians because they thought it wasn’t common in Ghana at the time, thus they saw opportunities there too according to Jeezy, himself a young entrepreneur with a passion for creative arts. “Seeing my brothers doing music, gave me the green light to manage their career with my experience from living outside the country and learning from different cultures and people.”
Kumerica has broken the internet more than once in Ghana, become globally recognized with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label signee Vic Mensa (of Ghanaian-American lineage) giving it props online, and the single by Strongman and Ypee titled Kumerica also shining bright the Kumerican light globally.
For Yeezy, the whole phenomenon is not only about copying American culture, but channeling it to share the history of Ashanti culture in particular and Africanness in general. He believes “…as the originators of Kumerica, we feel responsible for ensuring that the positivity of this online sensation goes a long way to empower the black man, whether on the African continent or anywhere in the Diaspora.“
“America happens to be a place where most people aspire to be, but we want to create our own America right here in Ghana, West Africa, so people all over can look within themselves and their immediate environments to work at their dreams by working together as a team and believing in their sacrifice,” he added.
The shoutouts and what’s coming next
The Akataboyz in-house producer Cmobb, also happens to be part of the team’s vocalists and is the owner of Cmobb Records. He told TheAfricanDream.net that the crew is currently working to release their EP on Christmas day of 2020.
“I want to say big ups to Brabenk, Carty of Bantama, Yaw Tog, Kawabanga, and Ryan The Kid plus all spreading the Kumerica and Asakaa love. We’re also sending an early invite to all our fans and supporters to our EP drop this December 25th,” said Cmobb.
There are no female members in the group, but the door is open to, and welcomes women that want to work with or join them. Akataboyz in their spare time embark on local trips to propagate the Kumerican culture, they also enjoy shooting pool and are working on increasing their 5 singles on online music stores.
“We have completed work on the Guy Guy music video with MC Polo which goes live late in Ghana at 11PM on November 5, which is early morning on the US east coast November 6 at 2AM,” said Jeezy.
Find the Akataboyz officially on Instagram as akata_boyz, Twitter as AKATABOYZ1, and on Audiomack as Akataboyz.
Written by Oral Ofori