PROFESSION: Agent Of Change
LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
Formerly known as Rocamic, Kwame Agyeman has re-emerged as CHĀNJE, an artist unabashedly looking to skip the mould entirely and break the game instead.
Despite only just arriving as a recording artist, the Sydney-based 28-year-old has surfaced fully formed – in style, sound and aesthetic – having been one of the city’s most formidable MCs for over ten years.
His nascent potential first recognised while working high-end retail at 18, the owners of The Bank nightclub in Kings Cross invited CHĀNJE to MC one of their nights. He killed it, and from there he hosted alongside some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing stages with Lil Wayne and YMCMB, The Game, Ice Cube & Sons, YG and Ty Dolla $, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller and Tyga, just to name a few.
While at the peak in his field however, CHĀNJE sank to his own personal low, struggling with addiction and the excesses of the lifestyle. Recognising and severing the patterns that were holding him back, CHĀNJE broke from the scene and reassessed, returning back with new clarity.
Along the way he met Italian producer Pax, the pair partnering on CHĀNJE first moves into creating his own tracks.
“The reason why I chose music, music’s all around me,” says CHĀNJE. “Music took me out of a deep, depressed state. It helped me clean up my life. I was battling a lot of things in life, and I had to find something to help me overcome it.”
“Whenever I hear music, I just go into the zone with whatever is in my heart, or whatever’s on my mind. My music that I make is from real life experiences. I don’t talk shit in any of my tracks. Everything I experience in my life, you can hear through my music. It is what it is.”
Now, CHĀNJE has set his sights on new heights, the results clear to be seen in his debut single Now U Know.
Defined by a sleek flow, sophisticated production and a fluid aesthetic, CHĀNJE smoothly rolls through rap, hip hop and R&B, unconstrained by any one genre or style. Instead, he sets his own path and follows it with steadfast faith.
Now U Know is CHĀNJE’S past, present and future delivered in a new beginning, and now that he’s started there’s no stopping – the single just the first in a series of completed tracks ready for release this year.
His objective is clear, CHĀNJE is going to make music; “Not just any music. It has to be life changing, first of all, and it has to be timeless. I want to make timeless music that people in 20 years time will be able to still listen to and bump their head, or feel a positive way about it. That’s the objective.
B.O.B: Can you tell us how you got into hip-hop and music in general?
C:My brother’s used to blast 2pac and Biggie whilst my parents were away, pretending to perform outside in the backyard to our neighbours. That’s where my love of music started.
B.O.B: What does the name CHĀNJE mean to you?
C: It’s about the process of change I had to make in my life to get to this point.
B.O.B: You have been quoted as saying that your music needs to be life-changing and timeless at both the same time, how do you go about creating music that combines both of these narratives?
C: Just making sure the lyrics I write to each beat are heart-felt and true. The music that you’ll hear from me is either a reflection of my pain and life-struggles or music that brings life to the soul.
B.O.B: When you first discovered that you wanted to pursue music was there ever a moment when you thought that music would turn from a hobby into a career?
C: The time when I was in the backyard with my brothers lol.
B.O.B: Tell us about how you met your new producer PAX?
C: I met PAX through another artist called Inferno. Inferno played me a beat from PAX that he was working on for his next single and I thought it was super dope. So I told him to take me there that night. Inferno called PAX, he told us to come through and the rest is history.
B.O.B: It seems that you live in Sydney. You’ve seen the lock-out laws coming into the play over the last year or two. A lot of the live music venues in Sydney are slowly going out of the business. What kind of seeds need to be planted so we can get our cultureback in our city?
C: The government needs to relax on the laws. Live music isn’t hurting anyone!
B.O.B: What are some things that motivate you to want to succeed?
C: Well I just want to be in a good position to be able to create opportunities for those who have a God-giving talent but don’t have a platform to showcase it.
B.O.B: What do you think about the Australian scene on the international scale? Do you think it compares to everywhere else?
C: The Australian scene is definitely on the come-up. I think this is the best time for any artist in Australia to want to pursue music as were still a young country.
B.O.B:If you could work with any three music artists, dead or alive, who would you work with and why?
C: Lecrae, Ace Hood, 2Pac.
These three artists all have something, they’re all poets and that’s what I aspire to be like. Their narrative is on point and they deliver meaning full lyrics.
Each artist has inspired me to become the artist I am and artist that I’ll become.
B.O.B: Tell us a little bit about your background and how it inspired your creativity at an early age?
C: I’m from Ghana, West Africa. We’re well known for Hi-Life and lately Afrobeats. A great mix of hip-hop and cultural hi-life. It uses the melodic and main rhythmic played with Western instruments. My dad was always playing it around the house when I was younger.
B.O.B: If the world to end tomorrow because of an impending apocalypse and money was not a factor, where would you go and what would you do in the remaining 24 hours?
C: Take my family and friends to Vegas lol, then catch a private jet and travel to all the exotic islands.
B.O.B: Where do you see yourself in five years with your music career and do you
think living in Australia has held you back or has been a good thing for going into the international scene?
C: Well I’ve only been doing music for 5 months and counting, I’ve still got a long way to go, I still have a lot of learning to do and a lot of mistakes to make.
By then my craft will be refined enough to collaborate with international artists which will potentially lead me to one day holding up a Grammy and a Billboard award.
B.O.B: What do you think about the state of Australian hip-hop and do you think it is potentially possible to bring an Aussie artist overseas?
C: You already have the likes of Manu Crooks who has toured internationally and is currently performing at Rolling Loud Miami. It’s definitely possible for any artist to blow up in another country because of the Internet and social media being so easily accessible these days.
B.O.B: Who in Australian hip-hop do you respect? Is there anyone specific in the Australian or American game that you would like to collaborate with, in the near future?
C: I respect all Australia Hip-Hop artists who are trying to make a living off music. There are a few artist who are putting the scene on the map and continue to pave the way such as Manu Crooks, Kwame, Blessed, B Wise, Spacely, Anfa Rose, The Kid Laroi.
B.O.B: What kind of impact would you like to see your music have upon the universe?
C: I want to create timeless music that uplifts people’s spirit.
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Had the pleasure of performing alongside Candice on Friday night at Bankwest Stadium before the Tigers and Raiders game. I must say it was quite the experience. First time using in ears ? that ish was LITT? and annoying at the same time, plus it was my first time performing in front of a crowd of 20,000+ people. I was a little nervous but once I stepped out on that field it was a wrap. This is only the beginning, I promise you…. I won’t stop and I won’t quit. Thank you for all the love and support ❤️ All praise to the most high! #igy
B.O.B: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
C: I come up with my best work (melodies/ideas) whilst I’m in the shower.
INTERVIEW By: @willysworldaus