"I'VE GOT A SAM SHARPE MIND AND A TONGUE TO MATCH
FEEL THE 'LASS INNA MI PALM WHEN I TOUCH THE RAPS..."
ANDRE JAHNOI - SHERIFF JOHN BROWN
I view my music as the continuation of the ancient art of the Griots, those West Afrikan oral story-tellers who for generations have acted as the primary guardians and disseminators of historical and cultural wisdom. This tradition of transmission of knowledge through lyrics over drums is a vital component of our heritage, handed down to us via the many branches of derivatives created by the displaced children of Afrika wherever in the diaspora they found themselves. My main exposure to this age-old custom came through the sounds of Reggae (on which I was raised), and subsequently Dancehall and Hip-hop, both of which first properly peaked my interest in my early teens. Throughout my music, it is the influence of these genres which can be most strongly felt, but more recently I have cast my net wider and now find inspiration in almost all music of Afrikan origin, from Marimba, Rhumba and Samba to Jazz, Motown and Blues. Also, during my time in Oxford, I was exposed to and became greatly inspired by the art of spoken word poetry, particularly by the distinct emphasis on the power of the word and the efficacy and creativity with which they were wielded. The ability of writers such as Anthony Anaxagorou to so masterfully grip the ear through the rhythm of their tongue whilst conveying such depth and complexity of knowledge, experience and emotion remains an aspiration to this day.
I started writing lyrics at the age of 15 and, under the moniker A. Maluka, I experimented with a variety of styles and flows, eventually compiling a diverse catalogue of music, varying in genre (including Reggae, Dancehall, Hiphop, Afrikan Spiritual, Grime, Ska) but consistent in their Caribbean influence, positive message and emphasis on transmission of knowledge. Throughout that period, alongside an evolution of political thought, I have worked towards and experienced constant progression in my ability to put words together over beats in a way that is both pleasant and interesting to the ear. Partially informed by hours upon hours of forensically breaking down Nas and Jr. Gong tracks into their basic structures and rhyme schemes in an attempt to comprehend how the minds of the very best construct their art, the complexity and variety of my lyrical compositions have been rapidly increasing and my flows continue to develop with constant practice and experimentation. Also, in line with my principals of self-sufficiency, I have always written, recorded and mixed all of my music myself in my make-shift home studio and so, alongside developing the content of my music, I have also been working hard to improve my capabilities on the technical side to ensure that the music is of the best quality possible.
I have now forged my own unique musical style blending the complex lyricism of Hip hop with the energy and melody of Dancehall whilst maintaining the revolutionary Pan-Afrikan consciousness of roots reggae. Now performing under my birth name, André Jahnoi, I feel that my sound is finally ready to be heard the world over. My new mixtape Sesa Wo Suban represents the culmination of many years of hard work and serves both as a demonstration of the progress I have undergone and an introduction to all that is to come!