Behind The Scenes: BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR’S “Make You No Forget”

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE 

Ghanaian-born Brooklyn-based rapper Blitz the Ambassador is out with a new banger, “Make You Know Forget” featuring Seun Kuti – son of Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti.

Blitz leads a pack with "Boys Abr3"

Blitz leads a pack with “Boys Abr3″

“Make You No Forget” blends old school hip-hop with energizing highlife guitar strings and amazing classic horns. Typical of Blitz, the lyrics fit perfectly in to the rhythmic beats and send a wild message to Africans, and everybody around the world not to forget where they come from.

Blitz rides with the 'Visionary"

Blitz rides with the ‘Visionary”

 

These guys are by far the fiercest bikers in Accra

These guys are by far the fiercest bikers in Accra

FLAT LAND BOYS take it up

FLAT LAND BOYS take it up

He releases this song ahead of his upcoming “Afropolitan Dreams” album, which drops on April 28. ACCRA [dot] ALT produced the video in association Embassy MVMT with all the scenes shot in James Town Accra.  A good amount was shot against mural backdrops from last year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival inside the old Kingsway building in Ussher Town. We get to see some rising boxing heroes in the heart of Accra plus the crazy bike stunts by local BMX crew Flat Land Boys.

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BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR FILMS IN JAMES TOWN

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 13 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT

Filming “Make You No Forget” with Blitz in James Town- AkumaDje – photo Mantse Aryeequaye

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 11 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-2-2

Blitz rehearsing his act before the cameras roll inside the Chale Wote mural station- old Kingsway building, Ussher Town Accra. Photo- Mantse Aryeequaye

Blitz the Ambassador was in Accra to set off his world tour for his third studio album #AfropolitanDreams. During the trip, Blitz took time to scout locations and talent for his next film project #BUKOM. Bukom is located in James Town Accra, plus it the boxing capital of Africa, having produced world champs like Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey amongst many. Blitz also shot a music video with ACCRA DOT ALT for his song “Make You No Forget” which features Seun Kuti. Here are some photos from the first day of the shoot, more coming.

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 3 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-7

At the old Kingsway building in Ussher Town Accra- music video shoot for Blitz’s “Make You No Forget”- Photo: Abass Ismail

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 4 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-6

The bike lords from Circus Ghana turn it up on set. Photo- Abass Ismail

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 7 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-4 2

Hanging with bikers at the Light House in James Town, Blitz does his last scene. Photo- Abass Ismail

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James Town Light House- Photo: Abass Ismail

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 6 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-4

Ready to roll, Blitz awaits playback for the first take- “Make You No Forget” video shoot. Photo- Mantse Aryeequaye

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 5 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-5

A few takes later- photo- Abass Ismail.

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 10 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-2

Hold Up! Afropolitan Dreamer- Blitz the Ambassador, Ussher Town Accra. Photo- Abass Ismail

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Blitz in Akumadje-James Town Accra. – photo- Mantse Aryeequaye

BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 1 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT

Old Kingsway mural station- Photo Abass Ismail.

    BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 8 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT-3BLITZ AT OLD KINGS WAY 2 - VIDEO SHOOT 2014-JAMES TOWN- ACCRA DOT ALT

Exclusive Blitz The Ambassador Backstage/Concert photos

Autographs backstage-

Autographs backstage-

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

The Embassy  crew tune up before heading out on stage.

The Embassy crew tune up before heading out on stage.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

A.D.A's Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

A.D.A’s Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

Hola Blak's Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Hola Blak’s Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Blitz's 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

Blitz’s 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

More autographs.

More autographs.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

The horns chale-

The horns chale-

BLITZ CONCERT-HORNS MEN2

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

The cheers didn't stop chale.

The cheers didn’t stop chale.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

The drummer gets some.

The drummer gets some.

Thanks for the love chale

Thanks for the love chale

We got a lot of photos from Blitz the Ambassador’s concert last weekend, so we are going to be sharing it with you all. This line up features photos from backstage before and after the concert. There is more coming, enjoy this in the mean time.

photos by Raveheads

BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR HAS ACCRA CITY DREAMING AGAIN

Blitz takes in all the #Accra love

Blitz takes in all the #Accra love

Going in red and deep. Blitz #AfropolitanDreams concert

Going in red and deep. BlitzTaking it all in- #AfropolitanDreams concert #Accra Taking it all in- #AfropolitanDreams concert #Accra 

 In the shadows. #AfropolitanDreams comncert

In the shadows. #AfropolitanDreams comncert

Afrobeat/Jazz lengend Gyedu Blay Ambolley brought his illest Sax game to the jam. #AfropolitanDreams concert #Accra

Afrobeat/Jazz lengend Gyedu Blay Ambolley brought his illest Sax game to the jam. #AfropolitanDreams concert #Accra

Jamming with the drummer Syd- Embassy MVMT. #Accra

Jamming with the drummer Syd- Embassy MVMT. #Accra

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Blitz The Ambassador is coming to The Talk Party Series

Afropolitan Dreams listening session

Afropolitan Dreams listening session

Blitz The Ambassador is heading to Accra to launch is new album Afropolitan Dreams. On thursday 23rd January we’ll be hosting Blitz at our first Talk Party for 2014 – he’ll walk us through the album before the concert at Alliance Francaise on saturday 25th. See you at the Republic. The Talk Party is free. Advance tickets to the concert are 15ghc.

SIXTH SENSE: 6 New Videos You Must See

by Katharine M. Ortiz + Sionne Neely

SENA DAGADU in James Town, Accra | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

SENA DAGADU in James Town, Accra | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

Nowadays, Ghanaian music is a mixed bag. That’s actually a great thing. The diversity and complexity of this music – which is not new and has always been here – is bubbling more and more on the surface. As testament, here are 6 NEW VIDEOS by fresh artists we dig. In these audiovisual experimentations [in no particular order], you’ll experience different realities reflecting what it means to be Ghanaian.

These are some of the voices of our pop culture. Hear and see them now.
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REWIND: BLITZ the AMBASSADOR x LES NUBIANS [ACCRA, OCT. 2011]

BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR | ACCRA, OCT. 2011

BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR rocks KAYOBI CLOTHING | ACCRA, OCT. 2011

Nothing like a new year to get you easing on down memory lane. While tripping through our archive this morning, we came across these behind-the-scenes shots of Blitz the Ambassador and Les Nubians rehearsing before that killer live homecoming show at Alliance Française back in October 2011. The concert also marked The Ambassador’s first time performing in Ghana in 10 years.

In retrospect, this was the joint that revealed the pulse of the Accra indie music scene in all it’s raw and vibrant glory. We ain’t been the same since.

Brother Blitz, the folks wanna know – when are we on again?

Photos by our Co-Director – Mantse Aryeequaye – for ACCRA [dot] ALT.

Hélène and Célia Faussart are Les Nubians

Hélène and Célia Faussart Are Les Nubians

THE MIGHTY HORNS

THE MIGHTY HORNS

Hélène

Hélène

Célia

Célia

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THE TRIPTYCH TRIPS OUT BROOKLYN

Image

by ROBIN RISKIN for ACCRA [dot] ALT RADIO

SANFORD BIGGERS: I am actually a Japanese artist wearing the mask of a Black man manufactured by a White person to look like your idea of a rapper.

The Brooklyn Museum was buzzing on Thursday night, May 24th. Creatives from all over New York City were decked out in their flyest Afro-prints and chunky glasses, gathered for the screening of The Triptych, the latest documentary film series by Terence Nance, presented by Afro-Punk Pictures and the Weeksville Heritage Center.

TERENCE NANCE: When you need something done, you often look to hire people, but you forget that your friends are capable, creative people, and often make the best team.

You may know Nance, Triptych’s Director, and Shawn Peters, Director of Photography, from their collaboration with Blitz the Ambassador on the short film Native Sun (2011), a 20-minute audio-visual treat shot in Ghana. The two also directed the recent Sundance premiere, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. The Triptych offers a bit more narrative than these abstract delights, but is equally wacky, magical, and visually delicious.

WANGECHI MUTU: The Kikuyu religion that spoke to me was overtaken by Christianity. You had to be Christian in order to be a part of modernity.

The Triptych highlights the work of artists Sanford Biggers, Wangechi Mutu, and Barron Claiborne. The twenty-minute assemblages of interviews, artworks, photographs, text, and abstraction blur the line between life and art, reality and representation. The three profiles, works of art in themselves, are clever, challenging, and laugh-out-loud funny.

BARRON CLAIBORNE: I know how people see me and I know I’m nothing like it. Blackness is an illusion.

CLAIBORNE: “Person” comes from “persona” which means mask…. I’m not really at war with anything. I don’t really care. I just want to do what I want.

BIGGERS: Black black black quack post-black. The way blackness is scrutinized on a daily basis, it fucks your head up. It’s not about the mask, but what’s behind it. The duality ingrained in society and the various avatars within yourself.

The conversations invite us to explore the experiences and observations behind Biggers’s subversive performance and installation pieces, Mutu’s mythical collage creatures, and Claiborne’s beautiful and wry photographs.

WANGECHI MUTU: My creations are mythical, magical, beyond human.

BIGGERS: As an artist, I find history like a sculptural material – malleable – the meanings reassembled to make new features.

The shorts are the first in what promises to be a vibrant and significant series. Nance and Claiborne, Co-Director, conceived the project together, expanded to include Mutu and Biggers, and will continue to chronicle the work, lives, and practices of some of the freshest visual artists today.

NANCE, BIGGERS, MUTU + CLAIBORNE CHOP SHOP

After the films closed, the wit and humor continued through a Q&A led by Ghanaian journalist and writer Esther Armah. The group of four friends could not stop laughing, even while engaging complex racial and socio-historical theory. They touched upon commonalities in the way they embrace grayness and reject binaries of black and white. They addressed the strong family influences that have pushed them in their work, and the challenges they still face in the art market despite their success. Claiborne said that while artists like Damien Hirst have mastered how to monetize their work, many of those who have been labeled as Black artists are still figuring it out. As the audience geared up for applause, Claiborne winked, “Now everyone should pay me $100 on their way out, meet you in the lobby.”

FILMMAKER SAM KESSIE x RAHIEM OF GRANDMASTER FLASH

As if the three gorgeous films and a brilliant Q&A were not enough, the after-party did not disappoint. The artists and filmmakers stuck around to chat with audience-members, while Eclectic Method projected rap video remixes against the glass entrance. Claiborne kept his camera going the whole night, making live art portraits in front of his signature bright print screen.

YASIIN BEY aka THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS MOS DEF

Celebrity spottings included Mos Def a.k.a. Yasiin Bey, Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash, Ghanaian filmmaker Sam Kessie and Rwandan electropop singer Iyadede aka “That Girl from Africa.”

IYADEDE, SAM KESSIE + ROBIN RISKIN POSE UP

Good thing Brooklyn’s finest photographers were out to capture the fabulous evening. It was one dope night of art, film, and music…and should be just the first of many.

*photos + words by Robin Riskin aka @rriskinitall