The latest single from Freetown hip hop artist, Paps, is out this month with the cheekiest B-side you’ll ever come across. “Freetown Girls”, the catchy and upbeat dancehall flavoured A-side is partnered by the frenetic and funny “Banana Them Want”.
Freetown Girls is a great track for fans of Black & Yellow by Wiz Khalifa or any of T-Pain’s work. The syncopated beat and catchy refrain mean that it is bound to be a hit on the radio stations in Sierra Leone and even the dance floors of Europe. This is a remarkable achievement given that the man behind the music, “Paps”, lives on just $1 a day in a country which is still healing after a vicious civil war.
Helped by a team of friends in the UK, Paps is hoping to create a sustainable livelihood for the artists and musicians of Freetown, under the label “Street Talent Productions”. While living costs in Sierra Leone are as low as $25 per month, recording costs are commensurate with rates in the rest of the world, making music production an expensive and out-of-reach exercise. Paps hopes to raise money from the sale of his singles to pay for recording for other artists and exposure for the artwork of the city’s many graffiti artists.
The difficulties of making music pay in a West African nation don’t get Paps down, however, and the music released to date is characterised by pulsating, energetic beats and a feel-good vibe.