Nana Wants His Music To Change The World

With his latest song “Motion,” the Los Angeles native hopes that his art will inspire the masses.

Over the last several years, the Los Angeles hip hop scene has produced numerous rappers who have gone on to have a major impact on the game and Nana is one of those emerging voices that you need to know. A native of Crenshaw, Nana has been christened “L.A. 's Next Best Storyteller” with the vivid imagery he conveys as an exceptional lyricism.

Nana, which translates to “King” in Akan, has been craving a unique niche for himself, and with every song that he drops, he garners more acclaim as an artist to watch. After honing his skills in LA’s indie scene, he released his debut “Nana’s EP” in 2018 and  "Save Yourself" in 2020 to rave reviews.

His last album "From the District to the World" is a “deeply personal narrative influenced by his upbringing in Crenshaw, his Ghanaian roots, and family ties to London.” Combining the LA sound with a jazz fusion of hip-hop, the album was a showcase of his growth as an artist and as a man.

2024 is shaping up to be one of Nana’s best years as he is preparing to drop several projects now that he is in a creative zone. He is seeking to place his name as among the best in the game.

Nana’s perspective is unique as his parents are immigrants from Ghana, which is considered the “gateway to Africa”, at time when Afrobeats and other music from the continent is currently receiving global attention. He spoke about how the influence of Ghana is impacting Black people across the Diaspora.

“It seems like every December, everybody is going to Ghana, and it's beautiful to see,” “Nana laughed. “Obviously, my parents are from Ghana and it's the only place I have been to in Africa. I do want to explore places in Africa but Ghana is so beautiful, and the people are very welcoming. It feels like home. I've had people from my neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles that have gone there and they told me that it felt like home.”

Along with his Ghanaian roots, Nana was raised in a strict Christian home where his father founded one of the first African churches in Los Angeles and his mother ran her own business. He said that his upbringing helped foster his creativity and kept him from going too far when he was on the street. He always remembered the lessons that were taught to him by his parents.

“Our household was very strict but very cultured. I was very aware of things that were being taught to me that a lot of my other friends weren't fortunate enough to get. Just having that solid foundation as a kid, even though I made mistakes, the discipline at home was very on point and would get me back in shape,” he recalled.

Nana’s love of hip hop was cultivated by his sister who made sure he was up on all the new music and watching his favorite artists on BET. Seeing his idols perform on TV allowed him to envision a future for himself as an artist.

“My sister always comes home with the latest music. I was inspired by watching shows like “106 and Park” and I wanted it to be like everybody that I was seeing,” Nana said. “I have so many favorite memories associated with watching Free and A.J. and it shaped me because it just felt different. It inspired me because of Nelly, Jay-Z, and Kanye. They were like superheroes to me.”

According to Nana, the LA hip hop scene was the best proving ground for an MC because of the sheer level of talented rappers who were trying to make a name for themselves at the time. He shared that he was an eyewitness to how some of Southern California’s biggest rap stars got their start.

“I came up listening to a lot of the guys who were part of the Los Angeles Renaissance, like Pac Div, U-N-I, Don Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, and the whole TDE. They helped to ignite the landscape of rap music in Los Angeles. It was just fun to see and to be a part of it because there was always music dropping and a show to go to. I can’t forget about Nipsey Hustle who was also there. He was part of that new wave of energy in Los Angeles which was amazing and inspiring to see.”

His last project, "From the District to the World" was released when some parts of the country still had covid restrictions. But it was during that time, he said he tried to focus on being a better artist although he was frustrated that he couldn’t perform for his fans like he normally would.

“We weren't able to really travel as much so I felt like I was kind of cheated out of a tour, and all the other experiences that we had lined up at the time that we weren't able to carry through just due to COVID-19 restrictions But at the same time, I do know that it was a great time to, you know, be creative, because all people had was music.

Nana is excited to share his new music that he hopes will inspire and heal the masses. Making the most of the moment, he recently released his newest song "Motion” which will further cement him as a rapper on the rise who brings a resonating insight to his songwriting.

Above all, Nana doesn’t make music for popularity but to leave an indelible imprint on the game with his authentic artistry.  Borrowing from his father, he believes that “music can be a ministry.”

“Legacy is something sustainable that I want to leave behind that people can live with, you know, and I die to. That's the type of music that I would like to not only make, but that's the type of impact I don't want to leave behind,” Nana explained. 

Life isn't promised and every day you have to be grateful if you're healthy and if you’re mentally well because everybody isn't in that state,” he went on. “Whenever anybody tells me ‘I was gonna kill myself but your music got me through it,’ I don't take that lightly. I take great responsibility for the gift that God has given me.”

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