Desmond Kwesi Blackmore (D-Black) is driven. He juggles several hats: actor, musician, executive producer, music entrepreneur and CEO of Ghana based ‘Black Avenue Works,’ a marketing and advertising firm, while making it look so easy. Barely two and a half years of launching his career as a full time musician, he is gaining recognition across the African continent for his music and quality music videos. We have been keeping an eye on D-Black for a while now and he has definitely earned a spot on Ladybrillemag.com as one of our artists to watch.
Born in Accra, Ghana to a father who was a businessman and a mother who was a public servant, D-Black, nevertheless, grew up in a single parent home. He has a total of nine siblings, eight of whom are half-siblings.
Growing up, his mother disapproved of hip-hop music in the home. Nevertheless, D-Black found a way to gain access to it through his elder siblings who introduced him to the likes of Jadakiss from the LOX, Nas, Bone Thugs and Harmony, Dr. Dre, Biggie and Tupac. By secondary (high) school, D-Black had begun writing his own lyrics and performing them, informally, for his schoolmates.
In 2004, he got his opportunity to enter Ghana’s music industry through the help of a friend who got him featured on one of Ghana’s top artists Obrafour. D-Black sang the hook on Obrafour’s song “Execution Diary.” He later collaborated with even more local artists, formed a band ‘Da Limit’ before focusing his attention on his freshman album “Target Practice.” In 2008 he released his hit single “Move” off the Target Practice album. It featured one of Ghana’s rising stars Kwaku-t, a former Big Brother South Africa contestant. D-Black self-produced and marketed the album through his company Black Avenue Works. In 2009, ‘Move’ was nominated in the ‘Best West African Category’ at the 2009 Channel O Music Video Awards in South Africa.
“I want to be able to put Ghanaian hip-hop music on the continent (and) international platform so the whole of Africa and the world can appreciate and have access to the music we make out here,” explained the artist to Ladybrillemag.com.
By all accounts, he seems to be doing just that. This year, he has been nominated again at the Channel O Music Video Awards. In addition, his video for his song ‘Breathe,’ another hit single from the ‘Target Practice’ album was nominated in the category of ‘Best African Video’ at the 2010 Museke Africa Music Awards 2010.
While he makes it known to all that he is a proud “Ghana bwouy,” D-Black, nevertheless, believes in collaborating with other African artists to present Africa to the world. In December 2009, he was appointed as the United Nations (U.N) Celebrity Ambassador in Ghana for Environmental Degredation and as part of that appointment, collaborated with 2 face Idibia (Nigeria), J-town and Kwaku-t (Ghana) on a socially conscious song called “STOP IT.”
D-Black’s new album debuts on September 24th, 2010 online and in stores. We had a short talk with him to get the scoop about his album and other upcoming projects.
Ladybrillemag.com: Your album drops really soon. Let’s talk about the track ‘Believe’ off your new album. What inspired it?
D-Black: Well the song was inspired by people, my crew that I met back in the day when we were younger who had the finances to help push the music we were trying to make but had different excuses every-time we (sought) financial help from them. This was six years ago. I had no money, whatsoever, coupled with my family not supporting the idea of me being a rapper. While I went on to study at the University, I never gave up my musical ambitions.
Ladybrillemag.com: What happened to the crew?
D-Black: My rap crew was called ‘Da Limit’ and it disbanded. One left the country and the other two turned Pastor and Minute businessman, respectively.
Ladybrillemag.com: The beat on ‘Believe’ is wicked! Who produced it?
D-Black: The song was produced by a 19 year old female Ghanaian producer based in Canada named Chantelle (Asaaba) Myers. (The beat originally titled by Myers is called “Hi Hater!”)
D-Black: (Continues) It was the very first song recorded for my debut solo album. ‘Music,Love & Life’ which drops on the 24th of September 2010 on label Black Avenue Muzik, Sony Music Entertainment and Rockstar 4000.
Ladybrillemag.com: You have the distribution locked down. Tell us about some of the collabos on your upcoming album?
D-Black: This album features Wyclef Jean, 2face Idibia and Ghanaian artists Reggie Rockstone, Sarkodie, Samini, Kwabena Kwabena, Efya, X.O Voe, Dr.Cryme and more.
Ladybrillemag.com: You’ve got some of the best names in Ghana and Africa’s music industry. Good on you. What other projects are you working on?
D-Black: On my country’s Independence Day, March 6th, 2011, I’ma drop a mixtape ‘United States of Africa’ which will feature all the African collabos I’ve done over the past two years. The mixtape is half done and will feature collabos with African artists from all over the continent like Stella Mwangi from Kenya, M.I from Nigeria, Buffalo Souljah from Zimbabwe, Zeus from Botswana, J Martins from Nigeria, Tay Grin from Malawi, Segal from Gabon, Sauce Kid from Nigeria, Darey from Nigeria, Jozi from South Africa, HHP from South Africa, Justice from Jamaica and much more.
Ladybrillemag.com: Another lineup of very talented African artists. How can Ladybrillemag.com readers support your work and music?
Ladybrillemag.com: Thank you D-Black for the interview.
D-Black: Thank you so much!
~Interview by Uduak Oduok
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.