Lincoln Hopkins, a Liberian hip hop artist currently residing in Kenya says that the reason he chose Nairobi to launch his career is because hip hop culture is just starting here and he would love to be a part of that because he thinks Nairobi is the center of Africa. In fact, he loves Nairobi so much that he says he doesn’t intend to relocate back to Liberia. That’s not the only reason though, “As people may say there is no place like home but what I need to achieve my goal to be an international artist is not at home so at the moment, I need to up lift my country from outside,” Lincoln explains.
He was drawn to hip hop because it’s a unifying genre and although Liberian sounds differ from the Kenyan sounds because of the difference in culture, they’re both at the same level.
Lincoln mentions Lil Wayne and Ty Dolla $ign as the artists who’ve had an influence on his artistry thus far because their creativity is “out of this world”. South African rapper Nasty C’s creative process is something Lincoln would tap into, if given a chance. “His flow is original and he makes you listen to what he raps about while relating to everyday life situations.”
The hip hop artist is a good freestyle and battle rapper having participated in UnKut the Cypher, a quarterly hip hop event and Bar4Bar, monthly rap battles held at The Alchemist. However, he also often tones down the rough sounds of hip hop with singing saying, “I like to rap a lot more than I do singing but when I feel like it I sing.”
Lincoln draws inspiration for his music from his culture, his past and present experiences and friends. He has a ready EP on the way called “April Rain”, a metaphoric name that came about because of the tough times he faced at a certain period in his life. In April, things took a turn for the better and on April first, a day that was raining heavily, he received cash from his sponsor to work on the project. “I felt like God was talking to me in a way,” he said.
The entire project has been worked on by producers such as Shatzy K, Tunji and Ivan Odie who directed and edited the lead single off the tape, “Nothing On Me”.
From the project, April Rain, fans can expect to hear different sounds with the overall theme being trap soul. On April Rain, Lincoln featured Ace Tha Don, fast rising female rapper and singer Yviona, Shatzy K amongst other talented artists. Lincoln would have loved to feature Steph Kapela and Khaligraph Jones. Speaking of Khaligraph, Lincoln praises how far he has pushed hip hop in the country. “He has created a sound that uplifts hip hop within Kenya creating a community of hip hop fans for up coming artists like myself,”
The epitome of success, to Lincoln Hopkins, is reaching a worldwide audience and make multitudes of people but his music or move to it. The highlight of his career thus far has been the completion of his first tape, April Rain and the launch of his music group, RDMG (Red Diamond Music Group).
Lincoln sites lack of originality and good quality music is what’s ailing the hip hop (music) industry this making us lag behind countries such as South Africa and Nigeria. “In my opinion the Kenyan industry lacks quality music with great material like guys from Nigeria and South Africa,” he stated. He also thinks that everyone involved, the artists, fans and media need to support hip hop for the culture to be uplifted.
Check out the “Nothing On Me” video below.