Style Profile: Upclose with Okyeame Kwame,”The Rap Doctor”
A Cincinnati honoree, award winner and fashionista ,”Okyeame Kwame” aka “The Rap Doctor”, is a Ghanaian hip-life artist, from the Southern part of Ghana (Ashanti Region). Originally Kwame Nsiah Appau, he was born 40 years ago to a teacher (Mom) and a writer/ accountant (Dad).
Okyeame Kwame studied Marketing Strategy in the tertiary level, but decided to pursue and focus on music as his career with the belief that words carry their own spirits and with that in mind he strives to bring positivity in every genre of music he makes.
The Rap Doctor has music in his blood, with two other young siblings, Flowking Stone and Kunta Kinte also in the music industry.
Married to an amazing woman and blessed with a son (7) and daughter (5), Okyeame Kwame says “I have a good balance between family and my career”. “I am a musician basically, everything else is peripheral”. He believes the type of music he does is inspiring and presented in a unique style which makes him stand out and also believes in modernity but also does not throw away heritage (tradition/culture).
Placing a lot of value on the views of all the people that listen to his music, you will never find things like violence, insults, profanity, dissing, cursing and swearing in his songs.
He thinks a man’s immediate environment is his clothes. “How African or how gentle I am or the combination of both are best expressed in the clothes I wear, so whenever I dress, I dress for the job and always make sure it represents my Motherland (Ghana)”, says Okyeame Kwame.
“Yes, two things influence my style; to look gentle and also to show I’m an African…….. Sometimes beneath that, there’s some sort of sensual or sexual appeal of, you want to; look good, buoyant and to make a lasting impression. “Krakyi”(gentleman) as they say in Twi is the only word that can best describe me when I look at myself.
“I’m an open book, I think the world knows everything about me but what others don’t know is, I still find technology creepy even though I use it, i.e. Facebook will send some memories you shared in the past years with friends and if I cancel an event, it will ask why I cancelled because this or that person will be attending that event. This makes me find it creepy plus I’m very careful about it.”
The second thing is, the word “HATE” is not in my lingo, I never use “HATE” on my social media handles and in my music, let me simply put it this way; I never say it. Why? Because I believe words possess spirits and when used you internalise it, so I always try to be on the positive side, especially on social media. Finally speaking about moral values, “if between morality and being hungry, I will choose morality and die of hunger”.
“I remember when I was 5, my mum used to sing a song to me (singing in the local dialect) because I wanted to tuck in my shirt and have it ironed. I think I got introduced to fashion during my early ages, around 7-18. The house I lived in at Kumasi had a club where you saw how the burgers dressed anytime they were in town . Also in my neighborhood, I saw the old people who had dressed well, the opportunities they had as against those not well dressed. The fact is, I’m an artist, an impressionist, I paint, I rap, I write poetry, I sing, looking good is my style.
When I was 14 years old, I clearly recall telling my mum I won’t wear “foss”(second-hand clothing) again. When she asked why I explained, how can I wear “obroni a wewu ataade” (dead white man’s clothing). I was wrong then because the clothes you wear are suppose to express your thoughts and how you feel that day. The colors you wear are supposed to communicate your energy and your mood”.
Combining colors, all that impressionism, so as I have the talent as an artist, fashion is part of art, since my consciousness I have been a Fashion Icon.
Hamid VJ is Okyeame’s personal stylist but he sometimes chooses his own style. Before Hamid came in, “my beautiful wife handled that department very well. My whole family and my fans contribute to what I wear”.
“I can do everything because I’m daring but what I can’t see myself in is female clothing. with heels and makeup to step out in style. What I can do is usually wear something that has an African piece in it, no matter how foreign the attire just to let people know I’m from Africa”.
A Kente cloth “3winiasa” a local brand of “kente” cloth, that I bought for 1,200 GHS and it wasn’t just one but a lot. Fashion I believe is not about how expensive or how much you paid for it, but what you represent or what your clothing stands for and how good you look in it.
The Rap Doctor answered, yes yes yes to having plans of creating his own brand in the future and says the name of the brand will be “Suit Yourself”, because it’s going to be a collection of suits and he’s hoping to start working on that very soon with the simple strategy of combining tradition and modernity. “You should just be yourself and express who you are, wear the colors, be natural and look good because what you wear can bring amazing opportunities your way”.
In Ghana, we don’t know how to make machines but what we can make is fashion. We can print, style and weave amazingly. Ghanaians have style, and I think Ghanaian fashion is beautiful. I remember when I wore my Ghanaian clothing, people stopped me in the streets of New York just to take pictures with me. Because of that I believe Ghanaian fashion is off-the-hook.