Freaky Joe in          Freaky’s Manager
Action                       Pa Ousman Joof

A leading Gambian rap star Freaky Joe, is making headlines in the United States. The rapper has earned himself celebrity status over night. Call him a household name you make no mistake. Across Atlanta, Georgia and elsewhere across the country, the promising young artist is being treated as a celebrity. His fame can be attributable to his powerful rap lyrics characterized by his melodious voice.
Freaky who grew up as a music lover was a long time admirer of the late American rap King 2 Pac Shakur. Thanks to  his dynamic Management team led by Pa Ousman Joof, Freaky is today excelling in his musical career. In an interview with the Freedom Newspaper, the Gambian rapper commented on his life as a rapper, challenges facing Gambian musicians, the government’s efforts to promote Gambian artists, official graft, Jammeh’s Hiv/Aids cure among host of other topical issues. Our Managing Editor Pa Nderry M’Bai reaches Freaky at his Atlanta residence for an interview. Below is the full text of the interview we had with the popular rapper. Please read on….
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Freedom Newspaper: Good day, Gambian rap star Freaky Joe. You have been criss-crossing the United States in the recent time trying to build a solid musical base. What inspired you to bring Gambian rap to the US?

Freaky Joe: Thanks and greetings in the name of  Allah-the most high. Well, it is as a result of the positive mind, dedication and love I have for music and my country that I decided, with the help of God to bring Gambian music to the US. Seeing that the Gambia is not internationally recognized in terms of music, I want to be the first GAMBIAN to bring this recognition and the US is a good starting point.

Freedom Newspaper: How is your promotional tour of the US going so far?

Freaky Joe: We thank God. It’s been going pretty good. I am here to produce and promote the CD version of my new album “4 EVER IN LUV”. I am therefore going to the different states for this purpose. I have been to New York, Minnesota and New Orleans. I should be having my album release party at the Howard Johnson on 2572 Candler road in Decatur-ga 30032 on May 19th 2007. I should be attending a big black festival in Jackson- Mississippi on May 26th and I should be in Seattle-Washington on June 2nd after which I go back to the Gambia on June 10th. For details you may log onto www.gambiantalents.com or call 404-593-6215.

Freedom Newspaper: As a keen follower of your musical activities, we have realized that most of your songs, centered on reconciliation, peace, harmony, unity, development and positive living. Can you tell us why you choose to take such a route, as a leading Gambian musician?

Freaky Joe: Well, I do music to create a positive impact in the lives of the people. To tell you the truth, I really don’t have control of what I sing about. I write my songs base on the inspiration I get at that present moment. In short, it is nature that determines what I sing at every point in time. I do have songs that deal with other subjects different from the above. Just get a copy of my 1st or 2nd CD. You will know what I’ m talking about.

Freedom Newspaper: Well, critics say Gambian rappers are guilty of neglecting the plight of impoverished citizens with their non commitment to compose songs on tacking official graft in the Gambia, injustices and other social vices hampering development. Is it that you are afraid to run into problems with the government of day and as such most of your colleagues had decided to take the praise singing line? Your stake on this please?

Freaky Joe: Everybody do their thing in their own way. I do follow Gambian music keenly and I know Gambian musicians sing about different things. If some choose to be praise singers, that’s their choice. I have nothing against that but all I know is I am not a praise singer. I composed my songs in accordance with the demands of time.

Freedom Newspaper: Music can help to shape up society provided that the musicians addressed the burning issues of the day. What are you doing to ensure that human rights, rule of law, justice, equality, free press and fair play exist in the Gambia, through your musical lyrics?

Freaky Joe: I am a positive minded person. One thing we need to know is that music is meant to educate and entertain. A musician tells people the truth while entertaining them at the same time making them not to be offended. I work by the saying “ if you can kill with sugar, why use poison” I did a song “ELECTION TIME” shortly after I returned to the Gambia last year. This song basically entails all the messages you mentioned above. I have another song called “MORE LUV TO DA YOUTHS” which I shall include in my next album. It calls for youth empowerment, suppression, inequality and things of that nature.

Freedom Newspaper: What’s the secret behind your fame? You seem to be stealing the show from Kora star Jaliba Kuyateh? Across the country and beyond people are talking about Freaky. What’s so special about your and your music?

Freaky Joe: Well, at every point in time, one has to emerge out of the margin crowd and do what nobody does. I came up with my own unique style of music which is in accordance with the demands of time and therefore a lot of people can relate to my music. I am not only targeting the Gambian market, instead, I am aiming at the international level and standard. I therefore thank Hakim of the “SUNS OF LIGHT” and my manager Pa Ousman Joof  for putting this in me. I target every sector of society and that is why I have a fusion of all music genres in both of my albums giving everybody a taste of what they like. I have no problem with jaliba. He is a legend and a mentor to me. We did a song together in my first album which I can say sold my album a lot. After all, we are doing different things so there is no competition between us.

Freedom Newspaper: Recently, the Banjul based Daily Observer reported that you were on the verge of launching a joint album with the Senegalese US based rap King Akon. How far have you gone with the said project?

Freaky Joe: Well, we started that project since last year but base on his busy schedule, it did not work. When I came back this year, we started working on it again. This project is being facilitated by Hakim who traveled to Senegal and Sierra Leone and will be back in a week’s time. We are trying to figure out what we really want to do with him. We are working on a collaboration song and not an album. I shall keep you posted though. On a separate development, I have also met with several other artists, promoters and producers who are interested in me. I am trying to figure out what deal to take. In the mean time, I am doing a remix of one of my songs in the “4 DA GAMBIA” album “MISSING YOU” with the Franchise boys in Atlanta. They listened to my album and like that song and asked me to do a remix with them. The engineer is building the tract and we should be going to the studio next Wednesday to record the song. I also did some collaborations with few other US base artists such as Papis-

Freedom Newspaper: What can you tell us about the American rap industry? Any difference, compared to the Gambia?

Freaky Joe: or yea, a big difference. You see, everybody is a subject of their environment and therefore does things that befit them. Whereas we in the Gambia sing about things affecting our lives in a more positive or mild way, the American rappers express themselves in a wilder way. it is accepted in the society. In terms of records, we are really not at their level  yet. They have all the rules and laws governing them which make them very powerful compared to us that have none. The people are supportive as long as the music is good. We really don’t have that. We don’t have much of rivalry as artists compared to them

Freedom Newspaper: Who is your favorite American rap star? And what makes you to like the rapper?

Freaky Joe: 2 pac shakur because he was a revolutionary and a true Black activist.

Freedom Newspaper: You seem to be popular in the US. What’s your promotional manager Pa Ousman Joof doing to ensure that you have access to  the US rap industry, most importantly access to leading TV stations such as  BT TV.

Freaky Joe: Pa Ousman is doing a lot for me. I cannot really pay him. He did not start his promotion in the USA.We have been struggling together since in the Gambia. He arranged all the shows I had during my tour last year and he seems to be doing a better job this year. He would drive or fly with me from state to state promoting my album. He has arranged several radio and TV interviews for me. For example it is through his efforts that I had a TV interview at a local TV station ( NWCT-CHANNEL 12 ) in MINNEAPOLIS-Minnesota and he has sent my videos to several other TV stations such as the African broad casting network ( ABN America), WYOU TV –CHANNEL 4 in Madison Wisconsin, some TV stations in Atlanta and England. We have not get to BET yet because we are trying to produce some quality works to present to them. We will keep you posted.

Freedom Newspaper: Do you have in mind of having your own recording studio in the short term?

Freaky Joe: Yea. I had already purchased the equipment for a mobile sound system and a video production studio which will be shipped to the Gambia before the end of this month. About a recording studio, it is definitely part of my plans before the end of the year.

Freedom Newspaper: What are the problems facing Gambian rappers or musicians today?

Freaky Joe: We are lagging the support and promotion necessary. Gambian artists have all the talents but don’t have proper structures in place to take our music to a higher level. We don’t have laws protecting us, thus giving us less power to benefit out of our music.

Freedom Newspaper: What happened to your other band members? Why do you embarked on such tours leaving them behind?

Freaky Joe: There are a lot of technicalities and logistics involve in traveling as an artists. I am still trying to establish my trust and confidence. Additionally, We need sponsors to be able to bring the other band members.

Freedom Newspaper: How many millions do you make in your past and recent US musical shows?

Freaking Joe: Well, we thank God. Do I really look like a millionaire? I made some money out of my tours but did invest it into establishing myself. I self sponsored the recording of my new album, produced new videos, bought the equipment I mentioned above and a car. So I thank God.

Freedom Newspaper: How do you get into music? What inspired you?

Freaky Joe: I have been a lover of music since I was young. I see and feel a lot of things that I want to talk about and I believe it is only through music that I can. It is a natural talent from God. It is my mission to accomplish.

Freedom Newspaper: Coming back to your past Hiv/Aids prevent song messages, what do you make out of President Jammeh’s aids cure claims? In one of your songs, you said there was no cure for aids, but on the other hand, the President came with a surprising message announcing his mandate to cure aids. Your views on this?

Freaky Joe: Well, I am not here to judge the president. I will not condone or disagree with him; my thing is that situations change. There were a lot of diseases that did not have a care when they were first discovered but as time goes on with the advancement of technology, a cure was discovered for them. So I am not a scientist or have my own lab to authenticate or condemn his facts. Instead I am an artists and all I know is the MIC.

Freedom Newspaper: Do you see any dangers on Jammeh’s aids cure claims? Are you convince that he can cure aids?

Freaky Joe: Like I said, I am not a scientist. I really cannot tell.

Freedom Newspaper: Do you still stand by your ABC aids prevention methods you packaged for the Gambian youth population?

Freaky Joe: That is a universal message not composed by me. They are facts believed by everybody.

Freedom Newspaper: In your own view, is the government of the Gambia, encouraging local artists?

Freaky Joe: Yes, because they brought the TV station through which we get most of our promotion in the Gambia. The president recently bought us a very powerful State- of -the -art sound system and stage. We are often invited to perform on National functions and we recently heard the D100 000.00 he gave to Sambou Suso. This is not something new as he has been doing it for other artists even before I get to this level. I remember when he called, born Africans, pencha b, masla bi and dance hall masters at the state house and gave them money to support their music. One thing we really need from them though is a copy right law to protect us and an audio cassette and CD production machine.

Freedom Newspaper: What can you tell us about your pending UK, Sweden, Norway and other European countries?

Freaky Joe: Well, I am going back to the Gambia on June 10th to do a little more promotion of my new album and also work on my visa to Scandinavia. My trip to Scandinavia is facilitated by Pa Njie of One Gambia Promotion (www.onegambia.com) while England is handled by Mr Saul Sowe of Saul Sounds Jollof Promotion. I should be in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany where I should be producing a new 14 track reggae album for Mega Force Production in Hamburg. In late July, I should be heading to England to perform at the annual Gambian Carnival in London. I really thank all Gambian promoters who are trying to push our music to the international level especially Gambian Talents Promotion (www.gambiantalents.com) who are producing my new album in the USA.Big up to Pa Ous and Ebou Njie.

Freedom Newspaper: Making money from your career is a good thing, but helping humanity too is crucially imperative. Do you have in mind of organizing fund raising shows to help homeless Gambians, Hiv/Aids orphans and poor students who cannot afford to pay their school fees?

Freaky Joe: I have been doing that  since I started music. Remember when you interviewed me once during a YIDAC show at Alliance Franco-Gambienne. I did a lot of free concerts with schools, youth organizations and other NGOS in the Gambia. Every year, I do perform for my former School Gambia High during their Inter-house Sports Competition.
I am planning on doing a fund raising show for a Young guy DAwda Jarju (RIP) who died few weeks ago of a critical heard problem that could not be cured in the Gambia. So I am really a humanitarian.

Freedom Newspaper: You have been interacting with Gambians on a daily basis. What are their problems as we speak? What do they expect from their government?

Freaky Joe: I believe we all have our individual roles to play as far as the development of our country is concern. Let us not sit down and wait for the government to do it all. Let us ask ourselves “what can we do for our country and not what our country can do for us”. Gambians have a lot of problems which is not only cause by the government. It is high time we stop pinning blames or pointing fingers at each other. You know what I’ m talking about

Freedom Newspaper: What role, if any, have you played into bringing the rival students of Gambia High School and ST.Augustine’s High School together? What brought VP Isatou Njie Saidy’s name into the affair?

Freaky Joe: Actually, I was a student of Gambia High School during this reconciliation period. When, we were informed about the move, which was supported by the whole nation, I took it as a great idea. As an artist, I could not do any better than sing a song for the promotion of peace and unity amongst my colleagues. About the VP, I DON’T THINK I am the best person to ask. You may contact the organizers.

Freedom Newspaper: Where were you on April 10TH 2000? How would you describe April 10TH?

Freaky Joe: I was in Junior School in Bansang. It is a sad day that we would all remember seeing that we lost our fellow students.

Freedom Newspaper: Do you intend to be in music for part time or fulltime?

Freaky Joe:Well, music is part of my life now. It is the part that God has chosen for me. So it is a full time thing for me.

Freedom Newspaper: What role has Gambian Talents Promotion played towards your trip to the USA this year?

Freaky Joe: They do most of my graphic works and also produced my new CD and helped to arrange all radio and TV shows I have in the USA. They are also the sole distributors of my “4 DA GAMBIA” CD AND DVD. So if you want a copy of any of my work, you may contact them.

Freedom Newspaper- what do you have to say to your fans who where present at last year’s july 4th celebration in Atlanta? We heard that you attacked the people saying that the Gambians don’t support our artists? Is that true?

Freaky Joe: I believe to err is human. It is true that I said that but I didn’t really mean to hurt nobody. My intention was to urge them to support us and a lot of people misinterpreted me. I am therefore sorry if my words have hurt anybody. I ask for all Gambians to come together and support us. And I thank those that are already supporting.

Freedom Newspaper: Any final word to your supporters, admirers and friends of the Gambia?

Freaky Joe: I thank everybody for supporting me. I really don’t want to mention names. I just want to assure everybody that we have the potential (inshallah) to take Gambian music to a higher level. All we need is support. If you are a fan that just heard about me and never listen to me, log onto www.singateh.com or www.myspace.com/singateh . Finally, I am telling all the fans that I have done my part. The ball is now in your court. Go to www.gambiantalents.com  or call 404-593-6215 to grab a copy of my new CD. Those in the Atlanta and Seattle area don’t forget May 19th and June 2nd. I love you all.

Freedom Newspaper: Thanks  Mr. Freaky Joe for granting us this interview.

Freaky Joe: Thanks and Jah bless. Sing a the a.k.a Freaky Joe rise forever

All rights reserved. Copying or re-writing our pieces without the expressed permission of  this leading paper is prohibited. News Organizations and Research institutions interested in using our pieces are free to contact the editor before culling our stories. Such organizations must also give credit to Freedom before using our materials. We thank you for your attention.

The editor can be reached at the following addresses:editor@freedomnewspaper.com, or panderrymbai@gmail.com If you know that it’s happening or is about to happen please contact us. It’s easy. Just type your info on our contact us file and  then click send. The Freedom Newspaper is your leading and most authoritative  source of news. We have the required professionals to serve you round the clock. Get your morning breakfast news by reading Freedom. We have good stuffs  every morning. At Freedom, we mean business.
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 (Archive on Monday, May 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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2 users commented in " The Big Interview:Leading Gambian rapper Freaky Joe making headlines in US!!! "

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Youtube said,
in August 14th, 2008 at 10:02 am

thanks you

awa jagne said,
in April 3rd, 2009 at 3:28 am

freaky is really keep it up

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