INTERVIEW – Phlow: « Being male or female should not have to determine what you wish to achieve »

You started rapping when you were a teenager. How did that happen?

Well when I was a younger, my older brother was part of a gospel rap group and I thought it was so cool. I also thought « I could totally write raps too« . While they would be working on their songs, I would go in the corner and write my own verse but never share it with anyone. I was pretty shy back then. I just kept on going even after they split up, writing and recording little voice notes. When I got into university I met people as passionate about music as I was and that essentially brought me all the way here.

You then joined a group called Jinus. Can you tell us more about that experience?

Jinus was a gospel rap/music group I joined back in university. Back then, it had about 3 rappers, 2 singers and 1 awesome producer. We met in church actually. It was an awesome experience, that was where I got to perform in front of a crowd for the first time. We would record our tracks sometimes in a member’s little room and perform them at church. The group still exists actually, back at the University of Benin, with fresh talents. I and other founders are official alumni. 🙂

You name Run DMC, Nas , Nelly and Drake as some of your influences. What do you think is so special about them?

Each of these acts had/have a unique sound, I think that’s what essentially drew me to them.

How did you meet Montreal producer Teck-Zilla and how did you two start working together?

I met Teck early 2014, I tagged along with a friend who was going for a hip hop show that happened once a month. Teck was the DJ at the event, I had my friend do me a solid and tell him I wanted to perform a track I had been working on, and thankfully they let me… After the show, he told me about a project he was working on, sent me a beat and we hit the studio. One track turned into to two, three, and the rest was history.

You just released a track called “Phlowetic Justice” inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice. What made you want to do it? 

Crazy coincidence. Actually Teck made that beat before he had met me. “Poetic Justice” is a song I have always loved and often performed at karaoke bars.Teck had no idea when he played that beat. I loved it and it just sorta fell into place, and the play on the name had a nice touch too. 🙂

Who are your female role models and why?

Ada Lovelace, the first female programmer, who is freaking awesome, Maya Angelou, that goes without saying, taking a bold step and sticking to it, that’s definitely something I look up to.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?

That depends on your definition. I believe one should be able to do whatever it is that they want, being male or female should not have to determine or hinder what you wish to achieve.

What are you listening to these days?

So many different sounds ranging from EDM to rap, Jon Bellion, Drake, The Chainsmokers.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’m working on a couple of projects: one featuring Swedish producer Ryko and the other with another talented female rapper Cyclone, produced by Teck- Zilla.

 What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

I feel it’s a great outlet for female rappers to showcase their skills to the rest of the world. It definitely gives women into hip hop a much needed platform for self-expression in a male dominated genre.

Find Phlow on FacebookSoundcloudTwitter and Instagram.

Éloïse Bouton

Lire l’interview en français ici.