Blitz the Ambassador, Hip Hop Artist from Ghana, in the Flow of Art and Commerce

Aug 7, 2012
7:02 PM

Samuel Bazawule, also known as Blitz the Ambassador was born in culturally rich Accra, Ghana in 1982.

His first music memory was at the age of eight, as he walked past a football field where a Highlife cover band was performing. Blitz was mesmerized and says, “I was amazed that these sounds could be coming out of these little men and women. It was magic. A kind of superpower.”

CREDIT: Gene Bradford

His parents were industrious and taught their children to have a strong work ethic. His mother was an educator, sold goods at an open-air market, and ran a coffee stand, and her husband was on par with her ambitions: he returned to school to obtain a law degree and worked for the United Nations.

“My parents had a lot and lost it all. I watched them scratching and building while I was growing up. It was a great lesson to me.”

While in high school at the prestigious Achimota School, Blitz was recognized as a talented visual artist and won awards, but his artistic interests veered in another direction upon hearing Public Enemy for the first time. While still in high school, he showed he also had skills as a Hip Hop artist.

Although some artists decide to skip school and pursue their art full-time, Blitz could not forgo college because education is extremely important in his family.

He received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Kent State University and continued to perform and garner a following.

CREDIT: Gene Bradford

Blitz is a Hip Hop artist, with an emphasis on ‘artist,’ accompanied by a stellar band — reminiscent of Fela’s with its multilayered beats, brilliant horn section and politicized lyrics. And they really put on a show, dancing as they play in neat black suits despite the 90-degree heat.

No part of his training has been lost on Blitz; his years as a visual artist translated well to being in the music business.

“I trained myself to sit down, produce work and it was painstaking. I sat still for many hours. You have to produce work.”

After becoming frustrated with the lack of response on the part of major record labels, Blitz formed his own label Embassy MVMT.

“My education helped me a lot in knowing how to manage this business and how to stay in it.”

CREDIT: Gene Bradford

With a strong foundation in art and commerce, Blitz looks to venture into new territory. When speaking to Blitz, there’s no indication decisions are made without careful thought and planning.  No detail is overlooked from the choreography of the horn section to the choice of vibrant Ghanian drums — which look too beautiful to use. The performance, at the BAM’s R&B Festival Metrotech  on August 2nd, is a spectacle for all the senses; the audience breaks into a collective stomp in the mud when Blitz tells them they can’t sit and must come up and dance.

All of his music videos have a cinematic flair that leave the audience wanting to see more. The short film, Native Sun, written by Blitz and directed by Terence Nance, which accompanied the album of the same name, received favorable reviews and was included in a showing of African Films at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2011. 

It is a beautiful film about a little boy’s search for his father and is devoid of stereotypical media representations of ‘African’ life.

When asked if he aspires to being a director of or actor in a full-length film, Blitz smiles and says, “Absolutely. I just finished writing a screenplay entitled Bukom. It’s about boxing. I really love the sport.”

Bukom is an area within Accra, the capital of Ghana, which has produced a slew of great boxers despite its simple training facilities.

“The worst part of being an artist is the journey — there isn’t a spot where you stay and that’s it. You gotta keep going. The best part of being an artist is seeing your work come to fruition and to see your work appreciated; no level of creation can outdo the appreciation of your audience.”

Blitz is confident, mature and aware of every detail as he sits at the edge of the stage before the performance; he shouts out questions and instructions to his crew while answering interview questions as if all three were of equal importance. He is a rare breed: a brilliant star in the Hip Hop world whose work will endure and one with the business acumen to hold onto the reins of his artistic visions.

CREDIT: Gene Bradford

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