Written by Alieu Khan

ST was born in Brikama in September 1989. He’s one of The Gambia’s fastest-rising rappers. In this exclusive interview with What’s On-Gambia, he talks about his debut album, the upcoming launching of the album on the 1st and 2nd March at Jokor Brikama and Alliance Franco respectively and his beginnings as a rapper.

What’s On Gambia: Why did you title your debut album Distinction?

ST: Every track is classic and it’s based on perfect rhyming and timing. The production is up to standard. All the tracks talk about different stuffs and with different styles. In the album, I tried to blend a whole lot of local instruments like the kora, taama and sabaar.

On the promo poster, you have a picture of you in school uniform. Any reason for this?

Of course yes!  That picture matches with the concept of the album. My old school, Nusrat Senior Secondary is a distinction school, so it suits the album title.

I don’t think I understand what you trying to explain.

Laughs…

What do you have in store for the launching of the album?

Lot of surprises; a whole of lot of them. I am already receiving great feedbacks from the people that listened to some of the tracks in the album. The launching is going to look like a real show – not like artists just coming to hold the mic and sing. ST’s album launching is more than that!

Who are the guest artists on the 1st and 2nd March?

Benjamin, Rebellion D’Recaller, Manding Morry, Bro K, BK City, New Era, Minka Family, Vypa, Phylantropist, Da Block rappers, Nova, Mighty Joe and many more.

How did you select them?

It’s based on how much I like their music and the type of working relationship we have. I have been to their events and now it’s my event. It’s a give and take thing. An artist like Bro K thinks I am the best in The Gambia (laughs).

Is the album already in the market or are you launching and releasing on the same day?

Not yet in the market but we are officially releasing it on the same day as the launching. Already we have a long queue of people interested in grabbing a copy.

Tell us little about the album.

The album is great and to me it’s the best in Gambian music history. If you doubt it try to grab a copy and see for yourself.  The album is unique and deep. It’s very informative! The album contains 14 tracks, including the hit single Njunku.

Where can one get the album and how much does it cost?

A copy of the album cost D100 and it’s available at Jah Oil, Paradise FM, Allainace Franco, FMB and now we are working on having it at Kerewan Sounds in Banjul.

It’s also coming on iTunes and other outlets online.

People interested in promoting the album can contact my management team on 7013655/3038063/6613655/9757042.

Tell us about your fan clubs that are mushrooming all over the Kombo.

I have one in Sukuta and few others in Brikama. The one in Sukuta is big and have members from different age groups. Whenever I visit Sukuta - its mad thing.

The Brikama groups are just starting. Some girls are behind it and I’m giving them all my support. They were motivated by my struggle to reach stardom and they want me to fully represent the town.

When did u start rapping?

It was in 2007, when I first entered studio and did the song Who is ST. It’s a song about me and my hood. I used to listen to a whole lot of artists and felt I could also do the same thing. And now it’s no retreat.

What’s your take on the performance of the Gambian music industry?

I think the music industry is great, but the promoters are fucked - up. The promotion is one-sided. They have their own favorite artists and that’s not what we need in the music industry.  We should progress and stop pulling others down.

Gambian artists are not also united and that’s seriously affecting the development of the industry.

In my track Distinction, featuring Benjamin talked a lot about the struggle I went through to be recognized as a formidable Gambian artist. Listen to it!

Good luck with the launching!

Thank you and you are highly invited to cover the event.