I have the pleasure to interview Cameroonian rapper MD Lyonga, based in Canada, on the occasion of his participation in the new Art Show “FIXATE” on August 18, presented by RAW:Toronto.
Please, Md Lyonga tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to music?
I was born in English Cameroon; in a family of 6. Raised by a single parent, my siblings and my community. Grew up from a Christian background in a little church where I picked up some interest in music and started writing my own hymns, singing and coordinating services. Fell in love with Makossa (Cameroon music), and was also intrigued by the dance steps of the King of Pop – Michael Jackson. Fast forward; joined a dance crew when I got into the University in 2004, started rapping and later initiated my own recording studio where I and my team, Trackzone Records, amassed a catalog of unreleased music in 2009. Been actively growing in creating music since 2004. Moved to Canada in 2013 as I wanted to see the world and avail myself of life changing opportunities such as RAW. I am just immensely grateful to be where I am right now while strongly anticipating good things to happen.
Who are some of your favorite musicians, and how did they influence you?
Over the years I have studied and gained inspiration from a plethora of artist/musician in the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Tupac, Nas, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, Jay Z, Kirk Franklin etc etc
One thing I realized quickly listening to music from the aforementioned and more is, I cannot live without music; soul, rhythm, conscious poetry (individual and social). Music saved my life.
Do you have other sources of inspiration?
Oh yes. I am inspired by Nature. It occurs to me there is an essence to everything whether living or non-living thing; whether our planet, our solar system or other solar systems or galaxies. The nature of things that keep the same in order, alignment and harmony. The waves of the ocean, the cool breeze on the sea shore, the trees in the forest, the flowers and stones, insects, animals, and humans; everything operating in its own unique and beautiful way. The elements that make up the universe, our planet and our human bodies; I find all that to be a profound resonance of beauty.
I am also inspired by my personal challenges, our socio-economic, political and spiritual environment. I think Tupac once said something like, “if I talk about the problem long enough, it’s going to prick the interest of someone who can in turn inspire a solution from another person”.
What’s the meaning behind your music Md Lyonga?
Not because these things are independent of each other, rather because of emphasis. We fight and kill each other, whether it’s politics or religious fratricidal wars, sexual orientation or xenophobia, we need to self-love and also love the next man so the world can be a better place. Harmony with nature.
Rapper, Hip-hop or MC?
I won’t exclusively say I’m a rapper or that I only do Hip-hop or that I’m an MC as such. I consider myself a Creator. I can say an Artist. I do Rap, Hip-hop and MC but I am not exclusively defined by any. I am everything and nothing. I am that which I am and I proceed from nothingness.
When you are composing, how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
I can’t tell how much as in quantity. I can tell how strong as in quality. Different things trigger me differently. Coming from a multicultural background I get instinctively inspired to carve out a sound, melody or lyrics stronger and almost accidentally than I try to do it on purpose. Therefore, I like to take walks or strolls or find myself in environments where I am unrestricted to verbalize how I feel and no one would think I’m crazy. As well, I spend much time studying on topics that prick my interest wrt my career.