Rolling Out

Afrobeat artist Big Hookz mines his roots for new single, ‘Break You Down’

Big Hookz has a new single with reggae artist Gyptian
Afrobeat artist Big Hookz mines his roots for new single, 'Break You Down'
Photo courtesy of CEMB

Originally from Cameroon, Big Hookz is an Afrobeat artist looking to make a name for himself. He recently released a new single “Break You Down” with reggae artist Gyptian, which has reached No. 2 in Africa and is in heavy rotation on MTV Base and BET Jams in Africa.

Hookz spoke with rolling out about the single, and how it felt to get back to his roots with the song.

Tell us about your single “Break You Down.”

Before this, I was doing just trap music, and one of my friends told me I should tap into my background a little bit. He told me Afrobeat was popping, and once I got into it, it was just real authentic. The song was just easy for me to create. When I go to the studio I just vibe to the beat and the lyrics come to me. The producer created a beat right on the spot while I was creating the hook line, and then I dropped my verse. I was looking for a dope artist that has that afrobeat flavor and a little bit of reggae. Gyptian was the person that came to my mind so I hit up his team and we had a good vibe. We just got everything situated and he sent me his verse after a couple of days. I wanted to include some kind of Afrobeat artists that live in Africa so I got my man Tzy Panchak, and he’s from my country Cameroon. I got him on the song just to have a touch different and show different parts of the world. Doing that gave me a new audience and new fans vibing to the song. I think it was a good move to go in that route with the song selection and the artists. 

How did it feel to get back to your roots in this song?

I feel like that’s important for me because I feel like most music has a little bit of Afrobeat in it. It was only right for me to touch that and go back to my roots and try to get that exposure back in Africa where I was born. I’m seeing people drastically gravitate to my music now. Before I had a fan base, but I’m not going to lie, it was challenging for me. But they always say if it doesn’t challenge you, it wouldn’t change you. It was challenging for me to switch to Afrobeat and get my fans to either change their mindset or move them in this direction, whereas before I was just doing hip-hop. Now you’re doing some Afrobeat, but they never listened to that type of music before. I had to take it gradually and do a test group, send it to the fans, and see how they would react. I lost some fans because I wasn’t dropping hip-hop music as much, and then they started coming back, and I also started getting a new audience.

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