Takun J

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Takun J
Hipco artist Takun J.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Koffa
Born (1981-05-14) May 14, 1981 (age 37) [1][2]
Monrovia, Liberia
GenresHipco, hip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • activist
Years active2005 – present
LabelsJazzo Entertainment
Associated acts
  • Nasseman
  • Xpolay
  • Luckay Buckay
  • Romeo Lee
  • Bentman Tha Don
  • JD Donzo
Websitetakunj.com

Jonathan Koffa (born May 14, 1981),[3] better known by his stage name Takun J (often stylized as Takun-J), is a Liberian recording artist, songwriter and activist. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Hipco, a politically-charged music genre sung in vernacular Liberian English.[4] The Liberian Gender Ministry designated him as one of its anti-rape ambassadors. Takun J uses music to address socio-political issues in Liberia. He is best known for his singles "Who Make You Cry", "Policeman", "Gbagba Is Corruption" and "A Song for Hawa", as well as for his rap verse on the collaborative single "Pot Not Boiling" (Remix).[5] Takun J released his debut studio album The Time in 2007. His second studio album My Way was released in December 2012.

Biography and music career[edit]

Takun J was born in Monrovia, Liberia. He grew up with his mother and three siblings. His father relocated to the United States when he was four years old.[3] He was present during Liberia's first and second civil wars, which lasted from 1989 to 2003. While growing up in the country's capital, he played soccer and partook in dancing and talent show competitions. He became passionate about music and decided to be a musician after graduating from high school. At age 17, he joined a musical group called Magnetic. Takun J released his debut single "We'll Spay You" in 2005. His second single "You Meaning Me" was released a year after the release of his debut single. The success of his first two singles was relative due to the emergence of a brief civil conflict.[6]

Takun J relocated to refugee camps in Ghana and Ivory Coast with his family. He returned to Liberia and released his debut album The Time (2007). The album's lead single "Policeman" is a politically-charged record that exposes corruption by officers of the Liberian National Police; the record also includes a plea to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to repress corruption.[7] The release of the aforementioned song prompted two police arrests and a beating. Takun J was not deterred by the incident; he managed to perform on the day of his release from jail.[6] In an interview with the Liberian Listener, Takun J said he released the song in order to create awareness about police negligence.[8]

Takun J was one of the acts featured on the remix of Xpolay's 2012 single "Pot Not Bolling".[9] The song was produced by Yor-EL Francis and received critical acclaim in Liberia. In the aforementioned interview with the Liberian Listener, Takun J said the song was well received because of its positive messages and vibes.[8]

In December 2012, Jazzo Entertainment released My Way as Takun J's second studio album. It was produced by Stone Gray, AB Swaray, King Brian, and Rawlo. The album features guest appearances from Nasseman, Santos, Soul Smiter, Bentman, Scientific, Marvalous and Ice Princess. It was recorded at Studio 57 and Red Eyez studios. Takun J used the album to address his daily struggles and said that the music of My Way is relatable.[8]

In February 2013, Takun J released the solemn ode "A Song for Hawa"; it was produced by PCI-Media Impact and addresses violence against Liberian girls and women. Takun J wrote the song after visiting a home sheltering victimized young girls.[8] The music video for the song premiered at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. He told Mae Azango that the song narrates the story of a girl named Hawa, who was raped by her uncle following the death of her mother.[5]

Takun J has cited Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley and Akon as his key musical influences.[3] He is part of the Hipco Accountability Network, an organization aimed at strengthening copyright laws and establishing minimum play laws in Liberia. The network includes musical personalities such as Nasseman, JD Donzo, Shining Man, JB of Soul Fresh, Lil Bishop, Dr. C, Santos, Blackest 305, Uncle Shaq, Picardor, and Pochano.[10][11] Takun J believes he's living a dualistic lifestyle. In one life, he is known for his energetic performances, while in the other, he is a shy and reserve father who loves kids.[3]

Humanitarian works[edit]

Anti-child rape campaign[edit]

Takun J became an ambassador for the Liberian Gender Ministry's anti-rape campaign, and was responsible for highlighting rape issues in the country. In order to galvanize communities to take action against violence towards children, UNICEF and PCI-Media Impact organized a series of six concerts, which was part of an expansive campaign to halt the abuse and exploitation of children in Liberia. On June 14, 2014, Takun J headlined the first concert held in the capital of Grand Bassa County. The concert featured performances from Peaches, Robbie Nas and Liberian comedian Kpakala Kpokolo, as well as a moving video highlighting the issue of child rape.[12][13]

Anti-corruption campaign[edit]

On May 19, 2014, Takun J released the "Gbagba is Corruption", a conscious song based on the children's book Gbagba (2013). The book was written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, a former doctoral student at SOAS, University of London. Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as an anti-corruption children's primer by the Liberian Ministry of Education.[14]

Notable performances and endorsement deals[edit]

Takun J performs at the annual two-day Hipco festival in Monrovia.[10] On July 27, 2012, he performed with Nasseman, David Mell, Nozi and Mr. Smith at the Lone Star Cell musical concert.[15] He performed at the second annual Liberia Music Festival, held at Slipway Sports Pitch on December 7, 2013.[16] On March 15, 2014, Takun J performed at the Holiday Beach Jam in Congo Town alongside J. Martins, R2Bees, Scientific, Cypha D’King, Sweetz and F.A.[17] He works with UNICEF as an ambassador of music.[10] In March 2014, The Daily Observer reported that Takun J signed a two-year endorsement deal with Lonestar Cell MTN. As part of the deal, he is expected to appear and perform on Lonestar Cell MTN programs.[18][19]

Physical altercation with Edwin Snowe[edit]

On June 17, 2013, Takun J had an encounter with Edwin Snowe after narrowly escaping a head-on collision with Snowe's vehicle. The incident between the two individuals occurred at the United Nations Drive toward the Mamba Point diplomatic community. Takun J said that Snowe pulled him out of his car and punched him several times. Snowe confirmed the occurrence of the incident and admitted to punching Takun J. After the incident had died down, Takun J wrote a formal complaint to the House of Representatives of Liberia about the punches he received from Snowe.[20]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • The Time (2007)
  • My Way (2012)

Singles[edit]

Year Title Album
2005 "We'll Spay You" (with Magnetic) Non album single
2006 "You Meaning Me"
2007 "Policeman" The Time
"Who Made You Cry"
"Six Jue"
2011 "This is Where I'm From"[21]
(Queen V featuring Cypha the King, Nasseman and Takun J)
N/A
2012 "Pot Not Bolling" (Remix)
(Xpolay featuring Romeo Lee, JD Donzo, Luckay Buckay, Takun J and Bentman tha Don)
TBA
2013 "A Song for Hawa"
"Whats Up"
(Mr. Smith featuring Marvelous MC, JD Donzo, Tant Tan, DJ Chicago, Takun J, Naseeman, Noy Z and David Mell)
2014 "Gbagba Is Corruption"
Guest appearances
List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Down in Africa"[22] 2012 Nasseman Redemption Time
"Pro Poor Agenda"[23] 2018 Bucky Raw Cs2

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2015 Honesty Oscars Best Activist Anthem "Gbagba Is Corruption" Nominated [24]
Liberian Entertainment Awards Best Hipco Artist Himself Nominated [25]
2014 Liberian Music Awards Artist of the Year Nominated [26]
Male Artist of the Year Won [27]
Hipco Artist of the Year Won
Artist of the Year - Africa Nominated [26]
Song of the Year "Pot Not Bolling" (Remix)
(Xpolay featuring Romeo Lee, JD Donzo, Luckay Buckay, Takun J and Bentman tha Don)
Won [27]
Collaboration of the Year Won
"Whats Up"
(Mr. Smith featuring Marvelous MC, JD Donzo, Tant Tan, DJ Chicago, Takun J, Nasseman, Noy Z and David Mell)
Nominated [26]
Video of the Year "A Song for Hawa" Nominated
Video of the Year Africa Nominated
"Pot Not Bolling" (Remix)
(Xpolay featuring Romeo Lee, JD Donzo, Luckay Buckay, Takun J and Bentman tha Don)
Nominated
Liberian Entertainment Awards Best Artist Himself Nominated [28]
Best Hipco artist Won [29]
Best Music Video "Pot Not Bolling Remix"
(Xpolay featuring Romeo Lee, JD Donzo, Luckay Buckay, Takun J and Bentman tha Don)
Nominated [28]
Song of the Year Won [29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Takun J - About". A Together Liberia Project. Archived from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ Sandy, Yewa (22 May 2014). "Takun J: B-Day Celebration Will Be "Different"". Daily Observer. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Browne, Raymond (20 June 2014). "UNICEF Ambassador,Takun J Rapper from Liberia is bitter that Liberian djs are not appreciating and promoting music from Liberian artistes". iGroove Radio. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  4. ^ Ashoka (31 March 2014). "'HIPCO' IS THE SOUNDTRACK OF MONROVIA'S POST-WAR YOUTH". Vice. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Liberia: 'A Song for Hawa' - Hip Co King Takun J Tackles Sex Abuse in Powerful Single". allAfrica.com. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b Hicks, Jonathan (4 April 2014). "A Liberian Rapper and a Singer Also Serve as Ambassadors". Bet.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Liberia Recovers From War". Slate. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "11 Questions: Takun J, Hipco Artist". Liberian Listener. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  9. ^ Rahimian, Nora (9 January 2013). "Liberian street hit stirs the political pot". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Glencorse, Blair (9 January 2014). "Hip Co Festival: How Liberia's music industry is building accountability". One. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Battle hymns". The Economist. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Music for social change: UNICEF teams up with Liberian artists to protect children from violence". Unicef. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  13. ^ Dennis, Edwood N. "Takun-J Embarks On Rape Campaign". Daily Palava Hut. Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Liberian Hip-Co artist releases song for SOAS student's anti-corruption primer for children". SOAS, University of London. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  15. ^ "LoneStar Cell MTN Holds "Fantastic Week" Draw, Musical Concert". Heritage Newspaper. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Ode to Hipco - Takun J. & Crew Set to Rock Second Annual Liberia Music Festival". Interactive Intelligence. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  17. ^ Kamara, Makanfi (8 March 2014). "Lonestar Cell, Sound City to Host Holiday Beach Jam". Daily Observer. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  18. ^ Genoway Jr., Edwin G (10 March 2014). "'Takun J', Lonestar Cell MTN sign agreement". The New Dawn. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Takun J Inks 2-year Partnership Agreement with Mobile Operator". Daily Observer. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Snowe Beats Up Takun J." en.africatime.com. The New Dawn. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  21. ^ Kamara, Makanfi (30 March 2014). "'Jue You Bad' Artist QUEEN V Raps on Celebrity, Motherhood". Daily Observer. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  22. ^ Giamo, Christopher (24 June 2011). "Takun J – Hip-Co in Liberia". Together Liberia. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  23. ^ "Cs2 by Bucky Raw". iTunes. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  24. ^ Walker, Emily (19 February 2015). "Honesty Oscars 2015: Best Activist Anthem". One. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  25. ^ King, Jefferson (20 February 2015). "Liberian Entertainment Awards 2015 Nominees". Bush Chicken. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Sandy, Yewa (13 June 2014). "Liberian Music Awards: And The Nominees Are...!". Daily Observer. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  27. ^ a b "TAKUN J, POT-BOILERS, HERALD LIBERIA MUSIC AWARD WINNERS". Front Page Africa. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  28. ^ a b Sandy, Yewa (10 January 2014). "Multiple Liberian based artists nominated for 2014 Liberian Entertainment Awards". Daily Observer. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  29. ^ a b "Liberian Entertainment Award Winners!". Daily Observer. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.

External links[edit]

External video
Takun J speaking to Time magazine about Ebola