Francis Ringel, The Son
His name is Francis Ringel, but his stage name is The Son. He is a rapper/producer who considers himself the second coming of Tupac Shakur. Listening to him ‘spit’ his verses, you can tell he is heavily influenced by the late rapper. The one thing that really impressed me was the subject matter of The Son’s music. He seems hell-bent on making a difference in the industry, and almost forcing you to listen to what he’s going to say next. The Son is a game-changer. Let’s get familiar.
How did you begin your career as a recording/performing artiste?
Son: I discovered singing and rapping basically in 1988, and made the decision to be a rapper, singer and songwriter in 1995. I just thought of how it would be a shame to waste my God-given talent. So I started going to studios, recording and working with producers. I have written, recorded and produced songs, and directed underground artistes since I ascertained my career as a musician. I realised I needed to get some education in this so I studied and got a certificate in sound engineering from the Audio Institute of America. I have been on my grind working with underground talent since then.
How would you describe your style of music?
Son: As a producer, I’m open to producing and type of beat from reggae to R&B. As an artiste, I’m all about rap. The late, great 2Pac was my idol! I actually used to be called ‘Son of 2Pac’ due to our similar rap styles. I later changed my name to The Son, so I don’t get people confused. So, I do predominantly rap music. However, I have done collaborations with other artistes who do other genres of music. I call my style of music GH hip-hop.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Son: The biggest challenge is getting radio to play my style of music. They simply don’t give underground artistes enough airplay. There are very few platforms for us to showcase our product. I have been asked to make my music more commercial, but I believe music is from the heart. It’s all about expressing yourself. We constantly underestimate the audience and what we think they want. Many years ago, they didn’t think hip-hop would survive in Ghana, but it has. We just need to give underground artistes a chance to shine.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Son: My love for 2Pac and his music can’t be measured. I have all his songs. He spoke on social issues and injustice. We really need him now in this messed up world we live in. His voice was for the voiceless masses. I am also like that. I speak for the ghetto. I put all the hardships that I’ve gone through in my music. That is what music should also be about. It’s not just about dancing and having fun. You need to let people hear the social issues around them that many might not know about.
There is so much competition in the music scene currently. Where do you think you fit in?
Son: There is room for everyone I believe. There will always be audiences for every kind of music. Music is universal. You can’t say “oh there is no more room for a new artist”. I fit in just perfectly. I provide something a bit different for the fans. My product brings a new level of consciousness to the scene, a level they haven’t gotten to yet. While most are doing music for dancing, I bring songs that make you think of how to better yourself as a human being.
What are you working on at the moment?
Son: I am currently working hard in the studio on my album. I’ve done a few mix tapes and dropped a few singles, but it’s time for a studio album. I have a couple of videos coming out as well. All this will be unveiled in 2017. I plan to make it my year. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I take my time to get the right sound I want. I’m in no rush though. Sometimes the longer it takes, the better it sounds. I’m also working on a tribute song for 2Pac’s mother with some Death Row talent in the USA. That should be out soon.
What does the future hold for you as an artiste?
Son: It’s difficult to say. You never know what the future will bring. One thing I know for sure is, I’m working hard to leave a mark on the industry. I want people to remember my name long after I’m gone. I want to leave a legacy. I want to be remembered as someone who changed and empowered lives through his music. It’s not about the money or the fame. It’s about making a difference in someone’s life, the same way Pac made a difference in my life.
What advice would you give to upcoming artistes reading this?
Son: Perseverance, hard work and humility. Those are the three main components of success. Keep your head to the sky and your feet on the ground. Don’t let anyone discourage your from pursuing your dreams. That’s just negative energy trying to derail you. Put God first in everything you do.
A message to your fans?
Son: Your support will not go unrewarded. God bless you all! 2017 will be our year! You can count on that! Keep me in your prayers!