We had the unique opportunity to sit down with Caponeli Mak, a Cameroon raised Francophone musician based in Morocco. Learn more about the rising urban music scene in Central Africa and more about Caponeli Mak and his music.
Hey there Caponeli Mak, introduce yourself!
Steeven B. Ouanzin, (born March 07, 1990) rapper, singer, songwriter, executive producer, actor, and entrepreneur, from Bangui (CAR).
I was raised in Cameroon for the most part. I lived in Central African countries until grade college, playing Basketball with the school team and ONYX team. After high school graduation, I was homeless for about 5 years. I had to figure out a lot of things and this was where I started being more serious with music but it wasn’t to make a living. More for expressing and kind of having an outside view of that thing I was stuck into.
Musically inspired by Jay-Z and Meek Mill, I self-released my debut mixtape, Only thi family, on my birthday earlier this year. The mixtape included vast production from Moroccan and French producers Like Freezemuder & Big Mo.
I could describe the project as “pretty radio friendly, not much content to it.” The mixtape was released for sale only and got around 18000 streams till today.
There’s no real structure in Morocco for urban music so we started with my partners to develop our independent label Hydromel Music and this is where I started being serious with the music I should do and work on.
When did you start music?
Honestly I never had an answer for that. Don’t know if I should count days when I was just writing poems for myself and expressing things or that moment when I started to be homeless then poetry took wings free styling with the friends for spending time, and staying around studios and helping because your friend owns the place.
If we talk about that moment I started to take music as a way to make a living, I think it’s 3 years ago. Just had my bachelor and started to think about a way to secure the bag and I wasn’t really a fan of the workflow in the finance world around here. And there are no real labels in my area, the music business is still low so I decided to take action. But I feel like I’ve been making “music” forever now.
Who inspired you to start making music?
I had no inspiration, never felt like I took this “love” somewhere. True that Dre, Snoop, Pac and precursors got me liking the path but I got listening coz I loved reading and playing with words since a young age. What I feel like I really took and like inspired me is all these codes behind music! It kind of helped me see the me I would be and writing, recording, perspectives talking about things that happened or I saw made me grow my thoughts and even my heart.
Being on my own that early … and the life I was through got me keeping music still forward I guess.
How would you describe your music style?
I don’t know honestly because it’s more a reflection of what’s going on through my life, head, my friend’s life or head and that’s the kind of music I can say I’m doing. I never felt like I had to put a style on my music maybe because I’m still young with this. Maybe later I’ll feel more comfortable with a specific style but for now it’s more about the energy I can put in the song or the feelings I would put in and the things I would express. I don’t know if it’s relevant for someone but it’s helping me … so I’m just trying to get better at what I see doing me good ahah.
But what I could say is most of my songs are ones you could listen between 10pm and 8 o’clock. Few of my songs are made for the purpose of a nightclub or this area. Ain’t coming to make you shake that booty. Let’s ride and turn up the all ride. It’s a hunter’s music…
Who are you listening to now?
Kind of everything, I’m trying to keep an open mind with that music thing. I live in a time where fridges will talk soon because cars are just about to drive themselves so here I am.
But seriously yeah, I’m trying to listen to everything without ideas just to see how others are picturing their mind and vibe through the song. But I would lie if I don’t say that I’m listening to a lot of Hov, Meek Mill, J Cole, DMX, Kendrick, Future, Lil baby… but I even listen to kpop sometimes to feel how Asia is feeling…
What’s your best project or single so far?
I would say my mixtape OTF. Radio friendly, but I’d the first project we tried to do good. Like we took a lotta time to think the song, I rewrite some songs 3 times for some songs. I even recorded two to three versions of the same song with mains changes. Tried different mastering setups… we tried to make the process from start to end like pro should have done it. And this what I’m proud of. And it’s going good with no real promotion so yeah, I would say OTF.
Any upcoming releases from you to look out for?
A lot I guess. I’ve been recording a lot with the COVID situation. Recorded “Marina Bay”, a 7 tracks project where I’m singing in French, for my friend working on my beats Big Mo that will drop when the sun comes back a bit more. I’m dropping a 5 tracks project actually, “Epidemic”, a project I recorded through confinement. Just ended to write the scenario of a short movie I would develop. So yes, there’s always something in the kitchen.
Have any shout outs?
Shout out to my team, Hydromel Music. I’m nobody but without their support, I wouldn’t be in the position of answering this and all without who they are, Mirataaga, Chblaoui, FreezeMurder, Big Mo.. can’t put all the names but hands up for these hunters.
Shout out to Downers Club, for what we are about to go through. Hope it’s a long and trendy way. So shout out to everybody stuck in the project, sun falling but rising too! Stay loyal and focus. Y’all doing good!
Don’t miss out on anything else from Caponeli Mak. Make sure to follow him on all social media platforms @CaponeliMak!