The Culture Joint

A wicked summer conversation with JayCliff


Conversations about the alternative music scene in Ghana can never be said without mentioning a few people who have in their way amplified the community through the music and lifestyle. 

Ghanaian-born artiste JayCliff also known as the founder of the Hours Culture has been one of the custodians of the alternative music scene over the last few years.

While pursuing his career, he created a small community within the larger community known as Hours Culture,” which was a group of young people that did not only enjoy Jay’s music but also affiliated themselves with the alternative community as a whole.

With songs like Problematic, Red Wine, Vybz and Chill, and Crossfaded being fan favorites, JayCliff was one of the few people preaching the old gospel to all who cared to listen. After an incredible 2019–2021, Jay took a short break from music.

In 2022, he made a return with his song Jewel but would go on another short break, which he recently returned from with his 3-song pack “Wicked Summer”. For Culture Joint, I had a conversation with the artist where we talked about his music, life, his break, and Wicked Summer, among other things.

For those now meeting Jay Cliff, how would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a passionate and creative individual who is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of my chosen artistic medium. I seek inspiration from various sources, and I am committed to honing my skills and evolving as an artist. My work is a reflection of my unique perspective and experiences, and I aim to connect with and provoke emotions in my audience through my art. I am excited about the journey ahead and look forward to sharing my vision with the world.

You have been described as one of the front-runners of Alte music in Ghana. How did you get involved with the community?

When I started this music journey, I kept on trying and experimenting with different sounds to reach the point where I could say I’ve found my sound”. Drawing inspiration from the alté naija scene, the genre helped me find myself as an artist and also find my sound. After the release of an alté cruise to a happy place, I knew this was the community and genre to which I belonged. Not to box myself or anything of that sort, but Alté got me to the point where I could say I found myself as an artist.

There is a notion that the alternative community has grown, but the community has not connected properly with mainstream industry. How would you describe the current scene as compared to when you got into the community?

The growth of the Ghanaian alté scene has been lovely, but there’s so much more room for improvement and development. With artists like Amaarae, Super Jazz Club, La Meme, etc., the growth has been immense, and all we can do is play our part in the development of the scene here in Ghana. As of now, we can confidently say there’s an active alt-Ghanaian scene with the likes of Imullar, Harmonattan Rain, etc. doing their hits to push the culture.

You came into the room and introduced us to the Hours Culture and gave us some jams and some very good projects, but then, after a minute, you went dark, and now you are back. What has changed about Jay Cliff over that period?

A lot of stuff played a factor in my hiatus. Life happened, tbh, and I had to deal with certain stuff to make sure I could stay as consistent as I used to. It’s not something I expect the fans or outsiders to understand, but everything happening now is for the greater good. We live and learn each day, and all I can do is be a better person as each day passes by. I’ve had to sort out stuff I can’t personally disclose, but I can assure you that the hour culture is back in full effect, and with God on my side, it’s only up from here.

Last year you gave Jewel, and I fast-forwarded you back with a pack. Why the pack?

The wicked summer pack is just my way of saying sorry for the wait and thanking you for your patience. I’m working on two EPs at the moment and realized it could take a while to get everything in order to make the success of those projects imminent. The pack is to remind fans about the greatness they’ve missed and the greatness to come. This pack is to say that I’m back and better than before, learning and unlearning things to contribute to the success of my career.

Wicked Summer, Run us through what WS is.

This project is basically a how it started, how it’s going, and how it went story line about a summer fling I had. I’ve got two dope producers who could help me bring the vision to life so the fans can understand the sound I’m bringing and what they can expect.

Is this project an announcement of Jay Cliff coming back full-time? Also, should we expect some visuals and maybe a concert?

You can say that music has always been full-time for me. The hiatus didn’t change that one bit. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, and regardless of the fact that you can’t control everything, I like to do things the right way once and for all. Hence the break to figure things out and put things in place. And yes, you can expect some visuals and an intimate concert.

As stated earlier, the community has obviously seen significant growth, and there are more players now. Are we going to see JayCliif making music with some of the new faces within the community?

And yes, I’m always open to collaboration. Anything to add to the development of the alté scene in Ghana and Ghanaian music as a whole. I’ve come across some dope new artists as well; the future is exciting. As long as the sound is dope and things are done right, I’d love to work with anyone who wants to work with me.

Taking back to Wicked Summer, what are your 5 summer essentials?

Sunglasses, pocket perfume, summer playlists, water 😂 , andshorts 

Final words for your fans

To the fans, I’m grateful for the support thus far. It’s about to be a beautiful journey for anyone who fucks with Jay Cliff.

Written by: Nana Kojo Mula

The Culture Joint