Daenan ‘Kofi’ Gyimah is a versatile Torontobased rapper/singer who bridges the gap between genres and fits right into this new wave of alternative hip hop, afrobeat, r&b wave.
Previously signed to Red Bull Records, the 22-year-old Toronto native has established his reputation over the past few years as a rapper, singer and producer, releasing his music independently via his own Jvngle Music Group imprint - including fan favorites “Came Up” and “Wake Up”, each of which have exceeded 2 million streams, and “Hold Me Down” which appears on the NBA 2K20 soundtrack.
Being a former college volleyball star, this upcoming artist has shifted his focus strictly on music, the highly well known music blog EARMILK was quick to highlight Kofi as having “serious potential”, while RESPECT. Mag praised him for displaying “a vision, original sound, [and] talent that is unmatched.” Kofi’s highlight clips on YouTube have racked up tens of millions of views, it’s only natural that Kofi has attracted attention from well-known figures, including Drake, Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire and Toronto rap veterans Kardinal Offishall and Preme.
Raised on his Ghanaian father’s gospel tapes, Kofi was encouraged to follow his passion for music, playing piano, trombone and saxophone, as well as composing classical music for his school band. As he reached his teens, he began channeling his knowledge into hip-hop beats, which he’d sell at school in order to contribute to his household. Initially created using a laptop with GarageBand, Kofi soon evolved his setup into a basement studio that he’d use to produce, mix and master for local talent including Booggz, Pressa, Natra, Jimmy Prime and Jayy Brown.
Kofi expressed that his artist role model would def be Akon. Particularly for having pride in his African heritage - and his ambitions to search for his own lane as a musician, forming a signature fusion of rapped and sung vocals applied to his musically rich instrumentals combining elements of trap, afropop and his hometown’s alt-R&B sound.
Kofi has spent a significant amount of time going back and forth from Toronto to LA, that experience has helped him to open his mind to thinking beyond Toronto rap’s local scene, while doubling down on the elements that helped to make him stand out. “If you’re black in LA, you’re African American, and that’s your history,” he explains. “Whereas in Toronto if you’re black it’s like, ‘Are you Caribbean or are you African?’ So, the music there is so much more heavily African, Caribbean and Haitian influenced.” As a result, his own contemporary influences span the African diaspora, with favorites including British rappers Dave and J Hus, French artist MHD and Nigerian stars Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido and Joeboy.
He also regularly travels back to Scarborough, his hometown, to record, recently releasing two projects: his independent debut album, Hold Me Down and a four track EP recorded in three days entitled Tripolar. Last year he continued to expand his catalogue, dropping 12 singles including the breakthrough single “Came Up” and Pressa-assisted “Snow”.
While he’s released music prolifically since 2018, Kofi also released his Red Bull Records debut, The Story of My Life, set for . The autobiographical release sees Kofi turning up the levels once again, with his most uncompromising and original work to date - of its six tracks, Kofi produced three, as well as writing, mixing and mastering the entire EP himself. “This is what my ideal music is,” he says of the new material. “This is my favorite stuff of mine. It just sounds like me, there’s nothing else like it.”