Tulenkey Breaks Down ‘Bad Friends’ EP, Reflecting On Inner Demons, Mental Health & More

Tulenkey Breaks Down ‘Bad Friends’ EP, Reflecting On Inner Demons, Mental Health & More

Tulenkey has been making waves in the music industry ever since his breakout cover of Cardi B’s “I Like It”. This cover led to the creation of his popular hit single “Child Abuse”, featuring a remix and collaboration with Medikal. Since then, Tulenkey has continued to captivate his fans, consistently surprising them and “breaking social media” with freestyle verses and sneak peeks of upcoming releases, a strategy that suits an artist of immense talent as himself.

In a recent conversation with Eastern Child, Tulenkey delves into the inspiration and creative process behind his latest project, a 4-track EP titled “Bad Friends”. This EP seamlessly combines introspective lyricism with captivating melodies, showcasing Tulenkey’s ability to explore thought-provoking themes through engaging and clever lyrics and melodies. Through “Bad Friends”, Tulenkey navigates the intricate maze of human emotion, delving into the complexities of inner demons and societal pressures.

Ghanaian rapper
Ghanaian Rapper, Tulenkey

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your EP “Bad Friends” and how the concept came about?

I’m on a different trajectory this year, focusing on issues that are often overlooked. One topic that stands out is mental health, which I believe is quite common yet frequently misunderstood by the majority. Hence, the EP.

Each track in your EP seems to delve into different aspects of battling inner demons. How did you approach the storytelling and songwriting process for this project?

The issue I’m addressing is quite serious, which can often be perceived as boring to the youth if approached too seriously. So, I decided to add a bit of wit, humor, and commercial appeal to make it more appealing to my target audience. For example, with my previous track “Child Abuse,” to a casual listener, it may seem like just an entertaining song with nonstop lyrical cadence, but it’s also very educational.

The EP features Kweku Flick, Oseikrom Sikanii & Beeztrap KOTM. How did these collaborations come about and what did each artist bring to the project?

With “Bad Group,” which features Kweku Flick and Oseikrom Sikanii, the initial plan was to do it alone. However, after recording and playing it back, I realized I needed more melodic raps to heighten the “feel-good” factor the song brings. Who better than Kweku Flick, the King of Melodies, and Oseikrom with his unique melodic rap? For “Bad Feeling,” the moment I heard the song, I knew BeezTrap was the right guy for it. I believed he could nail it even better than I did because it perfectly matched his style. I sent it to him, and the following day, I received a banger.

Can you walk us through the significance of the tracklist, from “Bad Friends” to “Bad Thoughts,” and how each song contributes to the overall narrative you’re pushing with the EP?

“Bad Friends” addresses the monsters in our heads that masquerade as friends and often lead us to do the unthinkable when they overpower us. “Bad Group” delves into when the thoughts in our heads become bigger and stronger, making them difficult to control. “Bad Feeling” explores the sensation we all experience at times, which pushes us to do the wrong thing, such as making advances towards a friend’s girlfriend. We know it’s wrong, but the feeling is sometimes too strong to resist. “Bad Thoughts” focuses on what goes on in our minds, especially during lonely hours when anxiety sets in. It’s when we start to question if things will ever improve, if we’re good enough, or if we’re destined to win or lose.

The songs on this project seem to be a portrayal of battling negativity. How personal are the themes in the lyrics and music to you and how have you been dealing with them?

I haven’t personally experienced these situations, but I know people who have, and they served as my inspiration. However, the last song, ‘Bad Thoughts,’ is something I really used to deal with before I came into the limelight, and even now sometimes. I used to put in so much effort to achieve success, and when I didn’t see results, I began to question myself.

Album cover art
Tulenkey Cover art, “Bad Friends” EP

When you release your projects, you incorporate sampling and interpolations. What specific samples are featured in this project, and how do they contribute to Tulenkey’s overall artistic identity?

I enjoy listening to motivational speakers a lot, and I sometimes feel that one person alone can’t accurately express their views on a topic. That’s why I often sample some of the speeches I listen to that best explain the message I’m trying to convey. It adds more weight to the song and provides a better understanding.

In what ways do you feel this EP sets itself apart from your previous work, and how do you see your music evolving in the future?

I feel this EP is really different from my previous projects because most of them didn’t carry a theme as deep and as well explained as this one.

What was the most challenging aspect of creating “Bad Friends,” and what was the most rewarding part of bringing this project to life?

The most challenging aspect was the timeframe I gave myself because I’m trying to work faster than usual and put out more projects. It’s quite challenging because I’m the type who will spend weeks on just one verse. I’m a Virgo, what do you expect lol. But I read something from Atomic Habits that says, “Focus on taking action, not motion,” and the more you take action, the more automated a habit becomes. The rewards? “Bad Feeling” is currently number 6 on Shazam’s top 200, which means people are searching for the EP, indicating that it’s doing well.

Lastly, how do you see this EP fitting into your overall artistic journey, and what can fans expect from you in the near future?

Like I said earlier, I’m focused on addressing issues that have been overlooked, and we, as artists, are the mouthpiece of the people. The moment I adopted this mindset and started working in this direction, I felt a sense of wholesomeness and accomplishment, which means I’m doing something right. So, fans can expect more of this—tackling important issues that need addressing and providing a better understanding of these issues.

Listen to “Bad Friends” on all streaming platforms here: Bad Friends EP

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