After immigrating from Ghana, student balances education, music career

Deep in West Africa, Frank Opoku’s love for music was born.

“I started rapping at school and to my friends, and somehow got a following then I started thinking that maybe I could actually do something,” Opoku said.

Going by Je Skido, Opoku said after listening to one of his favorite rappers, Sarkodie, he started covering his songs for his friends at school in Africa.

After gaining confidence, Opoku then began to follow the flow and beat of Sarkodie and wrote his own lyrics.

“I had, and still do, have a big following in West Africa because that’s when I really started to blow up in school and in the community.”

Before being moved to the United States, Opoku had already recorded a song.

Born in Ghana, Africa, Opoku was set to graduate a year before he moved, and though his father preached how schooling was very beneficial, he has another plan for his family.

From saving, praying and wishing for 11 years, Opoku’s father moved him and his sister to the United States in 2015 to learn the English language, as well as to enjoy better schooling and better opportunities.

“The West African schooling system basically set you up to fail. It was hard,” he said.

Opoku’s mother still lives in Ghana, and he said he hopes she can be brought to the United States soon because he misses her.

“I work at Hy Vee, and with every paycheck I get, I save a little toward her paperwork in coming here. I really want to see my mom,” Opoku said.

He said that living here is very different in the way people treat each other.

“People respect each other’s views. They accept whoever they choose to be. Where I am from, you cannot be different. We wouldn’t accept trans, gay and other kinds of people. You would get beat or be in hiding.”

Opoku said he is now glad he doesn’t have to follow what everyone else thinks is right.

“I am able to see the light that I was brainwashed to be shielded from on so many obstacles life brings,” he said.

In addition to his changed perception on many issues, he is able to experience different things and said he can relate to others in a different but good way.

When entering the United States and moving to Cedar Falls, Opoku’s father said he would make his son go back to school to receive a better education and understand how to express himself in this new community.

“I’ll be 20 this August, so I’m old, but I don’t care because education is not a race to finish. I’m just going because I want to be learning,” he said.

Not only did Opoku and his family insist on learning the English language, he also was persistent in learning how to sing, rap and write his songs in English as well.

With having one recorded song in his first language, Opoku now has an album dropped, thousands of followers on all social media platforms such as Instagram, Spotify, Snapchat and Soundcloud.

Being influenced by some of the best artists in the game, like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and Jonah Lucas, he said, “I now can just rap about things going on like I wanna make people think not talk about girls or partying, drugs and cars. I want to talk about real things,” Opoku said.

Regarding what life would be like if he had stayed in Ghana, Opoku said that by this time he would have dropped out of school or not gone to college after graduating high school and would have focused on music full time.

“With my friends there making bigger names, I could have had a bigger fanbase there than I have here,” he said, “but I like how I can understand and express my emotions in both languages, so I believe I truly have the advantage by being here.”

Because Opoku is a music geek, he has been involved in marching band, regular band and jazz band by playing percussion instruments, and he also plays soccer.

In the fall of 2018, Opoku will be fulfilling his parents wishes and his own dreams from hard work and dedication by attending Wartburg College, receiving a full ride for computer science.

He said he will not be continuing his soccer career but has high hopes and aspirations of creating a bigger name for himself in the music business when he is done with school.

Opoku, or Je SKido, encouraged everyone to follow and take a listen to him on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube.

“I’m a music guy. What can I say?”

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