Takun J, leading artist of the Hip-Co sub-genre, is a personality to behold, both on and off the mic. On the mic, he starts flowing in colloquial, the crowd goes wild. Off the mic, he’s highly composed and ready for business. His real name is Jonathan Kofa, born May 14, 1981 in Montserrado County. Like most children in Liberia, Takun was raised by a single mother from age four, when his father had to leave for the US. It was a very difficult experience and his only comfort at that time was music.
As Liberia takes another trend in development, so are Hip-Co artists taking their musical flavor to another level. Hip-Co, as defined on the BBC, is the “extended version of Hip-Hop which is done in authentic Liberian vernacular”. It has never sounded more rich than it does now, thanks to Hip-Co pioneers such as Takun J and others. These are artists who have blazed the trail to produce this unique musical flavor that has been gradually maturing, in terms of style and substance, over the years.The Hip-Co artist is blaming Liberian DJs for not appreciating Liberian songs and promoting them, but still admits that the entertainment industry is growing and stresses on the need for real exposure out of Liberia.
Through his own music, Takun J aims to enlighten Liberians on what is unfolding in society and its ills. Because of this, he says, he was chased, beaten and thrown into prison when he released a song, “Police Man Coming,” singing on the of corruption among police officers in the country.
This has not stopped Takun from singing, but he rather saw it as a challenge and continued to persevere. He claims he’s fighting a “Hip-co Revolution.” According to him, his inspiration comes from people like Tupac, Bob Marley and Akon on the basis of relating his struggle to theirs.
In school, he took part in many entertainment activities, not just singing but dancing and playing football as well. At age seventeen, he became a member of a singing group called MAGNETIC and their first song was called “We Will Spay Your”, in 2005.
Presently Takun J is now working along with UNICEF as an ambassador of music. Thanks to his new Manager, Ms. Nora Rahimian. He has started working on his second album titled “My Way” watch out for it. He is also working on two other projects on gender based violence, which is sponsored by Action On Armed Violence (formerly Land Mine Action) and PCI Media Impact.
PCI Media Impact’s work involves the use of Entertainment-Education (or ‘Edutainment’), which is the process of purposely designing and implementing a media message both to entertain and educate, in order to increase audience members’ knowledge about an educational issue, create favorable attitudes and change overt behavior.
On the other hand, he believes he has dual personality. “As Takun J, when I’m on stage, I shut the whole place down,” unlike Jonathan Kofa who is a very quiet and shy person, a father and a business man. He loves kids and claims most of his fans are little children. He believes the message stays with the children and when they grow it grows with them also.
“No matter what you can be,” he tries to encourage, “whoever you want to be, do it with persistence and determination. Never let anyone get you down, always look up to the Most High for help because with Him, all things are possible.”