[Note: Kevlexicon made typographical edits in some places]
Please give a brief bio of yourself
kitu sewer straight from the land where the sewer spilt from its channels till he met the pioneers n became the poet one of a force to reckon all thanks to God. Went mute for a while, now back again like never left the saga continues.
Where are u from, what was it like growing up?
I’m from the sprawling east lands estates namely dandora in Nairobi. Born and raised there for the better part of my life. Growin up was tough, just as u expected, hard but i have no regrets having the street education the hard way aaah!
What kind of hustles were people involved in?
Everyone was caught up in anything that could bring something on the table, though most lived hand-to-mouth. Some died while trying to live beyond their means.
What does Hip Hop mean to you, What made you get involved in Hip Hop?
It’s a means of expression of the pressures of the modern time that the youth of today go through and of course it’s my life. I have been an artist since mama’s push. I just found myself in it. I can’t recall a specific start point. It came naturally.
What do the words kazi, vijana and mshamba mean to you?
—-kazi means work like –makin a livin
vijana is the youth, though it mostly sounds junior in the sense that u still struggling
mshamba means native lands –or u could say farm lands dependin on how u wan to express it, the ‘m’ is possessive
What is politicking?
What is mental slavery?
Dependency on something that u have been indoctrinated to due to systems put in place by a selfish elite. It then translates to being a staunch follower of things that u think that you must be aware of yet they really don’t make your life any better. Ni kama vile hakuna mtu anataka kuitwa mshamba ju hujui ways za west.
Can you say anything about the youth drug problems in Kenya?
–it’s funded by people from higher places involved in politics with business interests
Who/ What is promoting violence, who/ what has lessened violence?
–mental slavery n ignorance–of rights -lack of education –the list endless–of lessening i could say arts cos violence is a result of idleness and art is creative thus if u are busy, though at most times we are just preoccupied, you cant find yourself being used as a foot-soldier in the battle of thrones.
How are hiphop artists making money from their music today?
sales though its hard to get a large ready market
sponsorship from well wishers –not enuff –mixtapes are like dinosaurs maaaan!
shows, clothing lines
endorsements –sellouts –all depends on ones own perseverance n smart thinkin. It’s a jungle down here
How do politics and your own personal values impact in you work?
–I’m blind to what doesn’t concern me n concerned with what people turn a blind eye on
Besides rappers, who else do you see doing hiphop, other artists, dancers, graffiti artists, activists, hustlas etc?
you just named em all except djs, and of course the people around me all that positivity and negativity brings around purpose
Name your favourite musical artists, who you are listening to sasa?
Biggy, Nas, Bushman, Dezaree, boot camp clique –a lot of mighty culture n bushman oooooh! Bob u know who! n Dennis brown man the list is endless
What are some of the obstacles encountered during your involvement in the hiphop scene?
The fact that u can hit n still find it hard to sell, especially in Kenya. finding distributional channels is scarce
how have women contributed to hiphop in East Africa?
–or rather where would it be without them as much as there are mishaps lets not forget it’s one of the biggest business enterprises in the world so u can imagine how many salespeople, managers, customers, CEOs, directors… and the fact that women outnumber men in population statistics
What can you say about the Mau Mau kambi, are there any similar community hiphop projects helping young people today?
— Mau Mau still remains one of the best that mentored many a talent that still rock the scene.
It was a platform that inspired n still continues to do so.
There are other projects, for example, I’m right now workin with a group of youth from kitengela who happen to be talented mcs and still are multi talented in other lines of art
What type of community organisations, informal or formal are helping vijana in East Africa leo?
The music n actin industries have proved quite well as way of makin a livin
Could u describe some positive things you have seen hiphop communities do? Whether its artists sharing resources, a place to stay, getting linked with work etc.
I’ve seen hiphop societies makin an example n influencin hopeless young pple from idle minds to creativity. As u know an idle mind is a devil’s workshop and this is the biggest rehab so far cos it need no distinction
What hustlers are you working on now? Is there such a thing as hiphop jobs? ama only hustling? (talk about any of your projects, musical or otherwise)
—–I’d rather u see them, keep n touch, actions speak louder. of course got ma addresses— books, spoken word shows comin
What are some of the obstacles/problems facing in Kenya today (zote Lodwar to Dando to Westi)
Like i said most of it lack of education n self realization thus being easily led to violences by greedy selfish gain motivated politicians.
How are you interacting with artists across the globe and also particularly East Afrika?
Through the internet n I’m lookin forward to spread this sheng / swahili rap further
What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Kenya?
Shunning of tribalism and the homeguard mentality [Note: Homegaurd were people armed by the colonizers to fight Mau Mau during the struggle for Kenyan independence]. Youth are givin way to new ideas and joining the civilised world
How can people learn more about your work, music, performances and projects you are involved in?
If its the music it’s all over the internet. Am in the final stages of working on a website whereby the general public will be able to download music, share ideas on socio-economic, environmental issues etc. u will be among the first people to get this info.