INTERVIEW – Qama

Qama

Qama is a hip hop artist working in Nairobi. You can watch his music videos on his youtube channel, stream and download his music on soundcloud and reverbnation, and connect with him on his facebook page or on twitter.

UPDATE: 10 October 2013.
New music from Qama, Ace Tha Don & Voodooseller – Safari.

1. Share some of your mistari and talk about where they came from, what they talk about, what inspired u to write them.

Huu mziki talanta kuikuza kama ile maisha safari
Panda shuka mingi kwa hii fani kibaharia kwa bahari
Mi ni nabii kama yule mtume japo sikuzaliwa kwa jori
Records everyday noble ari kiWangari na nobel
Kwa ajili yako tu tunacheza kwetu bila kutuzwa,bila label!
Am so able kama kingo mafungu mingi shinda kitabu ufunuo
Mafunzo vast knowledge bahari on a soul searching mission
So leo kama jana nimefungua kibanda ndo nipate my portion
ya tis money
na scarse ni hizi senti hard kupata kama kubusu nyuki upate asali
Maskio leteni kwangu ni wape elimu mi ndo kaisari
Kuniskiza mkiwa low kunicheza mkiwa na chore kuwaliwaza panapo majonzi
Kuwapunguzia mawazo na kuwapa matumaini baada ya dhiki faraja
Baada ya dhoruba jua lita waka kuwapa raha
Ningekua kigoli kwenu ningekua namba moja
Kila uchao kwa uso zenu naacha tabasamu lililofana
mtanicheza kanisani mtanicheza kwenye mazishi,kwenye densi
Hospitalini kisa na maana mi ndo dawa

This are my lines of a song called ”Music.” in the lines am relating myself to a prophet yet I was born in no manger, [talking about] the many challenges that come with nurturing this talent. We (artists) try so hard to educate people in vain just like the prophets but we still give hope to people in times of joy, sorrow… that after the rain the sun will shine and that’s (my music) will be played when people are doing chores, in funerals, in church…its just music.


2. Where are you from, What was it like growing up?

I got roots in Kenya and Uganda..In Nairobi I rep 87 and South C. I dint grow up in the city, life wasn’t that easy being brought up by a single mother but in way we always pulled through I guess its by the grace of God.


3. What kind of hustles were people involved in?

There were many hustles it depended with an individual. Others used to play football and get [paid], others sell drugs like opium, sell phones(second hand), buy and sell clothes, even sell pirated music.

4. What does hip hop mean to you, What made you get involved in Hip Hop?

Hip Hop is a genre of music that involves the rhythmical creation of beauty through rapping. According to me though it is a culture of how we live and relate to one another eventually expressing it through poetry, pictures, art, and dance.


5. What do the words ‘kazi’, ‘vijana’ and ‘mshamba’ mean to you?

Kazi means work, vijana-youth, mshamba is this person from the village who comes to the city, also some will refer to mshamba as one who has no idea of certain norms or routines.


6. What is ‘politicking’?

It may refer to the drumming of political support especially if one is a politician.


7. What is ‘mental slavery’?

I think it is when people hold on to false beliefs, which in many cases they are made to.

8. Can you say anything about the youth drug problems in Kenya?

Drug problems among the youth in Kenya [are] greatly influenced by peer pressure or idleness, or trying to be ‘cool,’ some do it out of life’s frustrations.

9. Who/What is promoting violence, who/what has lessened violence?

Many, at times violence is triggered by politicians especially when they divide people along tribal lines 😦 The people themselves have quit fighting because they noticed it just brings self-destruction. NGOs too have tried to sensitize the communities against violence.


10. How are hiphop artists making money from their music today?

Artists are making money by selling their mixtapes, lps, merchandise like t-shirts, going for shows….

qama mwanzo mypa genesis


11. How do politics and your own personal values impact your work?

Politics affect my music in one way or the other, in turn am forced to speak against the social ills in the society which come with bad politics.

12. Besides rappers, who else do you see ‘doing’ hip hop, other artists, deejays, dancers, graffiti artists, activists, hustlas, etc. ?

Graffiti artists, dancers and some deejays.


13. Name your favorite musical artists, who are you listening to sasa ?

aint stuck on one artist or particular artists but people who make good and timeless music which anyone can relate to. Let me name but a few; kendrick lamar, Lupe fiasco, Immortal technique, Jay Z, Snow goons, Washamba wenza, Xcalibur Shahidi, Ace the god Apollo, Nemesis aka man njoro, Kimya Miyaki….I cant name them all.

14. What are some obstacles you have encountered during your involvement in the hip hop scene(s)?

Mostly its financial challenges like money not be available all the time for a quality production both audio and visual. Also some media personalities who dont relate to Hip hop intentionally dont play the songs you give em.


15. Why do you think there aren’t as many femcees?

Maybe because the hip hop scene has been dominated by male artists some femcees shy off to stand for what they believe in.


16. How have women contributed to hip hop in East Africa?

😀 giving birth to this amazing artists around.


17. What can you say about any community hip hop projects helping young people today, that you know of or are involved with?

I know of Hip Hop for peace which is usually organised by G’Ganji records and The Bus Radio, Sarakasi Trust also organize a couple of events at the Sarakasi Dome [in] Nairobi.


18. Could you describe some positive things you have seen hip hop communities doing? Whether it is artists sharing resources, a place to stay, getting linked with work
etc.

The greatest of all is that mental support artists give each other and the hope they give to the society through music..I’ve seen people relate to music with a positive message or situations similar to theirs.

19. What hustles are you working on now? is there such a thing as hip hop jobs? ama only hustling? (Talk about any of your projects, musical or otherwise)

Am finalizing my debut album called Mwanzo Mpya (Genesis). Also planning for more videos starting next month and marketing my music. Hip hop as genre of music can be taken as a job which pays if only the house is in order.


20. What are some of the obstacles/problems facing young people in Kenya today (zote, Lodwar to Dando to Westi?)

Mainly its peer pressure, drug abuse and for the less fortunate I think its is the poor living conditions at home.


21. How are you interacting with artists across the globe and also particularly in East Afrika?

I have done some collaborations with two; Madish from South Africa and EMC from Tanzania. In Kenya I have featured a couple; Smallz Lethal(Washamba Wenza), Kev Mamba(Washamba Wenza), Latisha aka Laty, Mo, Xcalibur Shahidi, Kuru GB, Chacha…

22. What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Kenya?

Young people nowadays have learnt to appreciate whatever talent they have and the society has [embraced] that.

23. How can people learn more about your work, music, performances and projects you are involved in?

Ill be posting my tracks online www.soundcloud.com/qama-1 or on www.reverbnation.com/qama

people can also like my fanpage:www.facebook.com/QamaKE or follow my twitter handle for updates @Qama_KE
my facebook account is http://www.facebook.com/mahlon.quintine.1
People can also search my videos on youtube ‘Mwanzo Mpya‘and ‘Shilingi‘ or subscribe to my channel ‘qamamusic


24. please give a brief bio of uaself.

Born in the late 80’s,been doing music for nine years but my peak was this year [2012] where I had to take music seriously and express maturity in content. I basically do hip hop and spoken word in Swahili, English or a mixture of the two but you’ll notice most of my tracks are in Swahili. I find it to be a beautiful language. My inspiration is derived from the life we live, the people I interact with, issues in our social setting and the dreams I have. Music is the soul’s therapy that’s how I see it.

Asante sana,

Kevlexicon @hiphopkambi

Update – 24 January 2013 Check out Qama’s new track “Something you need to know” feat. Kev Mamba and Smallz Lethal of Washamba Wenza.

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