This is the Life (translation)
Translation provided by Smallz
also, check out the Skobo Fugee Collection, for more of Skobo’s music.
Vas 1, Smallz Mshamba Mwenza:
Me hukuona natoka Soo ndio mwaa nikukiss baby/pia nataka kukuona daily, iko on air kile umeseti / sikuskizi kama uko shady
Nikistand out weh umeketi / nikiblak out weh ni mlevi, ju unaown 16bars ..wanahop kukill verse instead ya kukip it live kwa chapter, na ukihook food 4 thought hii jeshi inaimanga vifaster
Always nikinyesha weh unameza hii flow, me ni smallz weh ndio HIPHOP, unafaa makofi ya Kilo, juu nimeshiba weh ndio mwiko sa nameditate thru hii product ya kiko..
Vile weh ni m’fat Jo na techniques za Puerto Rico, umefanyianga the people, wengine off stereo, hawa majaba chai, wanasmile na mimi ju imewadia ile time, switnes in its prime, addicted ka ghetto crime..
Umenifunza kutema maswala, kujiexpress vile mawaza, kubaki REAL kwa LEAGUE, Kikazi kutenga mafala
Pia nastick hapa nitek teachngs ka Lession, wameinsist kuwaplease kutek teachings kwa Lesso, hawakugusi leo ju unasound mKesho, the Future,the promises, the proccess of being, MUSIC itself. kama ni Hiphop niko safe, hizi zingine siskizi, speakers gon dizzy..the more unaget closer hapa the more naget feelings..
-[in refferance to HIPHOP,] evrytime i hear a hiphop sound, its time to rush n embrace it,.whatever it has to offer is on air, i aint gon listen if it’s shady,
– sum artists just want to ‘kill’ it in a verse instead of teaching, entertain..keep it live in that chapter..n also Hiphop is never lame,it got ’16 bars’evrytime even when am high..
HIPHOP does evrythng, i only meditate on what it brings onto the table..n i meditate on this product of the pipe..when i spit, Hiphop swallows my words thru the instrumental.
HIPHOP gives a FAT beat, comparing it to Fat Joe of Latino bakground.. Other artists go off it at times tho..the beat kills the artists’ works if they dont DELIVER.. Its now my time, switnes in its prime.. Hiphop got me addicted lyk GHETTO CRIME.
It gave me a perfect way of how to express my thoughts n feelings.. Now am able to remain, stay top and REAL,just like Real Madrid on their League ..and with my works, not to work with fools.
I promise to stick to Hiphop 4ever.. to take teachngs like in a class lession..other artists choose to take teachings from a ‘leso’, [swahili word for the clothng women wear with teachngs written at the bottom of it.]. So if its HIPHOP Then am safe, aint gving it up 4 other genres ..stickn to it’s promises for the future..
Translation provided by Judge BlackDuo and Lness
vas 2 – Flamez Mshamba Mwenza –
…..what i feel i will write wether is wrong or wright though not a sent i will cast the first rym on the mic. First flow no track cash flow no works less more chase more i acknowledge its a fact. I am giving you knowledge in dozes u can call me a doctor. I AM FEEDING MASSES with vases u can call me a padry. If there is a bad situation to be broke is a sin without a job its very dangerous. hastling is not fare. Stil camping with the boyz like the brazilian coach and this mascles are ready to full fil my jorney. my talent is a free gift thats why i dont pay douwary ..If its earning u are giving then you are dresing and feeding nations. I am not doing music coz of fame its the love in every instru ..after math is a birth worht words coz this vas has mo teaching than you can find in school MWEMBEEMBE sound like empty debez so lets make noise as we bowll is the focus
…the wispers of wind this are the voices in my mind guardian angle is with me i mean selasi nasi. it Genessis book of the bible and kuran words still runing teach one bless one is to earn..in the hood is acardemy where we learn. how to go through love is a must like a fog[blunt]. I am day dreaming at night sleep walking listen i street talk the word. Remember the streets is where sir Jah lives early bird on the sun remember God when thingz are sah and it will be ok. This is the extra muzikah focus in Afrikah. Pleasure dont mix with biz bro u cant manage to fix this is the son of man on the crussifix THUNDER all over suden there was dark SCOBO FACE NEVER FADEZ U KNOW
Translation provided by Mohjay:
Kile nafeel na write, whether ni wrong or write, though not a saint, I’ll curse [cast?] the first rhymes kwa m.i.c., fast slow, no track, cash flow, no works, works, less more, chase more, naku-acknowledge in fact, nawapa knowledge in doses, unaeza niita dokte, nalisha mases verses uneza thani ni padri, ka kuna hali ya hatari kukosa mali ni dhambi, kukosa kazi ni hatari juu hustle si halali, nimedunga kambi na wachezaji ka ule coach wa brazil, na hizi muscles huwa tayari, tena ready ku-influence safari, kipaji ni free tayari na hatufiki bei ya mahari, ka ni riziki unanipa unanilisha unanivisha, sifanyi mziki juu ya sifa uwa ni mapenzi kwa kila instru, aftermath uwanga birth otherwise juu verse, imehold more teaching uwezi pata shuleni, mbwembe mbwembe empty debe, uwa ni kelele kwa wingi vigelegele, sherehe ndio twa focus aiisee
What I feel I write, whether it’s wrong or right, though not a saint, I’ll curse [cast?] the first rhymes on the mic, fast slow, no track, cash flow, no works, less more, chase more, I acknowledge in fact, I give knowledge in doses, you can call me a doctor, I feed the masses verses you might think it’s a priest, if there is a dangerous situation then if I don’t have wealth it’s a sin, lacking a job is dangerous because hustling is illegal, I’m in the camp with the players like the coach of Brazil, and this muscles are always ready, and they are ready to influence the journey, talent is free and I can’t even pay the dowry, if it’s my right then remember you are not the one who gives me my earning and you don’t feed me nor clothe me, am not doing music because of fame, it’s always love in every instrument, aftermath it’s always birth otherwise because the verse, has held more teachings you can’t find in school, talking, talking empty shit, is always a lot of noise like applause, celebrating is what we focus, I say
Mawhispers za wind, hizi ndio voices kwa mind, Guardian angel yuko name, I mean, sela Selassie ni Genesis, somo la Bible na Quran word, kwa mouth inazidi run, teach one, bless one, ndio earn, mtaani academy, tunazidi learn, jinsi ya kuishi, upendo lazima ka moshi, na-daydream, usiku na-sleepwalk, listen niki-street talk neno, kumbuka, izi mitaa ndio sir Jah ukaa, early bird kwa saa ndio sasa, kumbuka, Rabuka, kukipambazuka, mambo itakua mzuka, hii ni extra musika, makinika kiafrica, pleasure usimix na biz bro, huwes mek kunifix mwana adam kwa crucifix, blunder, thunder, mara giza jinx, skobo paints, never failes [fades?] you know,
Whispers of the wind, those are the voices of the mind, the guardian angel is with me, I mean, sela Selassie is the Genesis, reading of the Bible and the Quran word, in my mouth it continues to run, teach one, bless one, then earn, the streets academy, we continue to learn, in ways we live, love is a must like the smoke, I day dream, tonight, I sleepwalk, I listen as I street talk the word, remember this streets is where sir Jah lives, the time of the early bird is now, remember God when the sun rises, African pleasure, don’t mix with business, bro, you can’t make it to fix me, the son of Adam, to crucify, blunder, thunder, or even darkness, skobo paints, never fails [fades?], you know
Skobo Fugee, (aka Skobo Jesuit Kusini, aka Skobo Fuu, aka Bosco ) was an emcee who lived in Mombasa and Dandora. Despite severe obstacles thruout his life, he managed to put together a catalogue of impressive music that pushed hip hop forward, and brought positive vibes to the people around him. He will be sorely missed, and fondly remembered by everyone who had the opportunity to meet him and his music. Pole sana
Also, I think it’s important to say, the generations of economic war that mababis have waged on villagers, including people forced to grow up rough like Skobo, must be resisted by anyone who claims hip hop. This tragedy did not need to happen. Skobo was too young. We must do better.
Below is a collection of some of Skobo’s music:
This Is The Life – Ananda, Skobo, Flamez Mshamba Mwenza, Smallz Lethal ( Washamba Wenza , A-World )
Careless Whispers – Frankwest Mshamba Mwenza, Skobo
Amefall Na G – Ananda, Young Bob ( aka Bosco Baya ), Skobo, Kaktus Kusini ( A-World, Audio Kusini )
Unga Unga – Kidis, Ekori, Skobo, Kaktus ( Audio Kusini )
Tumechoka – Kidis, Silver, Skobo, Ekori Turkana, Gas Fyatu, Edu Doo Mambo, Kevlexicon, Kaktus ( Okoa Hip Hop Project, Audio Kusini )
Living It, Loving It – Skobo, Silver, Liqweed, Ekori Turkana, Kevlexicon, Kaktus Kusini
Kitu ni ka hio – 32 Records
Sahaulika – Ekori Turkana, Skobo, Gas Fyatu, Blackfella, Edu Doo Mambo, Kaktus, Kevlexicon ( Audio Kusini )
UPDATE: 23, May 2014. Smallz Lethal’s album now available on itunes; Common Mwananchi
Washamba Wenza is a hip hop movement with roots in Dandora. “This is the Life” is a collaborative track between the studios/hiphop families of G’Ganji, Audio Kusini and A-World, featuring an instrumental by Ken Ring. Check out more music from Washamba Wenza, G’Ganji and Audio Kusini/Kusini Recordz. You can download this classic hapa.
UPDATE (28 July 2013): Check out the new track from G’Ganji, Washamba Wenza and Ananda A-World, WASTE NO TIME (free download).
1. What inspired you to write your verses for “This is the Life”?
Smallz Lethal (Mshamba Mwenza):
yeah man..we cn neva b too busy bro..first, 4 my verse..that is almst the deepest verse av ever written, the kind of meditation we had was maad man. basicaly,i was reffering to hiphop as a person, leting her knw how much impact she has on me n how am gonna b loyal to her..
2 my side n as i know hiphop is life, n i simply referred to life as a teacher where i said that thru him, wen i woz a kid, i knew how to tighten my shoe lases when i run not 2 fall…lyfstyles also differ in that we gat hoods livin ths way so in our hood its diffrent and…’this is the life innawi yard!’
Flamez (Mshamba Mwenza):
Flamez Mshamba Mwenza
For the verses my part was actually time am basically writing how i see and feel about stuff.
2. How did G’Ganji, Audio Kusini and A-World come together on this track?
Flamez: ON THIS TRACK it was mainly A World and Audio Kusini on Ken rings beat
3. You guys have been putting out high quality music for some time now. What directions do you see the future of hip hop in East Afrika headed in?
Flamez: Its growing and for me there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel
4. How can fans check out your music and support your movement?
Smokillah is a graffiti artist based in Nairobi. He is a member of the group of graffiti artists knowna s Spray Uzi. Check out his video interview at Spray for Change.
You can read more about graffiti in Kenya at Kibera Walls for Peace and Kibera Hamlets. Here’s an article on Kenya’s graffiti train and a video (about the use of graffiti to comment on the 2013 election process).
1. Where are you from, What was it like growing up?
2. What kind of hustles were people involved in?
3. How did you start doing graffiti? How did you learn to do graffiti? What does graffiti mean to you? How do you see it fitting in with hip hop?
I started doing graffitism on (PSV Matatu) after high school, Graffity just came to me and started practising alot with the spray can. Graffiti is spiritual Art. It always fits because the artforms go together. Rappers have been doing graffity backgrounds since the 80’s
4. What is ‘politicking’?
Most probably talking about stuff that builds you as a person
5. What is ‘mental slavery’?
Being entrapped by your thoughts that misguide you
6. Do you have a philosophy of education?
You can learn everything so its up to you if you want to or not
7. You mention in your Spray for Change interview that you “do things that other people are scared of doing or are not interested in.” What sources do you draw inspiration from? Are there any sources that you think would surprise people?
My inspiration comes from my surrounding am a product of my environment ‘’african Nostalgia’’
8. Where do you see people having “space to express themselves”? Are there any organizations/communities that you see building these kinds of spaces?
There’s lots of space especially in the city centre these buildings have space but the Nairobi Council has put up billboards for profit. It sad don’t you think?
9. How do you feel graffiti art is different from other forms of visual art?
Style! In a major way, grafitti has class other forms of visual art are just that visual art
10. How do you think the placement of graffiti in public spaces, rather than in galleries or wherever, changes the nature and politics of graffiti?
Banksy said ‘’if you do graffiti indoors that’s interior design’’ so graffity is for walls
11. Graffiti, by nature, being in public spaces, how does you, as an artist, feel about the art being out there for the public to see, welcome or unwelcome? What makes you decide to put graffiti where you do?
I feel good about because we do the artform not just for us as writers but for the public also meaning they don’t have to go to galleries to see art. We bring the art work to them
12. Also understanding many times graffiti is also welcomed by people, please talk about what kind of agreements you have with people who willingly allow you to do graffiti where they live/work, etc.
Who supports the work you are doing?
We often agree on excecution, meaning the job has to come out well and how long the job eill and will finish within the period of time we agreed upon
Different people suprisingly cooperate.
13. Do you find yourself a target of police harassment? What would you say to people who see graffiti as “visual terrorism”?
Definitely. I even think I’m being followed around but am not sure. Its just phobia for the artform. Graffiti strikes minds and thoughts provoke
14. How do politics and your own personal values impact your work?
Politics is just a dirty game and so my work keeps values in every vice that surrounds me.
15. What is “tagging”? How is it different from graffiti art or murals?
Is part of the art form. When a writter passes an open area he’ll definitely want to leave a mark and that is his/her graffity name tagging is done quick, rural pieces may take days or weeks
The biggest role is improvement
17. Do you see graffiti art as a possible way to re-vitalize, beautify, and/or support local communities?
Definately, Grafiiti has a strong essence and where we do it we definately touch souls. Its just a way of letting communities know we can do better
18. What’s a place you would love to work on but haven’t had an opportunity to yet? (Is there any public space you would love to create graffiti for if you had the chance?)
Any or one of the billboards on the city centre
19. Could you talk about the “Unga Revolution”?
It is basically about food scarcity, and food is expensive in supermarkets so its pressing the government to regulate prices.
20. Is there a language, or languages, associated with graffiti art? Or could you talk about different styles and approaches to graffiti art you have seen?
The language used is style. I think even writer has a style to be able to communicate to fellow writers where he is at and his craft
21. Could you talk about different historical figures you see being repeated in Graffiti art, and talk a little about their significance?
Mahatma ghandi, Haille selasie they were figures who inspire free spirits and as a writer I should be free to express myself at any given time.
22a. How do you see graffiti art in dialogue with public spaces? Do you see graffiti art re-imagining public spaces, or otherwise creatively engaging with them?
Definitely, as I said graffity strikes minds so where else than public places to strike public minds
22b. Is graffiti only for urban spaces? Where are some unusual places you have encountered graffiti?
Mostly because graffity is street art and upcountry folks have no idea what paint can do. Most only in nairobi streets
23. Are you part of any graffiti organizations?
Only spray uzi, I think we are legends period. We try to give graffiti a good name but we still kick street places and tags now Cooperate organizations are interested in us because of our principals and all.
24. How are graffiti artists making money from their work today?
Contract jobs, Mostly commisioned jobs from difffernt institutions cooperate companies known restaurants, churches and graffiti enthuasusts
25. Who else do you see ‘doing’ hip hop, other artists, deejays, dancers, activists, hustlas, etc.? How are you coming together with these different varieties of hip hop’s people?
Mostly we get together at hip hop gigs in and around the city where hip hop is more vibrant and where it is vital
26. What are some obstacles you have encountered during your involvement in the arts/activist scene(s)?
None, its been smooth because we are protected.
27. How have women contributed to graffiti art in East Africa? (name, if you know of any artists or supporters of graffiti, etc.)
Not so much, there are a few but I mostly they get on but fall of quick
28. 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
Mostly links like judge hooked us up and am a graffity writer he’s a rapper. So yeah and resources too. We work together as a company
29. 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, visual arts-based or otherwise) What sort of opportunities has the graffiti world provided you with?
I don’t hustle no more, Spray uzi alredy established , we got people for that, what are hip hop jobs getting that cooperate money for sure.
30. What are some of the obstacles/problems facing young people in Kenya today (zote, Lodwar to Dando to Westi?)
Unemployement, platforms to discover their inner abilities i.e resource centres
31. How are you interacting with artists across the globe and also particularly in East Afrika?
Social media is a big contributor e.g Facebook
32. What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Kenya?
Creativity is the most powerful weapon youths have right now.
33. How can people learn more about your work and other projects you are involved in?
am a pro graffiti artist have been in the art for about ten years noe, My crew is spray uzi, One of the most Prolific crews in Nairobi
please give a brief bio of yourself.
Ephrem Solomon Tegegn
P.O.Box 25081, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Cell +251911458137, email@example.com
(You can also find him on facebook , read his profile on tumblr, and check out some galleries (Tiwani Contemporary), and 1, 2, 3,) albums, Untitled Life, black and white chairs, Traditional Ethiopian and Folk Art 2, known family id photo, homesickness, Equality +Progress …flies, known feeling, ) You can also see his interview with the BBC.
I was born in Addis Ababa in 1983. I finished high school and went to art school in search of my childhood interest in art. I graduated in graphics art school. I am inspired by sociopolitical feelings concerning human and natural life. I believe any life composed of two colors that are black and white. Sometimes I paint on themes that reflect on my personal life experiences, things that happened to me in the past and my future vision. Painting to me is like writing my diary. Sometimes I paint on themes that reflects my personal life experiences, things that happened to me in the past and my future vision. I have often felt torn between what feels like a number of driving personalities. Although my work could almost always be described as objective or realistic, my aims never stay fixed to any particular point on a broad spectrum of intent.
Sometimes I feel a strong need to make paintings that are unapologetically descriptive of what is immediately around me: Views of the city, the people I know, familiar hallways and spaces, or elements of nature that appeal to me. Other times, my work depicts a different kind of reality; one that is highly fictitious and free of the limitations of the ‘truthful’ recording of my own experiences. In these paintings, motivations might come from outside my surroundings. People, places, and objects, becoming reflect deeper political and personal narratives.
Common to the various types of work I engage in, is a deep commitment to the traditions of descriptive painting. In a world where newness has become a value in and of itself, I am more moved by the compliment that what I am doing technically feels like something from the past, while embodying something that is currently relevant.
I choose black and white colors to describe some idea of life. I use a chair to express the past, present and future deputation. I also use slippers to represent the society. Both chairs and slippers depict our residence. We often do not see the presence and equality of those chairs and slippers in our home. I also question their legality. Those chairs and slippers main problem are how they perceive power and their enormous number.
Please share a story with us about one of your works, that inspired you to produce it, how it came together, etc.
One of my couples of works, among them, disclosed a solemn reflection on a story about a widowed woman who owns a local drinking place that is located in the middle of market in sululta, 20 km away from Addis Ababa. On my visit I found myself drinking along with local merchants who had come in from the market for a drink. During this time I became fascinated with the various conversations that were taking place in this local drink called Tela drinking small bar. Many of the conversations were based on the current state of the country and as it related to the people’s daily life.
As in my early works, I have often used slippers and chairs to reflect stories of fragments of society that are often marginalized or voiceless. In this essence, to challenges of the everyday person who is juxtaposed between the past and the future. In this sense, I have put into a plan of exhibiting “chewata” exhibition which is the concept that I relate to the game of survival in a reality that is often not necessarily hospitable to the changing dynamics of the country.
1. Where are you from, what was it like growing up?
I am from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. And, like the parts and parcels of my society my growing up was like any part of the country with its economical political, social and cultural or religious values.
2. What kind of hustles were people involved in?
In the specific description of the current hustles of our society, the people it seem, concentrated its intention on the difference between the past and present of their daily life in relation to the skyrocketing price of commodities, which are vital for daily living.
3. What does art mean to you, what made you art getting involved in producing art? What influences/ inspires you?
Art to me is a mirror that reflects the whole styles of our daily life. I started art starting from childhood’s experience in elementary schools.
I was inspired by own photograph put in a paper as compared to within a mirror.
4. What are your feelings about are and public space? Where would you like to see more art?
My feeling of art is that it will have more public space opportunities when art is exhibited in an unusual place/unusual time; being put for the entertainment, information and education purpose for instance: the pictures and texts put in the wall of toilet, garbage places etc.
5. What is ‘mental slavery’?
Mental slavery can be put in other words by stating it with its equivalent terms “mental imprisonment” or it is an occupation of a mind state of thinking to think that some one is unable, or not capable of, transferring from one state of mind to another state of mind. This is, one is imprisoned with the thought that already cannot perform any thing, though the person is capable of performing.
6. Do you have a philosophy of education?
My philosophy of education may be different from many. That is education cannot be that way that abolishes poverty or cannot be vital for the fulfillment of our daily necessity. For example, we can see an illiterate farmer who is capable of feeding his family and surplus to feed his society without education. Therefore, this farmer though he is in no way paroled to education, he can satisfy his daily need, food; without the supply of education.
7. What kind of concepts do you find yourself engaging with in your works?
Most of the concepts within my works are socio-political concepts.
8. Are there elements or subject matter(s) do you find yourself returning to? What elements or subject matter(s) are you eager to explore next? Does this influence the materials you use?
Yes, there are some elements I am planning to return, my task into the art of flies. I would like to explore this within an experiment.
9. How do you see artists making money from their work today?
Usually speaking, today it is getting better from the past but, generally speaking many artists do art only for the sake of art, or satisfaction, therefore the money earned from art is though much, little is earned.
10. How do politics and your own personal values impact your work?
My personal values of my art are related to politics, as daily lives of society. This politics is depicted from my art is the right way and to the point without going around the bush.
11. What are some obstacles you have encountered during your involvement in art communities? What advice would you give a young person creating art?
Influences from politicians who try to make turn my subject matter into other arena, and lack of freedom to express, — sincerely fearing their threat.
12. What can you say about any community art or activist projects helping young people today that you know of or are involved with?
There is none I know personally.
13. How are you interacting with artists across the globe and also particularly in East Africa? Talk about any collaborations.
I have a lot of experience of interacting with artists in East Africa particularly from Kenya and UK in the global sphere. We meet together personally and correspond messages so as to share ideas with one another.
14. What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Ethiopia?
The positive thing I realize form young people in Ethiopia is, as compared to my past, there are promising things of change in their day to day life.
15. How can people learn more about your work and projects you are involved in?
Through exhibitions & workshops
Thank you for your time