Tagged: Dandora

SONG TRANSLATION – This Is The Life – Skobo, Ananda, & Washamba Wenza

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:

Sheng:

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..

English:

-[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

 

English:

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

 

vas..3 [Skobo]

…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:

Flamez vas:

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

 

Skobo vas:

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

 

tattoo2

 

 

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MUSIC VIDEO – THIS IS THE LIFE (Washamba Wenza, Skobo and Ananda)

UPDATE: 13, March 2017: Song Translation of “This Is The Life” now available on Hip Hop Kambi. Also, check out the Skobo Fugee Collection, for more of Skobo’s mziki.

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.

wasahamba wenza this is the life1

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):
12:48pm

Smallz Lethal

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..

Ananda (A-World):
2:26 pm

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):

12:24pm

Flamez Mshamba Mwenza

For the verses my part was actually time am basically writing how i see and feel about stuff.

tattoo0


2. How did G’Ganji, Audio Kusini and A-World come together on this track?

tattoo2

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?

tattoo1


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?

Flamez: http://www.reverbnation.com/washambawenza, flamezmwenza@twitter ,flamez mshamba mwenza on facebook washamba wenza

Reverbnation:Smallz Lethal, Flamez, Ananda, Washamba Wenza

Soundcloud: Smallz Lethal, Kusini Recordz

On twitter: @A_WORLDs @Smallzlethal @Flamezmwenza @FUGEESKOBO @snipersp
@audiokusini_AK @KusiniRecordz

Youtube: Smallz Lethal Mshamba Mwenza, Audio Kusini, Ananda

Facebook: G’Ganji Records, A-World Kusini Recordz, Smallz Lethal, Flamez Mshamba Mwenza, Skobo Fugee supporters, Ananda

Washamba Wenza this is the life2

INTERVIEW – Smokillah (Spray Uzi, Graffiti)


dandora

sprayuzigrouppic

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.

hemptena

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?

Eastlands, Nairobi
Hard


2. What kind of hustles were people involved in?

Basically Everything

kibera


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

 

bank1

 

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

spucrew

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?

corporate killers


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

shantyrecordzsammyesen


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

spu5

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

craft

16. What do you see the function of your graffiti art being in your communities and the places where your art is visible?
What role does graffiti art play in the communities?

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

allstars


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.

dandora2


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

fin1


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?

kwanioffice2

Contract jobs, Mostly commisioned jobs from difffernt institutions cooperate companies known restaurants, churches and graffiti enthuasusts

kwanioffice


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.

sarakasi


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
etc.

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.

 

bamboo


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.

S.P.U


33. How can people learn more about your work and other projects you are involved in?

Websites and social media (Smokillah Masada and Spray Uzi on facebook)

34. please give a brief bio of uaself.

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

Asante sana,

Kevlexicon @hiphopkambi

spauto

Poems by Mwas Mahugu aka Gas Fyatu

Mwas Mahugu1

Mwas Mahugu (street name Gas Fyatu) is a writer from Nairobi. You can read more of his work in Kwani. Peep his interview.


THE RIVER

Has anyone swam in the river
Shivers, beer to liver
Cold as ice
Yet a furnace, sewer, rats, dark, roaches
Pet-a surface, alleys, cats, death poaches
Daily strife. Dusk to dawn
You sink, it stinks, you drown, and it’s a Town
A Nation, an Ocean of people,
A Continent of the simple-crippled by the strong waves
In abundance of food, famine rule
Despair, Diseases, forgotten
(Music)Abba dance of paradise
Like a drum, police pronounced kicks
Slums announce sick…..
People. Struggle a breast, poverty a nipple
Poor man a tick, rich man a hippo
Am Hip Hop, Rasta, Pastor, a prophet, a soldier, a voice?
A swimmer in this dusty river
Call it river Idd Amin or Hitler
They are crowning the King, am drowning
When I resurface a bee sting
On my forehead. My age mates are dead,
AIDS, Hunger, Crime, stray bullets
Single Mothers, stray shots
Running water, pot leaking
River concrete jungle, ghetto, a lion jungle
To be free, climb on treetop
It takes two to tangle.
Written on 24th-12-2005

MAN

Can a Man live like this?
Everyday of his life and strife
Breathe a -dew, which dries with sunrise
A death which resurrect on a new day
A leaf that shine, its youth pale
They say it is a Sea. Now I see
We sail with hope
When the sea is calm or rough
Yes we Love, moan, groan, we laugh
Yes we cry, we try, and last we die
Trod on Earth protected by heaven
Don’t worry my Cinderella
As they talk to god Bacchus
Tasted fruit is sweet, not eaten sweeter
Later she will create a crater of betrayal
But are he is loyal, she is royal.

Happiness (april 2006)

Happiness is not a land far away
It is like a hand you see everyday
Paradise of eternity
A price per dice to enter the city
Kings and slave strive, why? Ask the almighty
Eyes dusty to see the soul
That’s why we receive, bowls of ignorance
Wars
It is a thin hem on a garment
Yet strong.
Like a vein transporting blood
But never wrong
Amidst of flood, the life jacket
Amidst of death, the life jacket
To protect, we just need to project,
Our inner eyes, away from illusion, yes passion
Happy land is perfect nation

Life (august 2007)

This life is boring
This life is bowling
The balls without scoring
It is growing
Drawing one destiny
Dawning of reality
Cloning with fantasy
But destiny you yawn
Reality you own

Roof top

It is lonely at the top
Brains smoke like formula one car exhaust
Hitting the roof top
Sitting with proof cop
Stop to reminisce
The journey, the chili pepper tingles.

Rumors

Rain is coming
Wind is moaning
Fire is burning
A life is humming
Soldiers are fighting
Cultures uniting
The enemies are arming
Moon, soon, monsoon winds
Sun run, Stars shine
War. Peace. Stability. Life force.
a vessel. in the sea.
Only rumors. man is.


MY love(2011 march 13)

It is 2 A.m
Nothing looks the same
All I can do is just whisper her name
Can’t shout my voice is lame
Nothing but darkness, stuck ness in her web
Though the stars try to shine from far
And moon lends a hand
An attempt to light up my soul
Still I have to wait till dawn, on the lawn, alone
For the Sun coz she is my sunshine
I stepped on a landmine
I can’t move my foot, lest it blows
The damage all mine
Like a greedy businessman
I dug the mine
Found the Diamonds,
Like a poor man I beg
Who will tell her she is the almond
I need to break,
For miles
My heart has trekked
With my lips
Many i have pecked
But nothing can compare
To my alter ego
She is an eagle, when she flies
Can someone tell her she is guilty?
But am ready to grant her amnesty

Love is sweet(2011 march 15)

Love is sweet /love is a pit if you fall/
But don’t worry the ground is mattress not a quarry
Let caress you hurry hurry bury
Me in your embrace/I might marry you
Be my empress/I wish I could tenderly press
Your nipple and watch that ripples/the flush
As I explore your rose’s garden/well this coffees dates I wish they were
Followed by thunder and storm, ooh that gooey feeling
How it taketh me the vibration each way free.

Mwas2

Short Bio.

Mwangi Mahugu a.k.a Gas Fyatu is
one of the leading underground rappers in Kenya and a pioneer sheng
writer. He ventured in the hip hop scene in the year 2000, but his
interest started in primary school. He went on to be an active member of Music and Drama clubs and has several certificates for his outstanding performances.

He joined the rap crew Mau Mau camp, who hail from his neighborhood
Dandora Estate, a ghetto in the Eastland’s of Nairobi. What interested
him was the poetry and the choice of music; social conscious music
promoting Love, Peace and Harmony. He soon started to play around with
words, attending freestyles battles.

He teamed up with fellow rappers Zaka & BlackGzas to form the group Moshikali. As a group they released their first single in 200I “Ushapotea ” and went on to
perform in various venues, most notably the Nation TV’s music
program “The Warehouse” since there were no music videos at the time.

The same year while a student at the Kenya Christian Industrial
Training Institute (K.C.I.T.I) studying Computer Science, the college
library opened the world of literature.

He started writing fictions and commentaries and sharing them with
friends. People were very positive and encouraged him to explore his
talent in writing, The Rap monks Kalamashaka approached him to write
profiles for their tour and for websites, word spread in the streets
and another Rap group Mashifta, and other artists joined the wagon.
Gas Fyatu acted as the publicist of the Nairobi Mau Mau Camp and the Mombasa affiliates, Ukooflani mau mau. Later he became the manager of East Africa’s biggest Hip hop movement, Ukoo flani mau mau.

He was doing this voluntary and over the years he has gained vast
experience, street credibility, networks and [a familiarity with] the general atmosphere in the music industry. He continued multi- tasking, college work, writing, releasing singles in the streets, as solo artist and also as a group, while acting as the secretary of the Maono cultural group, an organization helping
young street kids to develop their talents in [Acrobatics], music,
traditional dances, football and capoeira. On the end of 2002 he
graduated with a diploma in computer science, and worked for four
months for Optical technologies and small systems solution firm in
Nairobi.

He is a one of the published writers in the East African literary journal, Kwani, 2004 and 2008. Kwani promotes refined literature and Mwas has participated in various literature workshops involving local and international artist; Summer literary Seminar (SLS 2004/5,The East Africa Writers Summit 2006 and continues to be a regular participant of the monthly Kwani Open Mic Sessions, his sheng novel will be out next year.

With Kilio Cha Haki (a cry for justice) an album compilation comprising of
38 rappers from the Eastland’s Nairobi, Gas Fyatu took the skills he had
attained and went on to work as an event organizer, coordinator,
distributior as well as a performing artist. The album was sponsored by
Youth initiative Kenya and a Netherlands organization.

In 2005 He released the chartbuster single “Hustle” recorded at Soul
Child studios, which took the streets by storm. It was a single to inspire
the youth to keeping hustling despite the hardship in the streets. In April he performed with two French Djs, Oil and Sharell, and was the organizer of workshop involving Ukoo flani mau mau. He performed at Carnivore along side Kalamashaka, Mashifta, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji among others, and during the Senegalese Didier Awadi.
Also participating in the “messenger of truth’s concert; Mwangi Mahugu has been in arts scene for a decade.

2009 he was a selected panelist in UN habitat urban arts Summit.
Representing Sauti initiative, his debut mixtape Machimbo archive is
in the streets, last but not least December 2010 he performed at
Ghetto radio Fight Aids initiative along side Kidum and is currently
working on his album dubbed Gas chamber.

He also acts as the East Africa Rise Up project coordinator in Nairobi, a
project uniting musical artists across East Africa. He is also operates an urban
music and literature distribution outlet along Tom Mboya street ,city
centre, Nairobi.

INTERVIEW – Gas Fyatu

Gas Fyatu is a writer, entrepreneur and emcee from Nairobi. He is a member of the rap groups Ukoo Flani Mau Mau and Moshikali. You can find his music on reverbnation, youtube and soundcloud. His writing can be found in Kwani? published by Kwani Trust. Peep his poems. He is also on twitter.

machimbo1

[Kevlexicon made typographical edits]

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

Dandora I grew up in Nairobi eastland inner city dandora, growing was
normal life for ghetto childrens with parents working in industrial
areas

What kind of hustles were people involved in?

In dandora there were all sort of small business, small kiosks, selling
scrap metals, matatu touts, vegetable vendors, mandazi and chapatti or
roadside. basically hawkers everywhere

gas chamber art1

What was the Mau Mau camp like? (Is it still in operation?)

Mau mau camp was born on the alleys of dandora by youth with a love
for hip hop music and yearning for a change. There was so much police
harassment and unemployment rate was very high. We found solace in
music and formed a street family, unlike the freedom fighters with guns
and spears, we decided to use microphones and pencils as missiles to
fight for change and to decolonize minds. Mau mau became a hub for
art, football acrobatics and rehabilitation, and it spread all over.
Maumau still exist as know east African movement called
ukooflanimaumau with members all over east Africa cities and towns.

What does hip hop mean to you, What motivated you to become involved
in Hip Hop?

I loved music and drama from a tender age. In high
school, I was composing poems in Swahili and competed up to the
national levels. Meanwhile, while I was still in school, kalamashaka
were taking Kenya with their single “tafsiri hii” so when I cleared high
school I joined mau mau camp which was a street hang out for people
with a love for conscious music. Edutainment- precisely. So to me hip
hop is a way of life, a positive way of life; preaching peace, love, and
harmony.

I use the hip hop platform to pass positive messages to the community
and spread love and preach peace. Through hip hop, I got independence
to highlight [the] social, political and economic environment in my hood and
country. Hip hop is the voice of the African youth, it is the ray of
light for an Africa youth facing struggle out of poverty and freedom.

Hip-Hop’s impact origins date back as far as late 80’s, the fire was
burning in Tanzania. Groups like Kwanza Unit, Hard Blasters, The
Diplomatz, Mr 2. In the 90’s Kenya rap scene flourished. Pioneering
groups like Kalamashaka, K-South, Fundi Frank and Cash D set the scene
using their vernacular language to win the hearts of many. Similar
growth was happening in Kampala, with groups like, Kado based in
Sweden and Klear kut. DJ’s took their stand like Dj Pinye, Dj Adrian,
Skratchaholics, the homeboyz, setting their wheels of steel blazing
with creativity. B-boys grabbed the stage too. Kenyans took graffiti
to another level by using public service vehicles as their canvas, known as the
matatu culture. [Note: Matatu’s are the cheapest form of public transportation. Matatus are minibuses that are often colorfully decorated with the likenesses of hip hop artists and celebrities. Inside, you can hear the video mixtapes put together by college students.]

Hip hop made such a proud stand that the political scene used the music to prosper the presidential campaign. African youth can, in one voice (through hip hop), air [the] social, political climate in their societies. Hip hop is culture, a way of life and is represented by: [rap] Emceeing, Dj-ing, graffiti arts, Break dance and street
entrepreneurship. The above elements have effectively taken shape in
Kenya, the underground art has no space in the mainstream media; when
many youth are busy involving themselves crime and the drugs, we have
these creative artists who spend days, months and even years either
painting, designing, composing, and putting their creativity at work
and when they are done, they hit the street hawking their art and most
of the time they fall in the hands of people who do not appreciate
art and are just interested in the monetary gains.

Hip-hop, I feel is being marketed by multi-nationals to work to the
benefit of their pockets. Although they have financial advantage over
us, we on the other hand have people power globally and with
networking ability to change the power of the status quo
hip-hop is a culture and way of life!

When you live hip-hop, you become hip-hop. Below we display 5 main
elements of Hip-hop:

1. Consciousness

This is awareness of self, about who you are, being independent
minded, individualism, acceptance of self. Being ‘real’ and ‘true’ to
yourself.

2. Mc-ing

This was a street level form of communication (although recently it
has now become a major [form]) of relaying a message with clever use of
flowing words, poetry and rhyming.


3. Dj-ing

An innovative form of creating music from sampling and cutting and
scratching records to form a style of music initially unique only to
hip-hop.


4. Break dancing

This is an art of dancing composed of movements, which makes the dancer
look like he is literally breaking. It comprises of many
[movements] such as bopping, waves, body spins and is also incorporated with
Capoeira another form of dance expression who’s origins came from
slaves who spent their time with their hand and feet chained and used
it as a way to exercise/dance/fight (while chained) without being
discovered; for neither of the above were allowed and a death penalty
would follow if one was discovered practicing any of them.

5. Graffiti art

This was the underground visual way of relaying messages by spraypainting public spaces, like street walls, in a colorful artistic form and style with illustrations and special scriptures that [were] only understood by hip hop’s people.

mwas4

What type of community organizations, informal or formal are helping
vijana in Nairobi leo?

Young people have formed groups and are taking loans from banks to do
small business as for community organisations. i know mathare
youthsports association and ukooflanimaumau.

mwas5