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?
Flamez Mshamba Mwenza is a member of the hip hop duo, Washamba Wenza, hailed as “the next K-shaka.” Washamba Wenza are based in Dandora, recording with G’Ganji records in rongai. His music can be found on reverbnation and youtube.
Where are you from, What was it like growing up?
am from Nairobi kenya grew up in dandora estate which was mostly known for violence and drug abuse. growing up was kind of tricky trying to avoid the violence and drugs and still maintain the hood respect from fellow peers.
nimetoka jiji la nai kenya. nika grow esto yenye i likuaga na vurugu and mihadarati.kukua kwangu ilikua nakshy kujaribu to lenga mizozo na mihadarati na bado ku imarisha heshima kwa marika zangu
What kind of hustles were people involved in?
the normal 8 to 5 jobs, touting, drug peddling stealing and various uncalled for hustles.
kama kawa works kutoka 8am to 5pm kurandaranda, kuuza mihadarati,uizi na mengine mengi licha ya kutafuta..
What does hip hop mean to you, What made you get involved in Hip Hop?
hip hop to me is an intelligent movement aimed at inspiring and uplifting people
through real life experience found in the deep lyrics and that’s basically why am involved.
Hip hop kwangu ni movement ina iam ku inspire na ku-uplift wathii kwa realife expression kupatikana kwenye mistari ya undani na ndio manan najuhusisha na Hiphop.
What do the words ‘kazi’, ‘vijana’ and ‘mshamba’ mean to you?
kazi is occupation one does in order to earn a living.
vijana is the youth who are the majority
mashamba is a hardworking individual who doesn’t have limits..
kazi ni ni jobo yenye msee udunga ndio ajiokole maisha.
Vijana ni mayouths ambao ndio wengi kazika inchi
mshamba ni yule msee hua na bidii na hana mipaka
What is ‘politicking’?
politricking is the nonsense that the politicians keep blubbering about and actually doesn’t help anyone but themselves in particular.
politricking ni upuzi ya wanasiasa ambao wana jichochacha ilhali haisaidi yoyote bali hao wenyewe.
What is “mental slavery?”
it’s the state where someone has locked himself in some kind of mentality based on either lies or some foolish ideologies that he/she is fed or has been learning.
ni hali ya akili ambapo unapata mtu amefungwa na utumwa kwenye akili,iko based kwa udwanzi na ujinga ambozo tumejazwa kichwani ama kusoma.
Can you say anything about the youth drug problems in Kenya?
it is becoming worse as the days go by since the people responsible for stopping are the ones dealing behind the scenes.
haliinazidi kuzoroteka an kua mbovu zaidi masiku zinvo enda na wale ambao wanahusika kustopisha wengine ndio wawe kwa scene.
Who/What is promoting violence, who/what has lessened violence?
promoting —- / —- lessened violence
unemploment — kukosa kazi —- peace forum—mikakati za amani
drugs —kutumia mihadarati —- hood to hood campaign–mita kwa mita kampaini
politicians — wanasiasa —- music—mziki
insecurity — usalama —- non govermental organization–ma N.G.Os
lack of information/education– kuto soma
How are hiphop artists making money from their music today?
basically from shows, selling CDs and coming up with clothing lines as a way of branding yourself and also advertisement.
How do politics and your own personal values impact your work?
am always going against negative politics in my line of work so as i inform/educate my fans about the evil this guys can bring if you allow them to
Besides rappers, who else do you see “doing” hip hop, other artists, dancers, graffiti artists, activists, hustlas, etc. ?
everyone seems to be doing HipHop in one way or another from the streets hawkers, the fans, the pirates, bloggers, social sites and no forgetting the haters am just grateful for the love.
Name your favorite musical artists, who are you listening to sasa ?
Kendrick lamar, sue timon, mohjay, emc, kambi halali, Kalamashaka, Nafsi huru, anga zetu
What are some obstacles you have encountered during your involvement in the hip hop scene(s)?
lack of airplay from major media houses, false promises from promoters when they call you for a performance, lack of proper management, financial issues among many more.
Why do you think there aren’t as many femcees?
they lack proper guidance since male rappers are always trying to take advantage of them, and also due to the belief that male is superior to female, the case of inferiority complex.
How have women contributed to hip hop in East Africa?
majorly, since every hiphop artist came from a woman, as they say, behind every successful hiphopper there are women involved. Though there are not so many femecees the role they play behind the scenes is way bigger than one can imagine
What can you say about the Mau Mau kambi, are there any similar community hip hop projects helping young people today?
I got my inspiration from the senior members of the camp when i started, later became a member, learned a lot from my peers and the seniors, something that still happens till now. The other project so far i know of MAONO TRUST in December and slum sanaa in HURUMA.
What type of community organizations, informal or formal are helping vijana in East Africa leo?
MAONOO TRUST-based in dandora is basically helping every type of talent from football, acting, singing, instrument, rapper,etc and its free to join. SLUM SANAA based in Huruma and also does the same thing. SARAKASI TRUST based in ngara helps artist trough workshops and giving them the platform to showcase their talent.
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
a lot from teaching young upcoming rappers, sharing links with producers promoters etc. offering people a place to stay when moving from town to town during hustle, uplifting and changing young talented streets kids (CHOKORA) and many more.
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)
event organizing apart from the recording which i almost do daily since i have several albums that are to be done by the end of this year. merchandizing from cds to t-shirts just to get the extra cash.
What are some of the obstacles/problems facing young people in Kenya today (zote, Lodwar to Dando to Westi?)
unemployment, lack of proper education(illiteracy), poverty, misguiding by political leaders
How are you interacting with artists across the globe and also particularly in East Afrika?
mainly through the internet, social media, and emails. some come visit and i make contact. share and download forums
What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Kenya?
the youth are becoming more aware of themselves and their worth. guys are taking on projects and supporting each other in their endeavors.
How can people learn more about your work, music, performances and projects you are involved in?
through the internet and media houses
song title: man eat man society
Ayo…siwezi stroll gizani juu ya wasi wasi haijuani
ka si patrol nashuku napza gongan na thegi
tafauti yao ni merit kawaida wo hutapeli
unyanyasaji maarufu na unakaki wa undugu
napo jaribu jimudu nasulubishwa na uchungu
matanga daily hakukosi kuna biashara kwa coffins
wanakeshanga na moshi ketepa ganja na coffee
kuchange mkwanja hawachoki wamedosika na ngomvi
robberies na gunshots orbutuaries kiabo
motutuares ni busy pia ni habital ya inzi
ni hard hi task si passy ma vigilant ndwio sisi
kile nachunga silence na kwa shida zangu ni petty
lately5 murders ni plenty so niko rada na jeshi
ile ni close ya mbali na ile sielewi kwa jumla
ni paranoia nadhani so msijali i say forever
charity and burning na hawa mati hatutaki.
song: title sigh
me ni source ya mizani misdtari skiza wasia
me ni force the third reason hope kwa kila missionw
me ni hiphop si utani iki check
frsh nai bless
za mic takes si waste lazima food for thought
me ni melodwwy remedy cure ya troubles
tragedy pia ni me uki walk na utalk evil
saouti ya my people na si ati fight ni sample
me ni symbol of streanth role model to many
they say the best are chosen na kumature ni process
ever ready kutake out any type ya misfit
as miss feet six deep fu ali miscount the physics
double double ka discount ndio hizi samples huibuka
me ni ile era erro hukuland kwa terror msela
na vile era area main occupation ni terror
ju ya hela wera bambanya mshamba hachoki ngangana
mahory hodi bishanga maoni ukihoji hutishanga
song title do you see
ni never too late ever serching sipotezangi
wakati daily running mwanaspoti na kile nacheza si kati
kama ni party politricking fikra zao sifuati
na burn ubinafsi na wa sanif ka ketepa kwa umati
the parable of wheat and takes ma snitch na soare
kubonga ka ni truth ni dare ni crystal clear
fighter me wa kila evil brighter days ndo future niko
lighter burdens better life focus iko far from prison
reasons ni a better season ni ati kuna meal kwa jiko
shelter clothing basically pia ni get kufeed the needy
juu ni wa greddy wana speedy kisa ni taki ya usherati
kuna traffic ya hawa wanafiki reason haki haipatikani
kidonda ni ndugu unchungu hua tamaa ya kupona
uhuru lazima ushuru ju hawa mandugu vinyonge
ni ukoloni mambo leo na ati kaburu ni jirani
ama your honey ni ngumu kwa mnyonge kuprosper
flames mshamba mwenza ia a hardcore hiphop rapper
mainly focusing on an inspirational and uplifting music.
born in october 1986 was raised in mainly in dandora nairobi
and abit in mombasa during the early childhood stages.
started his music career back in high school and late
after school teamed up with sue timon did a couple of songs
and then later together with smallz lethal formed washamba
wenza which are currently considered as the next kalamashaka
the future for flamez and washamba wenza looks bright
for its passion motivation from real life issues and the
determination to show a better world that drives him.
Interview conducted by Mohjay. Questions by Kevlexicon.