KENYA: I’m Officially Back— Rapper Chiwawa
17 May 2017
You are now a farmer! Truth be told, from a rapper to this? What’s cutting?
I knew farming was something I wanted to do ever since I was young. I was born and raised on my grandmother’s farm in Kirinyaga.
I used to pick coffee and that’s how I made my first coin. My dad is also a farmer, so I learned a lot by seeing what he was doing. When my parents relocated to South C, that is when I started doing music, but when I retire, I will still continue with farming.
Does it pay?
Farming pays, but you have to be patient. I grow vegetables and make between Sh300,000 and Sh500,000 every quarter of the year. I believe young people can do farming as a side hustle.
You are now married...
Oh yes. I am a father of one, hopefully the second one is coming soon. I met my wife when I was 22 years old and now it is 11 years.
Marriage is bliss; she understands the pressure of entertainment and supports me. She even encouraged me to make my come back.
I understand you also have a mentorship foundation for the youth.
Yes. It is called Young Gifted and Green. We mentor young guys to take up farming and green solutions. So far, we have worked with 30 youth.
Why did you shave your dreads?
It was time for a change. I have had dreadlocks for 14 years and I have experienced all the stereotypes that people have when they see someone in dreads. It is also because of my new EP Rebirth. I wanted to come back with a new look for my brand. I wish I had shaved it earlier. I feel free.
Wow! That is good news. Tell us more about the EP.
The EP is called Rebirth. It has eight songs and a lot of collaborations. Expect artistes like King Kaka, Stitch Blaze and D Mike. The EP is coming out in June and it feature more dance music. A lot of people have stereotyped me to be the king of diss tracks, but the songs are different and more party-themed.
What inspired the come back?
I couldn’t stay away from music. Many of my fans were asking me what happened to my music and the pressure was real. I also missed doing it and I know this is the best time for me to come back.
You are a lyricist. Do you write for other artistes?
I have written for upcoming and established artistes, though ghost writing is not that lucrative in Kenya. So, I prefer to write my own songs.
Who do you think is the best singer?
That would be Sage. I wish I could work with her. I believe she is talented but people underestimate her. She is one of the best in Kenya and Africa and I believe she is the one to take us international.
The music scene has changed. Do you think you are going to fit in the new landscape?
As an artiste, I am flexible. I also want to work with other people who currently command the music scene. I believe that as long as a song is good, people will always love it. Look at Nyashinski, he was out of the scene for so long. But he was well received when he came back.
Who do you think is the biggest artiste in Kenya?
Sauti Sol. They are our greatest export. I like their work. Bien used to be my neighbour in Rongai and I knew he was talented. I am proud of where they have taken Kenya.
What do you think of Akothee and Diamond?
Akothee is doing her thing. I like her confidence. Besides the controversies, she inspires us a lot. Her story us that you be what you want to be. She should keep doing what she does.
Diamond has brought a new style to Africa. I like his work ethic and how he keeps his family close. There is a lot we can learn from him.
What’s your favourite song right now?
I can’t pick one, but like Gabu’s No Spine and Kristoff’s Umeniwahi. I am also obsessed with Smallz Lethal and Johnny Vigeti’s album.