A – interviews returns fresh again this year. So many artists have started 2014 on a roll and we will bringing you guys more interviews in the coming weeks from the greatest musicians all around Africa. From Cairo to Cape Town, we got this. And you all know so well that we support that new talent that others are not yet ready to expose. Trusting on a new artist is one of the cultures we need to practice all around Africa. That said, we come across a freshman from the 254 who has just debuted his first ever single and the love it’s getting is really commendable. We love that good music over here and we never wait for others to approve of it, we do the approving. Africa, check out this interesting interview with Nairobi’s new kid on the scene.
Hey, welcome to AAA. Natural, we start off by introductions so that Africa may get to know you a bit.
By names I am Kaana Eugene Sabayi, born 24yrs ago in Eldoret town. I have lived all my life there, my primary and secondary education up to the time I joined JKUAT where I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.
That’s a detailed, thank you. So now let’s get into the real deal, how long have you been in the music scene?
I have been in the music industry for about 1 week or so, Before February 1st 2014 I had never even stepped in the studio, but that said, the interest in music has been there for a very long time, dating back to when I was 14yrs in Form 3.
No you are kidding? A week old in the industry, then you need to tell me how we are interviewing you in the first place! Anyway, we are already here, so tell us, why music?
I and music go a long way back to 2007, back then I was just starting my baby steps in poetry. I would write poems for myself, my friends, girls and even the school for Music Festivals. I kept writing them all through until last year when I started entertaining the possibility of turning my poetry into lyrics. I went for it and early this year I decided to hit the studio with my first work and that is how Kaana The Rapper was born.
On why I got into music I was getting tired of listening to people who refer to themselves as rappers do lingala and other weird sounds. I figured out now that I could write maybe I would do something about it, which is my main goal at the moment. Making rap music the way I believe it should be.
Poet-turned-rapper, that should make for a great lyricist. Now I see why we are here lol. From that background, I guess you must be playing an instrument, right?
Yes I can play the drums; I am obsessed with bass sounds so drums have always been my thing.
A poet, drummer and now a rapper. Quite a combination if you ask me. What do you believe will make you stand out of the crowd?
The one thing that I believe is going to make me stand out is my conscious rhymes. I write with my all and try my best to make it flow with the beat; I try to write something a listener can relate to. And of course the beats I use are not the common material found in the local scene; they are unique in their own type of way.
Honestly, the industry is in dire need of content-oriented artists right now. That type of music is very rare currently. Have you identified a style that will work for you and do you see some growth forthcoming?
The one style that I am limited to is rapping in English. I understand that majority of Kenyan listeners prefer Sheng/Swahili rap songs but I have tried going that way and it just didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. About growing musically since I started, I haven’t yet started
experiencing that but what I can say is If I stick to what I plan to do I believe I am going to achieve great things ahead
Checkpoint, for a conscious lyrists like you, what embarrassing music will I find in your playlists right now if we did a random check?
Hahaha, I don’t have any embarrassing song in my playlist. I listen to the best only
Well, you seem to be a choosy listener, is there a genre of music you can’t stand listening to?
Riddims and Lingala, I lose 5years of my life every time I accidentally listen to those two genres
Hahaha, come on man, I can defend lingala though. So how do you see the industry situation over there in Kenya, like what is the current state of things?
The music industry in Kenya is growing pretty well, especially Hip hop. The new artistes that have broken through into the scene in the past 3yrs or so have propelled Kenya to new heights. People like Camp Mulla and Khaligraph in particular have changed the perception of the public about hiphop and in a way they have paved the way for us ‘English’ rappers if I may put it that way.
That sounds better, one time for Hip Hop yo! Have you spotted any artist already that you would like to work with?
I just started and I hope to grow in future. In the Kenyan Hip hop scene I would love to work with Khaligraph Jones, MDQ, Wangeci, Jay A and Joey Muthengi. Outside our country it will have to be AKA, he is pure genius, a prodigy.
I know you have seen the trends on most of the continental awards, any reason you feel the West and Southern regions have been dominating them?
Continental awards have always been going to West Africa and Southern Africa, Kenya and other EA countries have been missing out because Kenyan artists want to be jacks of all trades. You find a ‘rapper’ on a lingala song singing his vocals out instead of focusing on his genre. It is not bad to juggle genres but it has to be limited since it compromises creativity in some way. If people get focused Kenya could achieve a lot.
That is a good point you have brought on board, it’s time artists specialized on what they are good at really. The year has just begun; do you see it as being special to your music career?
2014 is very special since it my breakout year, this is the year I put my name out there. I just pray things go to plan.
Amen to that brother. Which element of making music do you like more by the way?
Recording is very exciting; playing around with vocals and the instrumentals was exhilarating. I do have an interest in composing; it’s something I intend to learn soon.
Music aside, what are Kaana’s hidden talent?
If not music I am a very serial gamer. I also do a lot of poetry in my free time and blogging comic stuff on my website.
Should we roll a game real quick lol? Let’s talk Africa, which is your favorite spot?
The most wonderful country in Africa after Kenya is Kenya. If you get rid of the bullshit that is politicians, corruption, hunger and fake gospel music, you have a paradise.
Hahaa, I see what you did there. Moving on, which country has the IT when it comes to ladies?
Kenyan ladies, the beautiful chocolatey well endowed Kenyan ladies. I love them voluptuous and dark-skinned (I’m not a racist though)
We won’t judge, ooh no we won’t, you can bet on that. Tell us the most ridiculous stunt you have ever pulled in public.
Craziest public incident I remember is trying to take on the bouncers at Club Image, Thika after I had had one too many. They just laughed it off, luckily for me.
Just wish we had cameras there, hahaa, could make for a great Kodak moment. Back to music, what is in store for us and the entire public?
Before 2014 draws to a close I intend to put out my debut mixtape God willing, I have already written 4 songs and more are in the drafts, in the meantime I am working on my second track which will be out in 3 weeks or so.
We will certainly be on the lookout and hope that it all goes well. Keep the focus and momentum rolling broh. Talking of which, we know you are just starting, what do you hope to achieve at the end of it all?
My ultimate career goal is to put out that 1 album that will be a classic, something that will be timeless like Illmatic. Of course being filthy rich and having Meagan Good for a wife are my other secondary goals.
That is the ambition!!! But yo, Meagan good aint dark-skinned though, hahaa. Hey, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Africa appreciates positive-minded youths and we are glad too on the direction you are headed with music. We are always here to appreciate and support talent around the A. Let’s end this with a shout brother.
Shout outs to my Momma in Eldoret, my very big family, my kid brother Calvin, my hood Kipkaren estate, my producer RichieATL, my buddies Howell and Kiragu, my girl Bela and my little soldier Dylan.
Stream/Download music here