TANZANIAN HIP HOP MC WHO GRINDING IN UNITED STATES ON Q&A ONE O ONE WITH BLOGGER SEIF KABELELE


 SEIF KABELELE:  How long have you been interested in music?  
 ‘WAKAZI’ :  I grew up in a family that loved music and had some family

members who sang in church choirs, so interest started at a very young
age. my love for hip hop though, would be attributed to my big
brothers who played all the rap songs that were hot at the time.


SEIF KABELELE:  How did you get started? Briefly tell us your background
 ‘WAKAZI’ :  I  used to rap songs by  artists from abroad back in my high

school days. i did live performances in school concerts and became so
popular. the desire to make my own music was growing everyday but the
opportunity was not. one day after meeting dj steve b and impressed
him, he arranged  with p funk, producer and owner of bongo records,
for me and other talented emcees to go record. the fruits of that
opportunity were not as sweet, but it surely planted a seed that got
me to where i am today. i left Tanzania for higher eduction in
America, and upon reaching there, my goal was to accomplish what i had
started back home and thats what brought by the birth of WAKAZI.
SEIF KABELELE: what do you have going on in the near future?
 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i am looking forward to release an EP called Abacus within the

next month.  i have released 2 songs off that EP,  to the public ,
"Taking over the game" and "Abacus".   and soon i will drop another
one right before i put the whole product out in the market. i believe
this EP with satisfy the music lovers and as they enjoy it, then i
will be able to find time to  work on my Debut album which is slated
to drop later on in the summer.

SEIF KABELELE:  How do you describe your music to people? (This is not a short answer.

  ‘WAKAZI’  : My music is Hip Hop, my music is refreshing, my music is

rap, my music is explorative. my music is concious, my music is life.
my music is provoking, etc.  I started rapping because i liked it, i
continued rapping because i became good at it. as an artist there are
things that i put i my music so that it can have an identity and there
are things that i put in my music so that the people can identify
with. so it is a mixture of creativity, imagination and real life, put
together in a rhyme form. so anybody with a wild imagination can
relate to my music, anyone who went or is going through struggles of
life can relate to my music.

SEIF KABELELE: What image do you think your music conveys?

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i try to put my personality in my music as much as i can,

and also display the acquired knowledge i have accumulated over the
years through academic endevours or personal explorations. so
basically through my music one can get to know me as a person. drop a
little knowledge, a little sense of humor, a lilttle swag,
sensitivity, anger, caring, sympathy u name it.
SEIF KABELELE:  What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i want to be  the biggest artist in Africa period. this

starts with first the biggest in Tanzania, then East Africa before i
conquer the rest of africa. im equipped with music that can relate to
all those audiences and due to the nature and current status of
african music, the process should not be that difficult. Im just
hoping wabongo will support me, cause if i win we all win.

SEIF KABELELE:  What live performance experience have you had?

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i have done a number of live performances dating as far

back as in 2010. i performed at the Save Albino Concert in Columbus ,
Ohio, African World Festival in Detroit, Afrocaribbean Festival in
Chicago, African Night in Chicago, Represent Africa at the Shrine in
Chicago, United Sounds of Africa in The House Of Blues Chicago,
Tanzanian Independence Party in Washington DC, African Night in
Minnesota, Radio Mbao Halloween Nights in Ohio, Bongo Radio's Summer
Breeze Concert in Chicago, Bang Bash Boat Cruise in Chicago. I also
opened up for Fid Q concert in Chicago, Mercy Myra in Minnesota and
Profesa Jay in Atlanta.

SEIF KABELELE: Have you recorded any previous CDs or posted any audio files on the
> Internet? 

‘WAKAZI’ : up to date, i have managed to release 3 mixtape CDs.

mixtape ya ukweli vol.1, mixtape ya ukweli vol.2:the return of the
bilingual beast, mixtape ya ukweli vol.3:welcome to heartbreak. all
together those mixtapes have 54 songs and are all available online for
download for free. i have done some collaborative work as well with
other artists here in tanzania (stereo, nikki mbishi, gwaii, one, p
the mc, robz, songa, godzilla, albino fulani, bano stylez, etc) and
also in america (kodak, Malo) and other african countries (Reezon,
Chibbz, BlackUp, Chibo, Pay Johannes, Abizzy).

SEIF KABELELE:  What type of recording process did you use? Who produced your
 recording?)

  ‘WAKAZI’ :  recording music nowadays is not a very high tech process,

as long as you have a computer with the right software and a
microphone its on. the big part is in the post production (editing,
mixing and mastering). most of my mixtape songs i actually recorded
myself usin Protools, and i would mix it amateurishly or send it to my
producer friends who would mix them for me. on the official releases,
the recording process wa done in big studios, and i have worked with
different producers from John Mahundi, Duke Tachez, Mujwahuki, DenTex,
Bano Stylez, P funk, J Ryder, etc.

SEIF KABELELE: Who is your fan base or demographic?

 ‘WAKAZI’ : my fan base varies a lot. first there is the actual

fanbase and the perceived one. since i rap in english and swahili,
then one would say all the people who can speak both languages are my
fans. But yes since i was living abroad in America, then the whole
east africa diaspora become my fanbase, since my music first of all
relates with them, and also is due to the accesibility of it, as i
normally release it online through the internet and the diaspora
communities all over the world enjoy the benefit of internet
accessability. Now since my music has mved  from online to television
and radio as well them people back home here in east africa especially
Tanzania become an intrical part of my fan base. the demographical
breakdown is mostly males (70%)  than females (30%) although the
female percentage is going up as of late. the core base is between the
age of 25 and 40.

SEIF KABELELE: What do you think your listeners will get out of your music?

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  listeners can get what we call a total musical experience. i

want u to leave entertained, educated, excited, open minded, and most
importantly satisfied with what you have just heard off my anthology.
like i said earlier, u get Wakazi, and all that has made wakazi over
the years till now. sometimes my music is thought provoking, sometimes
i turn into a lyrical monster, sometimes i just want to ddress the
women. as long as one understands music and its different aspects,
whatever u looking for you will definitely get it.


SEIF KABELELE:  Are there any questions that your were expecting that I didn't ask and
    want to answer?
 ‘WAKAZI’ : alot of people ask me why i call my self WAKAZI? and how come

its not a group but a solo artist. wakazi is a nickname i was given by
my mother when i was young. i used to do alot of handy work and would
volunteer to do others assignments as well.  people often mistaken
wakazi as in residents, hence why they think i should be mkazi not
wakazi hahaha, but i guess our language (kiswahili) is a tricky one
too. wakazi as in "one who does work"  is the correct meaning of my
name.

SEIF KABELELE: When you were coming up which artist did you listen to for
  inspiration??

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i used to listen to various artists but most inspiration

come from The Notorious BIG, Nas, Eminem, Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep and
yes Wu Tang Clan. locally though i have been also inspired by the
likes of Hashim Dogo of Kikosi cha Mizinga, Red Scouts, Profesa Jay,
Lady Jaydee, Pablo da Brandson, Langa etc.

SEIF KABELELE: Well,Seif Kabelele blog readers would like to know more about you as an
 artist?

  ‘WAKAZI’ : well, hahaha. im Wakazi Swaggabovu, the BIlingual Beast, Dracula,

lala mchana kesha usiku, muuza vitu, beberu and you say TLG. im a
rapper/ hip hop artist from dar es salaam tanzania, stakishari ukonga
to be exact. i rap in english and in swahili. the strength ogf my
music is in what im saying in it and not how i say it. i have 3
mixtapes, im working on and EP and then an ALbum all to drop this
year, and later on maybe another international mixtape as im setting
myself up to concur the rest of the world with my music.

SEIF KABELELE: Among all your hits,which stands out as your personal favorite?

 ‘WAKAZI’ : i like also every creation of mine, and sometimes my own favorite is

not the fans favorite. But i would say "welcome to UKonga" did open
doors for me and gave me that identity and sense of belonging. "Nipo
Mtoni" is another song that made people start to look at me seriously
and its my favorite because i was spilling my heart out and everything
i said was what i was feeling at the time. it still gives e goosebumps
and chills everytime i hear it or even when im performing it.

SEIF KABELELE: Has there been one particulr moment in your musical career that you’re
        most proud of?

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  yes very much. so far i have about 4 or 5 milestones. first the

day i first heard myself on the radio, and when people quoted my
lyrics on they twitter and facebook pages. Second, is when i shared
the stage with Profesa Jay and Bamboo, it was like im finally being
accepted into the elite emcees conglomerate. Third, is when i
performed in Chicago at the "represent Africa showcase". I was the
only East African, and every other artist was Nigeria but i was able
to show my talent and the reception was pleasing. that was also the
day i first ever performed with a live band. Fourth, is when i became
a apart of the United Sounds of Africa Concert and shared the stage
with Ice Prince, 2 Face Idibia, J Martins, Jesse Jagz, Samklef etc.
and the sho took place in the legendary House of Bluesm< so it was an
historical moment for me and Tanzania. And last, is  being featured by
west african artists Reezon (ghana) and Chibbz (nigeria), a song
called "weekend" which is now getting airplay throughout west africa.

SEIF KABELELE: What do you think of the copyright laws in Tanzania?
 ‘WAKAZI’ :  i think they are trying as much as they can to help out. but
the problem is soo big and alot more stuff need to be fixed before we
can start to see the impacts of the efforts set forth. I mean laws
have aways been their, and as the old saying says "they were made to be
broken". when those caught doing piracy are brought to justice and
penalized with harsh sentences, i believe the problem will slowly
disappear. so i praise BASATA, CoSOTA and Tanzania Revenue Authority
for their efforts but for us to really have something to say, is when
other aspects of the entertainment industry are resolved.

SEIF KABELELE: How has the experience been from being in a position of wanting to do
 music and finally being in a position to accomplish that?

 ‘WAKAZI’ :  its has been overwhelming, and it gives one a very  huge

sense of accomplishment. the ride has had ups and downs but to get
where im at today, it needed alot of descipline, dedication and hard
work. so its safe to say that my character is defined by the journey i
went through up to now. and as we all know end of one journey is the
begining of another, and i believe i haven't reached the top yet. i
would like to acknowledge the people who helped me to get where i am
today, because in God's hoest truth i didnt do it al by myseelf. thats
to all the family, fans, friends and ever foes who in one way or the
other fueled me to get further... more to come

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