Monday, December 20, 2010



Former K-South member, Bamboo is one Kenyan rapper that keeps making major moves. Yesterday he became the first Kenyan rapper to get into the international hip-hop game after he signed a marketing deal with Wu-Tang Clan’s former manager Cedric Muhammad. Since mid 2000s, Bamboo has been in the US hard at work molding his skills, learning the game and working with artists in the industry. Working between Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta he has been putting in work on new music which include a remix of Akon’s ‘Mama Africa’ and a few mix tapes to his name.

Bamboo is one of Kenya’s pioneering rappers who rose to fame with the duo K-South which consisted of him and another veteran Doobiez who goes b his alter ego Abbas Kubbaff. They named themselves after the tough inner-city Nairobi neighborhood called K-South (Kariobangi South) a perfect setting for great street tales. K-South was lyrically untouchable around 2000-07 making major noise on the Kenyan music industry with hits such as ‘Tabia Mbaya’, ‘Kapuka’, ‘Sitaki’, ‘Usilete Compe’, ‘Sitaki’, ‘Kariobhangi’ just to name a few. They sealed their name in the Kenyan hip-hop history books.

Bamboo now lives in New York and has been searching for someone to direct him to where he needs to be as an artist. Cedric Muhammad is a journalist who writes for,, and many others. He is an accomplished music manager who has worked with many hip-hop artists notably the multi millions album selling WU-Tang Clan. Cedric Muhammad is an economist who is a consultant for the African Union. His deep interest in Africa, its economy, culture and music drove him to set up a management company Hip-Hoppreneur Brand Management.

While networking with a group of African artist managers, filmmakers and industry practitioners recently, the name Bamboo came up as a perfect African rapper to get introduced to the US market. A meeting was organized and the rest as they say was Africa’s first rapper to work with a major US hip-hop industry insider. The Official Press is here: This is an exciting time for Bamboo as he will now get the perfect exposure needed to catapult his career in the direction he needs and the sky is the only limit from now on, he is in perfect hands.

Meanwhile Bamboo has new music out:,,

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This was the week when ONE8 announced its amazing project is sponsored by Africa’s top mobile phone operator AIRTEL. The announcement came at a perfect time at the launch of ‘Hands across the World’ during the launch of the AIRTEL brand at KICC in Nairobi, Kenya. AIRTEL’s mission is to deliver a message of universal music to the world. Now known as AIRTEL ONE8 this is one revolutionary and pan-African project that’s endeavors to connect diverse cultures, languages and music in 53 countries.

AIRTEL is the official mobile phone operator that will deliver the song ‘Hands across the World’ to the masses of ONE8 fans throughout the continent. All the subscribers have to do is send an SMS to 6262 with the word ONE8 and the song is delivered to their phones in no time. AIRTEL will enable ONE8 artists to go across the continent to perform their music through events and many other digital platforms. The main aim of AIRTEL is to lead in uniting Africans through their music and culture.

To keep up with AIRTEL ONE8 please follow the following links:,,,,,


Picture by Jim Swafield
So the whole RockStar4000 team was in Chicago in their decked out hotel chilling mingling and thinking about the great music they would make. Already overwhelmed as they were with the international superstar status and treatment, they were not ready for what was about to hit them. They were not ready to be making music with the Grammy award winning, mega-producer and song writer Robert Kelly better known globally as R.Kelly. You should’ve seen their freeze in their faces as he stepped into the Chicago Recording Studios that windy afternoon.

They could not believe that R Kelly had just joined them to work with them, and him being a professional artist that he is, had no time for pleasantries, he got straight to work to record this season’s biggest holiday single ‘Hand Across the World’. R Kelly has recorded with many different international artists such as Jay-Z, Mary J Blige, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton just to name a few. For him to work with some of Africa’s best was an opportunity in itself for him. R Kelly was the best choice to produce this record as he versatile, he has produced several hit records to his music is globally acceptable.

The energy was intense and lovely at the same time, R Kelly who was so happy to finally meet these artists who he had only heard their music, paid close attention to their ideas while they learnt a few things about making good music.“I love projects like this. As I hear the music of these artists and meet them in person I can feel myself connect. Somehow I can feel the excitement and adrenaline through them and then the ideas and everything around this track just comes together. This is probably one of the greatest things I have ever done, I can just feel it in me,” said the cheerful R&B mega superstar. The end result of the week was an amazing track. Listen:


We all love WU-Tang Clan, we bang their albums, and we love the whole Earths, God’s movement. From Ol’ Dirty to Meth to the extended family of Suns of Man, WU Killah Bees and the WU Family we respect them all. So when an opportunity to host Killah Priest in Nairobi arose, I was as open as any big WU-Tang fan would be. Little did I know that the promoter I was dealing with was fugezi. A few months ago, I received an email from an individual asking me to host Killah Priest in Kenya.

It would have been an honour to host Killah Priest but knowing the market and the short notice, I knew it was going to be an uphill task.

So we linked up with Sarakasi Trust to do the show at WAPI. After all at WAPI we had already brought you Dead Prez live, Blak Twang from London, Toronto’s Ian Kamau and many more stars have graced this stage before they blew up such as Liz Ogumbo who is now signed to Gallo Records in SA, Sauti Sol, Muthoni the Drummer Queen, Juliani, Wakamba Wawili, Point Blank and Big Mic, just to name a few.

In the spirit of cohesion we hit the media, set up interviews, and started a vigorous campaign for Killah Priest in Nairobi. But somehow something was going on in Killah Priest's camp, he was double booked for another show in North America. What a shame? Well I guess we'd have to try for another day. All that happens is according to God's will. Killah is still willing to do the tour so keep it here for information on whether the show will take place next year.


Early in the month, Tanzania’s favourite rapper – II Proud, a.k.a Mr II a.ka. Sugu was elected as Member of Parliament for Mbeya City Constituency making him the first rapper in the (world) to hold an elected office. Sugu now known as honorable Joseph Mbilinyi is not only now a member of parliament but a pioneer of Tanzanian hip-hop and one of the most successful ones. Throughout his career, Sugu has been known to address social issues for the downtrodden through his music earning him the moniker the man of the people and the voice of the voiceless. The rap name Sugu means tough.

He won the election on a opposition ticket with the party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy & Development) CHADEMA. He garnered over 45,000 votes against the next contestant who garnered just below 25,000 votes. Another funny is twist to this story is that his opponent Mr.Benson Mpesya was Sugu’s high school teacher who once told him that he wouldn’t amount to nothing. Jay-Z’s lyrics make so much sense “Dear teacher/ you probably somewhere near a speaker/ am balling outta control can you hear my sneakers?”

Sugu is a celebrated Tanzanian artist, he has received several accolades such has Best Hip-Hop Artist, Best Artist at top national awards and has been sought after as a star artist and personality. Unlike other artists who just follow trends, Sugu doesn’t just fall for corporate branding and all that. He shocked the world when he boycotted the Kilimanjaro Music Awards in 2005 where he was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album. The awards are sponsored by Tanzania’s biggest beer brand. His explanation was the awards were more interested in promoting the beer brand than the plight of musicians.

Over the years, Sugu stamped his name in a list of artists that actually care about the people of Tanzania. Him being elected to parliament puts him in a position to effect some sort of change for people in his country. Most artists usually sit on theirs backs and complain but never take that fight with their two hands. Early this year popular rapper Haitian born rapper Wyclef Jean tried to register for the running for the Presidency of his home native country Haiti without much success due to technicalities. Sugu is a first in a place where many have tried and can’t make it? Wishing him all the best in the job.

This brings to light the plight of other musicians always following the cheques but never doing anything for their communities. All you do is complain about how bad things are but never take the initiative to make a difference. You never question the integrity of the companies that pay your bills. Companies like Safaricom continue to flout consumer rights by giving them poor service. When you make a call and cannot hear the person on the other side but still get charged for that call that wasn’t your fault is that a violation of human rights? But where are they now? Probably at Safaricom’s latest gig. When will they take a stand and make a difference?

Friday, October 29, 2010


At the beginning of the week, the windy city of Chicago, USA had the opportunity of hosting a group of very lively African guests courtesy of one of the worlds biggest music companies:- SONY Music and their affiliate RockStar4000. The African guests were none other than the members of the continent’s biggest super group – One8 who were in town to record some hits for their upcoming album plus to link up with one of the city’s major music names. The 8 acts who are some the best that their countries have produced on the musical map landed on American soil in style and pomp ready to get the work done.

First off, the One8 team arrived in Chicago to scan out the city and get everything rolling African style. They were soon followed by the artists who started flocking in from their countries. First to arrive were Uganda’s Navio with Zambia’s JK. They were followed by DRC’s golden child of song Fally Ipupa before everyone else slowly trickled in. Amani of Kenya and Nigeria’s 2Face were the last to arrive in Chicago where the rest of the group was already bonding and feeding off each others musical vibes. As soon as they were all on the ground, it was time to hit the studio where the music making began.

The vibe in that studio this whole week was so ecstatic it could have woken up great African music icons such as Fela Kuti and Miriam Makeba. Note that this is the first time a conscious effort has been made to bring together top African artists from different countries in one studio to make music that will be marketed all over the globe. Together, these young African artists witnessed and made history all at once. The studio was abuzz with different African vibes – Uganda’s Ugaflow, Ghana’s hip-life franco-hiphop of Gabon, DRC’s Lingala, Bongoflava of Tanzania, Boomba of Kenya and Naija swag.

This was a week for the whole group to learn each other’s music but also to fit in with each others’ vibes and feel each other. Being that that they were on foreign turf this was a perfect opportunity for all these musicians to bring out the best about their individual countries while taking tips from their counterparts. These being some of the best the continent has ever produced musically be prepared for some of the best music the continent has heard in a long time. The bomb video has been shot too. Keep here for more about ONE8, RockStar4000 and get a chance to hear the baddest African song.,,,,

Monday, October 25, 2010


After weeks of speculation, 8 superstars from across Africa have united with one major megastar to form ONE8; the all star group to make the best music from Africa onto the global stage and connecting millions of fans through the universal language of music. Through the power of the universal language of music and combining genres, sounds, voices and audiences - while breaking down stereotypes, geographical borders and divisions - ONE8 is the ultimate music force that is single-handedly changing the face of the African music industry. ONE8 consists of the hottest African talent from eight major African countries.

The power and excitement around this collective of African stars is so big that ONE8 will be not only be joined by one of the biggest global megastars and icons in music for its first single and video, about to be recorded in Chicago, USA, but this superstar, who’s played a crucial role in defining R&B and Hip-Hop as we know it, will produce the song and video together with some of the biggest names in music and music video production in the world today.

This all star group ONE8 is produced and managed by the first major pan-African record label and 360 music company, ROCKSTAR4000 within the family of the world’s number 1 recording company Sony Music. Sony Music has delivered some of music’s biggest icons and pioneers in the history of music including the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, R Kelly, Alicia Keys, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, Santana and Shakira to name a few. ONE8 is destined for greatness, shattering perceptions about African music as it builds networks and excitement across African and across the world.

ONE8 is a progressive, digital media driven project - driven by the passion of the artists to not only allow their fans access around the clock, but to give them the freedom to escape from their every day challenges and empowering their fans to be whatever they want to be through the power of music and the digital world - connecting them across cities, borders and continents.

All eight artists set off for the USA, fans will be connected with them around the clock through the website, mobile site or mobisite, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube and live webcasts from on-the road. Millions of fans will experience this music revolution and historic journey as it happens. Fans will experience their favorite stars up-close and personal and roam where no fan has roamed before, digital ALL ACCESS PASSES delivered personally by these superstars to their fans!

All the artists have worked together to create a song that is a truly Pan-African creation. The group will also shoot a video in Chicago which will be released globally with the first single in November, alongside a full album and DVD soon after.

You can follow ONE8 around the clock on the following official portals:,,,,,


SONY Music and Rock4000 must be rejoicing after news that Nigeria’s biggest musical sensation 2Face Idibia was joining Africa’s musical super group One 8. 2Face being Nigeria’s top musical artist is also one of Africa’s most successful musicians to hit the airwaves in the past decade or so. With his widely popular music and immense talent, he joins the ranks of Kenya’s Amani, Uganda’s Navio, Zambia’s JK, Ghana’s 4 × 4, Gabon’s Movaizhaleine, DRC Congo’s Fally Ipupa and Tanzania’s Ali Kiba.

2Face was originally a member of the duo Plantashun Boyz with his partner BlackFace who he had attended college with. His name 2Face in how own words refers to ‘the outside and inside’: “when you first see me you see the outside but when you get to know me, you see the inside,” he says. After a couple of years the Plantashun Boyz went their separate ways but came together again in 2007 to record the highly acclaimed album Plan B.

2Face, has however achieved most of his success as a solo artist and is now one of the most internationally recognized celebrities Nigeria has produced in recent years. 2005 saw 2Face become a household name when he took home an MTV Europe Award for Best African Act, a Channel O Music Video Award for Best Male Video and Best African Video (both for "African Queen") and a Kora Award for Revelation of the Year. His video for African Queen was also the first video to be played on MTV Base. The song ‘African Queen’ was also featured in the Hollywood feature film Phat Girlz.

In 2006 and 2007, 2Face won a MOBO award for Best African Act, a special recognition award at the Hip Hop World Awards, Channel O Music Video Award for Best African Pop for the Song ‘Ole’ and a Channel O Music Video Award for Best West African for the song ‘Ole’. He won the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Special Recognition as Nigeria’s Breakthrough Artist of the Year. In 2008 he won a Nigerian Music Award for Album of the Year and R&B Song of the Year and a World Music Award for Best Nigerian Act.

Last year he took an MTV Africa Music Award for Best R&B and as he joins forces with the ONE8 project the sky is the limit for this amazingly talented artist.,,,,


There was excitement at SONY’s Rock4000 as Kenya’s chart topping songstress Amani joined the super African music group; - One8. This makes her the first lady of the One 8 group that consists of only male artists including Navio from Uganda, JK from Zambia, 4 × 4 from Ghana, Movaizhaleine from Gabon, Fally Ipupa from Congo DRC and Ali Kiba from Tanzania. Amani whose name means peace in Swahili is the seventh member of this extensive African music group that is bound to shake up the entertainment landscape in Africa very soon.

Born Cecilia Wairimu, Amani started performing at an early age in church talent shows and was already writing her own songs by the time she was in primary school. She recorded her first single while in high school. In 1999 she had her first radio hit, with the massive track ‘Move On’, one of the first home grown Kenyan songs to reach number one all major local radio charts. She followed up on this success with a collaboration with top Kenyan artist Nameless, and the hit track Ninanoki which became an instant classic across East Africa.

Amani wasn’t done with releasing hits, in 2004 another collaboration, with Big Pin and Pantonee gave Amani another hit with ‘Talk to You’, a song that became the most requested across Kenyan radio that year. The song topped all the charts and saw Amani’s sound developing into a richer and more accessible R & B style. Her highly anticipated debut album, Amani was released in 2006, soon followed with the release of her sophomore Tamani in 2007, both being awarded and becoming critically acclaimed across the region and continent.

Amani’s soothing music is urban and African, uplifting with unforgettable melodies that showcase both Amani’s vocal and song-writing talents. She has been awarded for Kisima Awards Best Female Artist 2006 and Best Collaboration, and in 2007 for Best Female Boomba Artist. Amani has also been nominated for a Channel O video award in 2008 for Best Female Artist East Africa. She won the MTV African Music Award for Best Female Artist 2009 alongside a slew of nominations at the 2009 Channel O Music Awards.

Amani has toured the world having played concerts in Norway in 2007, in Germany in 2008 at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, for the president of Ghana and even in San Diego, California during a US tour in 2008. Amani’s unique East African R & B and her undeniable style bring an uplifting and soulful feel to the ONE8 group.,,,,


The African super group One 8 continues to become as diverse as ever with the addition of a very talented musician from Congo DRC called Fally Ipupa. Born Ipupa Nsimba, Fally is a singer, songwriter and respected guitarist who was born and raised in Kinshasa, DRC. Like many young performers of his generation, music was not considered more than a hobby and studies were forced to take priority over the young man’s passion.

At a young age the singer started playing in various small groups on Congolese streets until he was eventually noticed by the acclaimed group Quartier Latin, who scooped him up to play guitar for them. Over the next ten years he honed his craft under the watchful eye of his mentor, Koffi Olomide. Fally ended up composing two of Koffi’s biggest hits, namely ‘Eternellement’ on the album Force De Frappe in 2001 and ‘Ko Ko Ko Ko’ on the album Affaire d’Etat. This fast rocketed him to the position of band composer despite a young age.

Fally’s influences and creative spirit saw him dreaming of creating a new sound. Feeling the constraints of Latin Quarter, he eventually had to break free in order to pursue a solo career. His first solo album was released in 2006 and Droit Chemin sold over 100,000 units, spawning the hits ‘Droit Chemin’, ‘Liputa’ and ‘Kidiamfuka’. In 2007 Fally was acknowledged by his peers in the music industry when he won the Best Male Artist Cesaire Award and Best Artist or Group from Central Africa in the continental Kora Awards.

Fally Ipupa’s silky smooth voice soon reached the hearts of many, both in DRC and internationally, due to his blend of various musical styles including soukous, ndombolo, pop and R&B. In 2009, his album Arsenal de Belles Mélodies received much media attention and rare reviews, with hits like ‘Chaise Electrique’, a duet performed with Olivia from the group G-Unit.

That same year, he participated in the “MTV Awards Made in Africa”, where he performed his hit ‘Bicarbonate’ for millions of viewers. Fally is the first Congolese artist of his generation to attempt an adventurous musical career which combines innovation and tradition. His fans and media alike have named him a prodigy who lives for his time without forgetting his roots. It’s this créative spirit, incredible talent and youthful passion that makes him a perfect addition to the ONE8 team.,,,,


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When SONY affiliate record label ROCK 4000 decided to form an African super group of musicians called One8, they must have had in perspective the enormous appetite of the average African music lover. Since they started signing artists a few weeks ago they have acquired artistes with diverse styles and from totally different countries. The latest catch in the race to form this African super group of artists is a Paris based hip-hop duo from Gabon called Movaizhaleine.

Movaizhaleine affectionately known as MH is a duo influenced by activism for Africa and they are strong believers in the rehabilitation of history. Their debut album Mission and second album Mission Akomplie were great successes all over Gabon proving the duo had what it takes to achieve more across the African continent. Their third album On Detient La Harpe Sacree was a best selling record that put their name firmly on the music map. Their fourth album TOME 2 contained a political track ‘Nous’ which won the Video of the Year at MTV Mama Music Awards 2008. MH hold an annual event in Gabon called Le Show Du Pays (The Show of the Nation) which reaffirms the values of conscious hip-hop. They bring cultural diversity to One8. Check out their video:

They join Uganda’s top hip-hop artist Navio (Daniel Kigozi) who’s been on the scene for ten years with a group of five rappers called Klear Kut. First produced by top producer Steve Jean, Klear Kut made a name for themselves with the single ‘Nothing Wrong Wit A Lil Doe’ winning critical acclaim throughout Uganda. They were the first hip-hop group in Uganda to be accepted into the mainstream and have stayed there ever since. Klear Kut’s first album Klear Kut had major hits including the single ‘All I Wanna Know’ featuring Juliana. The video for this track pioneered earned Klear Kut an award nomination for Most Promising Group at KORA All Music Awards 2002. In 2003 Klear Kut won the Best Hip Hop Group award at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Music Awards. Navio’s has moved to pursue a solo career to expose his Uga-flow style with a debut album Half the Legend establishing him into the biggest names in the East African hip-hop. Check out his video:

Another member of the group is Zambia’s biggest super star JK also known as Jordan Katembula. He has single handedly changed the way changed the way Zambian music is viewed. Starting out in professionally in 1997 performing for several bands, he eventually dropped his self-titled solo album in the year 2000. Containing hits such as ‘Nkafikilisha’ and ‘Balekuzembeleka’ he stamped his name firmly as Zambia’s number one young artist. JK has released another three more albums which have a rhumba meet reggae and Rn’B feel to it and appealing to both older and young fans. He continues to pack sold out concert halls in Zambia. Check out his video:

Another member of One8 is Tanzanian heartthrob Ali Kiba, a major singer at the top of the food chain of a genre called Bongo Flava (combination of hip-hop and Tanzanian Rn’B). In east Africa Ali Kiba is known everywhere and his music plays widely amongst the youth and the wazees (elders). Bongo Flava is an easy to dance to genre which sounds much like RnB or slow hip-hop and highly influenced by Zouk. Bongo Flava contains mostly of romantic lyrics but some songs have a positive message to society. Some Bongo Flava is just plain naughty and has an extreme party vibe to it. Bongo Flava is Tanzania’s youth expression and one artist that fully embodies the spirit of Tanzania is Ali Kiba. His debut album Cindarella hit the stores in 2008 and contained widely selling hit ‘Cinderella’ which put him firmly on the map of the East African music scene. This album saw him performing all over East Africa and he performed to east African crowds in UK and United States. In 2009 he released his second album Ali K 4 Real that has seen him earn plenty of awards locally and internationally including Best East African Artist at the African Music Awards in London, UK. With a career on the rise, Alikiba brings a unique style and flair to the ONE8 music project.

Ghanaian hip-life trio 4×4 is another member of the One8 group, they released their first album Siklitele in 2003, followed by a second album Contestant Number 1 in 2007. 4×4 has made a massive name for themselves in the Ghanaian music scene because the combine raga, rap and hip-life. They are great role models to the youth in Ghana, 4x4 have worked extremely hard to get where they are today. Their latest album, is a blend of foreign touch (hip hop style) but with a local dialect and dancehall flavour. Speaking to Ghanaian media, they stated that “we have introduced this new blend of foreign touch (hip hop style) with local dialect and dancehall to sound different, more productive and very hot.” It is evident these black stars are very passionate about music and the youth; they seem to perfectly fit into the One8 project.

Those are five artists that form One8 currently and the search is on for three more artists to complete the total number of eight. It is said that One8 producers were spotted in Kenya and Nigeria scouting for talent and it has yet to be proven who joins this prestigious group. In Kenya my guess would be Wyre and Nigeria it would be 2Face Idibia but that’s just me guessing. Once the group is complete they combine genres, sounds, voices and audiences to record a super hit with a top American producer based in Chicago this will be the most memorable recording venture ever embarked on in Africa. The track drop in November courtesy of SONY and Rock 4000 Records, who will be next to join this group? Watch this space.,,,,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One8 - African Music Supper Group

Over the last decade or so, the African music industry has been on an upward rise; never before has there been such promise in the said form of expression. Individual countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana have produced numerous stars but we haven't witnessed that many inter-border collaborations. Because the scene is still young in pretty much every one of these African countries, the scene has been developing on its own without fiscal support from any major. No one has been able to step to the game to unite it.

At least 10 years in the music and arts industry and I've just realized that the only one holding us back is the inability to work together as an African industry. They say that sometimes when you don't expect a thing to happen that's when things actually start happening. So when I heard that SONY affiliate music label Rock 4000 was putting together a super African music group called One8 I was so elated beyond words because this should've happened a few years back. To make it even better is that one of my favorite artists Navio from Uganda was on that list.

Navio is joined by R&B star JK from Zambia, Bongo Flava King Ali Kiba from Tanzania and Ghana's 4 by 4. All these artists who are very talented and popular in their home countries will come together to form the super group One8 for more info visit: It's about to go down proper! The word is that they are all working some major collaborations and in the next few hours their producer will be annouunced. He is none other than a mysterious producer from the windy city of Chicago. Ur guess is as good as mine. Keep it here for more info as I get it.