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:
www.airtelone8.com, www.facebook.com/airtelone8, www.twitter.com/airtelone8, http://buddhablazeworld.blogspot.com, www.youtube.com/airtelone8tv, airtelone8.mobi
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?