The self-taught DJ is easy to talk to and does not carry the aura of a superstar whose name will always be lined up amongst the first celebrity decks-masters in urban folklore.
DJ Lethal Kaydee’s jingles are unique. His mixes are distinct. He has cut a niche for himself with a very unique sound. Whether he is mixing on radio or in the club, you can never mistake his work with that of any other DJ.
“The truth is, there is nothing that the current DJs are doing that I have not done,” says Kaydee. “Be it radio, TV, clubs...name it all. I have been there.”
In an age where even showbiz journalists are sometimes more popular than celebrities, hype is almost everything and when one throws in the social media angle, stars are born each day, even by pulling the most absurd of stunts.
“I don’t believe in hype. Most of these DJs don’t have anything special that they are doing. Plus, we all know most media houses don’t pay much by convincing these DJs that being on air is enough platform,” charges Kaydee, who always sports a du-rag or Marvin hat, his trademark look.“Just ask around how much they earn,” he jokes.
Part of the old school DJ fraternity that did it for the passion and not fame, Kaydee learnt the ropes at Coco Beach, a club in Buru Buru.
“I would spend the night locked up trying to perfect my skills. I started doing this when I was in Form Two,” he recalls.
Picked by Homeboyz Entertainment, he would work for nearly five years without a reliable source of income as they would be paid per gig.
“In my opinion, it takes about eight straight years to make one a legendary DJ. That is why even with the popularity these upcoming DJs have, there is a class up there of people like Pinye, John, Adrian... and a few others. We are untouchable and that is why we can turn down work if the pay is peanuts,” he declares.
Kaydee has a strong opinion about the on-going debate where DJs are accused by local artiste of promoting more foreign content than they do local music. To him, it all goes down to the quality of music.
“Good music will speak for itself. If there was more good music in Kenya, we would be playing less Naija songs but at the moment, we can’t help it. Artistes like complaining but if you visit other countries, DJs out there are also playing Naija music because the quality is good. We get a lot of Nigerian music but some of it is trash as well,” explains Kaydee, who expects to settle down with a wife next year.The member of Takeover DJs also cites inaccessibility of local music as another downside.
“There are many websites where I can get even the latest Nigerian or South African music but if you wanted Kenyan music, tracking it online is a big problem,” he notes, adding that no single Kenyan radio station plays purely local content.
“Few DJs will play local content a whole night. Fans will be bored,” he opines.
Kaydee has an observation about how the showbiz industry works in other countries, something that he has not witnessed locally.
“Artistes of all genres support each other. Album launches are attended by nearly everyone and artistes with shows will always pass by other events where fellow artistes are performing. Here, everyone is on their own,” he says.
After a journey through TV and radio, Kaydee quit the media in 2010 to concentrate on growing his own trade. Mostly a club DJ these days, Kaydee feels it is time he gave back.
With nostalgia, he compares the changing times; saying technology has greatly improved the spinning trade, but also created a shortcut to the top.
“I did not own a single machine when I started out but nowadays, all I need is a laptop and I’ll be comfortable in any club. In essence, anyone can be a DJ if they want to. It’s just about getting the right songs in a flow,” he concludes.