Not shy of controversy, Chiwawa has no apologies as he tells MKALA MWAGHESHA why he is the ‘bad boy’ he is
According to the dreadlocked rapper, Kenneth Gaciengo Mwai and Chiwawa are two totally different people. While the former is a God-fearing, family guy who values humanity, the latter is this entertaining, drama-filled and testosterone driven alter ego.
“Everything I do as Chiwawa is entertainment and nothing personal,” the chatty veteran told Pulse last week as he opened up about his life, showbiz and all the controversy around his singing career.
Having started out in 2002 with the help of Deejay Loop, Chiwawa has grown from the scrawny wannabe rapper who spit lyrics to his cousins and neighbours.
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Growing up in the artistes-laden South C, he was able to rub shoulders with established artistes like the late E-Sir, whom he still refers to as a close friend, from an early age.
“I wrote about 80 songs using Mos Def’s Ms Fat Booty instrumental. I was good at poetry and rhyming and I can confidently say that at high school, I was already better than most established artistes of the early 2000s,” he boasts.
Envious of his neighbours Wodhes and Chizi Noma, who were in school but already getting airplay, he forced his way into Deejay Loop’s studio, who asked him to audition by doing a diss-track aimed at other artistes.
“I did two verses with my cousin doing the other. I was easy, knowing it was just an audition. After a few days, I heard the jam on radio, with Bamboo, Michele and Kizi Daga on it,” he said.
Loop had given it to Deejay Styles, who liked it.
Apparently, Loop had liked the music hunger in him and decided to make two songs out of the two verses. Bamboo too, wanted to relieve some stress from his chest by spitting war and War Song 1 was made.
Loop then used the second verse on War Song 2, which featured Wodhes, Chizi Noma and Attitude.
The two songs ushered in, for the first time, beef season.
“The diss-tracks were on demand on radio and my name became popular. Klepto did Tuendele out of the beef and they even changed their style. I made Nyash realise he was excellent at rapping,” Chiwawa cheekily states.
Chiwawa was finally on the spotlight and his shows at Club Sikiliza were attended by full crowds.
When he dropped out of college for music, his father turned his back on him. With time though, he was able to prove the decision was not a mistake, after he started chipping in to pay for his siblings’ fees.
“I bought the old man nice shoes, we made up,” he recalls in jest.
He made Hii Mkwanja, his first album, with Loop. All the disses were in the album, with the addition of Mnafeel Aje and Life Teachings, which received good airplay. He then did Take 2, an album that had songs like Hello Baby, Extravaganza and Mbele Sana, which featured Didge.
He then got into beef with Abbas, in one of the most prominent hip-hop squabbles in Kenya.
“The media fuelled it. After I realised he was mad and avoiding a sit down as he ignored my calls, we took it to the booth,” he explains.
Involving Baby G, Abbas’ ex wife, the beef went more of lyrical than personal.
“We were both professional and that is why it ended at Carnivore, with Sh400,000 at stake,” Chiwawa says. After the battle, they shook hands, split the cash then took booze together. Nothing personal!
Jabali, his third album and aptly named after his son, was done amidst a change in his life.
After dating his wife for more than two years, they decided to take the relationship to the next level.
“We have been together for six years now; four as a family. Jabali is three years old and another one is on the way,” the 30-year-old proudly says.
He says his wife has taught him love, something he didn’t know before. When speaking about the one who made her family accept him as responsible man and not a hot-bloodied youth, his face glows.
He explains that the break in music is down to restructuring, as family has made him more responsible.
“I’ve had to settle down and focus on other businesses apart from music.”
He owns a bottled-water line, Minava, co-owns Clad House, a label that dresses celebrities, with Pits Chege as well as a few stalls in town.
With a fourth album on the way, and other projects with Abbas and Bamboo, Chiwawa is not ready to quit. It is all showbiz for Chiwawa, according to Kenneth Gaciengo Mwai.