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VAS

Mwafreeka’s chronicles

PULSE
By By Pulse Team | February 1st 2013

By Pulse Team

Hip-hop head Mwafrika has changed his name to Mwa-free-ka claiming he his now free in his mind. And that not withstanding, he brings out all the controversies surrounding him and his abrupt exit from Ghetto Radio

It is during the 2003 Benson and Hedges Rap and Vibe, and in the rap battle, the final is between two promising rappers; DNA and Mwafrika.

“I remember I won the rap battle but DNA surely gave me a run — especially when he dissed me. He said ‘you claim to be an African, but on the mic you sound more like an Anglican’,” recalls Mwafreeka.

Around this time, there was furore about the Anglican’s appointment of gay clergy to the pulpit, and locally the phrase ‘Anglican’ had acquired a dubious insinuation.

Mwafrika was still a young cat in the game then, having started the rap game in late 2002 and gaining recognition when he took part in the Capital Battle in 2003.

In the same year, he met with K-Nan and together they recorded The African Way — a song that was released three years later.

Come 2004, the budding rapper released a couple of singles most notable one being Itakuwa Aje, a track about campus life. However, the Bachelor of Science degree graduate reckons that not many stations played the song, although those who liked it still request for it to date.

EXPLICIT LYRICS

By then, his stature had grown and he was king of a new sub-genre that flattered our realm of music — underground rap. Together with another underground rapper, Muki Garang’, they recorded the song Justice, which took a swipe at the then Attorney General.

Quite uncharacteristic of many rappers who go for the implicit, Mwaf (as he is popularly called) prides himself in being explicit even to the point of naming names — a feat that quickly earned him a controversial image. Again, not many played the song although in an interesting twist, Golden Dreams — then owned by the Government spokesman — did the video. During this time, however, his music had taken a bit of a backseat to a career in radio.

In 2004, a new station Y FM had been launched and he was one of the presenters.

He, however, left Y FM two years later and took a six-month sabbatical, during which time, together with (the late) Angel Waruinge and Muki, they mooted the idea of what we now know as Ghetto Radio. He also managed to drop two other collabos; Tuko Sawa with Walanguzi and Power of Hip-hop with American star, Craig Gee.

Soon, he was back on radio — this time, Ghetto Radio. His stay at Ghetto Radio has been subject to many allegations, especially the abrupt way he left.  Is it true that he was an overbearing boss, who fired people willy-nilly?

“I only fired one person during my time at Ghetto Radio”, he asserts.

He attributes his differences with the Dutch proprietors of the station as the reason why he left the station, not beef with Majimaji as alleged by others.

He asserts that he is the one who changed Ghetto to what it is now, before leaving, and that the likes of Mbusi owe it to him.

“I taught Mbusi how to do things, especially since he had a heavy accent at the time. There were many times I was urged to get rid of him, together with Kafu, but I refused,” he quips.

While disputing Mbusi’s account, he says that his biggest disappointment to date has been the lies that were peddled, which he says portray Mbusi as a victim.

“Much as I loved the experience, I don’t like how they portray me. Mbusi needs to be asked whether he ever did a breakfast show with me,” Mwaf thunders before producing some TV pilots, which show Mbusi and Rapcha in acting roles, to discard the notion that Mbusi was a mere messenger who only got the chance after he left the station.

ON MBUSI AND RAPCHA

He clarifies that during his tenure, people worked their way up with the likes of Rapcha, Mbusi and Kafu starting from earning very little. He contends that many may also have misjudged his strictness.

“I was strict, and you can quote me on that,” he says.

 “Anyone who knows Rapcha knows that yes, he drinks, but he never misses work. How else is he able to keep his current job?” asks the teetotaller.

It confounds him that Mbusi and Rapcha don’t see eye to eye.

“They used to be very tight buddies, the type that would share jokes and sheng’ phrases, which only they understood,” he notes.

Mwaf is also the first person who started calling Mbusi Kijana Mpyenga”

As for Rapcha, they continue to work together on his Raiyaa show, a concept based on day-to-day experiences of ordinary Kenyans, delivered in sheng’. He also hosted a show with Kaz.

In October of last year, he started recording his album, Akili ya Mwafreeka, and released the first song, Strong As, which addresses (talking in his usual explicit fashion) his dad’s alcoholism.

“I like it when things are personal and in my album, I talk about African leaders and address intellectual stuff. I also talk about my sexuality. I chase skirts like other men,” he concludes.

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