Kushman: I gambled my own rent

By - Jan 1st 1970

Some say his sound is a blend of Nyashinski and Mejja. From 'Sijazoea Kuteteshwa' to 'Ogopa Kanairo', Kushman delivers catchy tunes, making him one of the Gengetone artistes to watch. Although he started his career in 2011, it was not until 2022 that he got his breakthrough and he is set to the top.

Rapper Kushman.

His wordplay, creativity and punchlines are on another level as he tries to put words in a way that everyone around can relate with. “My song relates to everyone in the society. I also try to be educative in my songs,” he says.

His major influence being Mejja, Kushman aka Pedi wa Magenge has major respect for ‘Okwonkwo’.  “Mejja is by far my main inspiration in doing music, his consistency has always taught me a lot. In my music, you can tell I have learnt more than enough from him. Yes, and I respect him a lot. I’ve grown up listening to him. The way his songs would relate to most people’s lifestyle and the way one can enjoy listening to him all through,” he says.

Now raising the Gengetone flag high, Kushman has time and again been on the wrong side of the streets as he explains he was once conned to his last coin.

“One Monday morning my week started on a bad footing. Getting into town, I ran into conmen famously known as pata potea.”

Well, this story is way too common and if you are well-versed with the streets of Nairobi you can predict the outcome. Although Kushman wasn’t new to the streets he still fell for the conmen's well-orchestrated plan. As the name suggests, “pata potea (gambling)” is a trick used to steal from unsuspecting victims where you can win money as fast as you can lose it. Literally, it is the oldest trick in the book and on the streets, these gambling masters have a way of getting the better of the people’s greed for quick money.

The stage is perfectly set to lure a curious onlooker with actors setting the background convincingly to encourage one to play.

“They easily convinced me to give them an audience and we started engaging. In the conversation, they lured me into betting my rent money on their games. I was asked to bet my money on an item and win more than double the amount I played with. The reward was handsome,” he explains.

Kushman ended up losing all his money and remained in debt since  he had lost way more than he had on the particular day.

Kanairo streets are unforgiving and Kushman went ahead and did a song titled “Ogopa Kanairo” warning newbies in the streets that one should never ‘zubaa’ because ‘utaibiwa hadi socks. In the same song goes a line that ‘Hizo pata potea usicheze, hizo pesa zako wakizipata zitapotea,”probably inspired by his own experience.

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