As he prepares to celebrate almost a decade since the release of his debut album, rapper Juliani has been doing a lot of reminiscing on his journey into the music industry.
Born and raised in Dandora, an environment prone to gangs and violence, the rapper has shared a deep and detailed article of how Hip-hop saved him offering a better future in a place where he felt education wasn't just enough. At one point, the gospel singer had picked the wrong path.
“I joined Dandora high school just a few steps from my primary school,” he wrote on Medium.com where he has opened an account to share extensively with his fans before the concert.
“Dandora high school was the kind of school where there was no bullying. You didn’t know who was whose brother or sister. You know us, our school strike made headlines; we overturned a lorry carrying beer supplies, putting to the test the slogan ‘Stand Tall’. We hijacked a KBS, took it round the whole of Dandora one of the students as the driver! His name is Oscar. Dandora High Hall-of-Famer. We lived by the street code; every disagreement was settled at the dumpsite knuckle to knuckle. A fight began by one guy knocking down a stone on top of their opponents hand and if you are bad ass you use your feet to knock it off and the fight began.”
Juliani also gave a scoop of how hip-hop group Mau Mau played a huge role in his young rapping career saying that he had to emulate both their behavior and lifestyle to be as good as them when it comes to rocking crowds and improving his rap skills.
“We used to go for concerts, opening acts for K-shaka, you had to be the best or have made an impression to be in the lineup.” he said
“That’s what led me to work on my art, I knew I needed to work extra, I needed to be exceptionally good. It’s like a teaspoon of sugar trying to be sweeter than a drop of honey. I worked on my freestyle, delivery, and lyrics. We went to the extent of washing Johnny k-shakas boots just to be close to him and feed on the crumbs of his creativity. Be close just in case he decided to give way on how he does it. If he smokes, we smoke. If he didn’t sleep, we didn’t sleep. Whoever he listens to we study them even more. We wanted to know the ways of the master.”
That was around 2005.
Almost a decade later, Juliani will relive most of these memories with his fans at the National theatre when celebrating eight years since dropping his debut album, "Mtaa Mentality".
Released on Dec. 18, 2008, Mtaa Mentality projected Juliani to heights not many artists archive with their debut projects. Recorded under Gatwitch Records, a record label founded by former child soldier and peace activist, Emmanuel Jal, the album includes country-wide hits such as; Hela, Kasisi, Mtaa mentality and Biceps.
The Jacaranda Gardens sponsored event set for May, 27, will let fans have a feel of the rapper’s Musical journey song-by-song. Through this, Juliani hopes to motivate anyone in the same position, a position he was in when success was just but a vision and dream.
“People book me on their stage, get me to work with the companies not because they like my handsome looks, or because I know so and so. NO! It’s because I can deliver.”
“So I urge you, don’t look down upon yourself. Work on your talent, your ideas, and your thoughts even if you are a cobbler, an athlete, a clerk. Be the best you can ever be. Rely on you, what you can offer. Realities change, things change. Your value remains.” he said.
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