#KUFMDRIVEOne on One
KING KAKA, KAKA EMPIRE,487 AND STILL COUNTING!
He is arguably one of Africa’s best acts. This star quickly rising from Kenya and beyond, threatening to blind the globe is definitely a force to reckon. The one and only King Kaka talks to @ThatGuyChaxy about ambition, passion, music, fatherhood, rebranding and the Kaka Empire. Have a look at how it went down on KU FM DRIVE.
The Kansoul’s Double Tap fades into the airwaves of Ku Radio and a hyped up @ThatGuyChaxy sings along as he welcomes the one and only King Kaka into the building.
Chaxy: Tuna double tap kwenye KU FM Drive,King Kaka in the Building!
King Kaka: Kabooom Kubwaaa!
Chaxy: Nowadays ni Kaboom kubwaa eh? So there is a challenge I would like us to do. Let’s call it ‘Top Five in One’. Basically, it is like a quick fire, I’m going to give you five quick questions then you’ll give me the answers in like one minute. Are you ready for that?
King Kaka: I’m ready
Chaxy: I wanna know one mistake you have made in the game.
King Kaka: (Thinking hard) hmm..one mistake? I’m yet to make one, so far I have not made any
Chaxy: Are you for real? No mistake in the industry so far?
King Kaka: Yes very much so, no mistake.
Chaxy: Wow, okay. What was your lowest moment in the game?
King Kaka: Lowest moment.. That must have been when I was supposed to record but I was shut out of studio. I was denied studio time.
Chaxy: When was that?
King Kaka: When I was starting out in 2007
Chaxy: Damn that’s awful. Then what happened next? Did you give up?
King Kaka: I just went home. I had not recorded a single track so I told myself that I had to find another way to record. I just had to find a way.
Chaxy: Best moment in the game?
King Kaka: That one is yet to come.
Chaxy: When that moment comes, what will happen?
King Kaka: I don’t really have a defined picture of that moment and I don’t want to have one. I’m always looking for my best moment.
Chaxy: So you are yet to discover your best moment. Nice. What is your greatest contribution to the game?
King Kaka: I think I have brought in a new style that people appreciate and I’m happy about that. First of all, people appreciate poetry more. I was the first person to commercialize poetry and in the years to come people will talk about it. I remember people discouraged me when I released ‘Swahili Shakespeare’ and ‘Promised Land’. They would tell me that that kind of stuff will not be played on Tv or Radio. However, the funny thing is that I have been given more ratings for my poetry , I have been given strange gigs because of my poetry.
Chaxy: Elaborate on the strange gigs.
King Kaka: I was once called by a minister’s child to perform ‘Swahili Shakespeare’. Just that. So you can imagine if I was only doing other things I would not have gotten that chance. In addition to that, I see more poets coming up strongly; the likes of Poet Teardrops, Mufasa just to name a few.
Chaxy: There is also this guy from KU Known as Shady, pretty awesome guy.
King Kaka: Yeah there is also Shady, that guy from H_art the Band, there is that trend and people are receiving poetry well. I am very happy that it is growing so fast.
Chaxy: So can we call you our very own Kanye West now that you revolutionized things?
King Kaka: Yeah I can proudly say that.
Chaxy: what is your most expensive purchase? Something that is not related to music.
King Kaka: I think that would be land.
Chaxy: Exactly how big is this land we are talking about?
King Kaka: (Laughs) Kenyatta Family
Chaxy: I’m holding a copy of your album, ‘The Legend of King Kaka’ which you released in April, tell me, how was the reception?
King Kaka: ‘The Legend of Kaka’ was released on march 27th. I think this is the first album that went platinum. A lot of blogs talked about it and after two weeks we realized we had sold 5000 copies.
Chaxy: But people in Kenya don’t buy albums.
King Kaka: As I had said before, my fans keep me strong and I keep them strong. It is two-way traffic. I have #TeamKingKaka in Nakuru,Coast,Laikipia,KU wherever I am. When I release new material we organize how they will get the copies. I send them the copies in bulk and the cash flows back to me. That is how I have been working. I have some sort of an army that runs underground.
Chaxy: I wonder why Kenyans don’t buy albums at all. What happened?
King Kaka: That is one disease that urgently needs a cure because guys are doing really good music out there. I’m not only saying this because I am a musician, I know you can also attest to that. I think the public’s mindset should be changed. One,there is so much invasion of foreign music. You know if for instance your parent comes home daily and tells you “my son,our neighbor’s place is better” and he keeps telling you about all the good things there,chances are that even when you grow up you will not respect your father. You end up preferring your neighbor to your father. This is the same thing that has been happening in the Kenyan music scene. The media has been disrespecting Kenyan music and it has the same effect on people growing up in Kenya, they end up despising Kenyan music. It goes without saying when they go to clubs they request non-Kenyan music, same goes for personal playlists. So if Kenyan music is played more often when people go out they will definitely want the Kenyan music they keep on hearing. Let everyone play their part. On a business level we can all benefit from playing Kenyan music be it presenters, journalists and the rest.
Chaxy: You recently did a song with BahatiftWyre and DjKrowbar was the first gospel Dj to play the song. What is this feud between Djs and artists?
King Kaka: That was a big misunderstanding. The Djs thought they were being asked to pay in order to play Kenyan music which was not the case. They were asked to be licensed in order to operate as a Dj
Chaxy: My main worry is, gospel djs were finding it hard to play the track just because you and Wyre who are secular artists were featured yet other djs played it.
King Kaka: These guys behave like we come from hell yet even the Bible says that you have to go and get the lost flock. There is a song of mine that says if the ocean is peaceful, you can’t be a good captain. I have come from far and I attest that to God and when Bahati offered me that chance I saw it fit for me to give my testimony.
Chaxy: Have you approached any gospel dj and personally asked them about playing or not playing the song?
King Kaka: not really. I feel like if you think it is right, go ahead and play it, if not, so be it. I really can’t dictate how you do your job. I have already done my part i.e. going to the studio, recording and shooting the video.
Chaxy: Rabbit and King Kaka are two different people. King Kaka is now a family man. Let us talk about that.
King Kaka: Yes I am now a family man. My kids are the best thing ever. Everything about me has changed. My mindset has totally changed.
Chaxy: Two kids from different mothers?
King Kaka: Yeah two kids from two different mothers. A and G. Big up to my daughters A na G hao ndio hunipa Energy.
Chaxy: how is fatherhood so far?
King Kaka: It has been an eye opener. When I accepted that my kids will be here with me forever and they will look up to me, I have to be there. Growing up, I lacked some things and I want them to have the best in life. I have more clearly defined objectives in my life. It is also a great contributor to the King Kaka Brand.
Chaxy: Tell me more about Kaka Empire. How do you manage all this considering you also have to be in the studio doing your music. I understand there is still more music coming from you soon.
King Kaka: since I started recording I have 487 songs. When I started Kaka Empire I knew that I needed a team that would ensure things ran smoothly and I have that now. I am also an artist of Kaka Empire. Everyone has their own project. For instance, FemiOne has her own project called miss Confidence which is coming soon. She will be reaching out to girls and talking to them about being confident and such. We are like a family; we consult each other and spend time together. There is me, avril,RichMavoko and OwagoOnyiro. We recently launched a dj unit known as Empire Djs. The family keeps growing.
Chaxy: Is Kenzo a part of Kaka Empire?
King Kaka: There is a branch of Kaka Empire Known as Kaka Management. This is like an agency that can work with anybody and Kenzo is part of this.
Chaxy: More on Kaka Empire, let’s talk about upcoming artists like FemiOne, do you offer anything else like mentorship to these artists or is it just about the music?
King Kaka: there is definitely more. Our slogan is, ‘we don’t make music, we make history’. We ensure they know what they are getting themselves into and we make sure our artists are well informed.
Chaxy: What does it take to join Kaka Empire?
King Kaka: I am glad I am on radio to be able to answer that question. Since Kaka Empire is still growing, I want to put this out there clearly. When we sign an artist that means we are investing in them, recording and video shoots. We have a budget that we have every year which stipulates what we can do for an artist in a given year. This budget is planned at the beginning of the year so we just can’t sign an artist randomly. It is not really an open door because we have to plan for each artist. As for now we can only manage the ones we have already signed but when a window of opportunity presents itself, we have shortlisted people to consider. We are already in talks with one of the biggest artists in Kenya so when that opportunity presents itself, we will consider them. This goes out to all upcoming, or rather growing artists. The mere fact that they were courageous enough to say that they have something going on in social media means they are somewhere. I will say it as it is, stop being lazy. There is no way you can claim lyrical prowess and say you have no studio money. That is just downright lazy. Prioritize your music the same way you prioritize other things like buying airtime. Show us what you’ve got.
Chaxy: I believe in persistence and talking to people. If you have not approached a producer and they had shut you out you are just lazy.
King Kaka: I believe you should be ready to die with you dream. Give it your all. If you believe that this is your talent don’t do anything else. Don’t go to that construction site tomorrow.
Chaxy: Plus nowadays there is social media and other avenues like email it’s no longer that hard to get your music out there
King kaka: That’s true. I believe I am a testimony. I had recorded 22 songs before I released my first song. I was afraid because I thought that radio and TV stations would not play my songs. I tried giving out my CD,those days we used to burn CDs and take them to radio stations. So what I did, I went and dropped my CD with my song Jam Nakam. After a month no one was playing the song, I was a bit discouraged but I did not stop at that. I took my CDs to matatus and all of a sudden Jam Nakam was playing all over.it was also about that time that Facebook was becoming the in thing so I went for a photo shoot and pushed the song via Facebook. Three weeks later, I got my first gig for 10k. The guy did not even know my name but he knew my song, I was so damn happy.
Chaxy: So King Kaka, you went to Tanzania. Who knew you had such a big following there?
King Kaka: I honestly don’t know how that following came to be that huge but I’m happy about it. In fact I have a concert there in December called Mr. Tanzania. I will be the main act alongside other Tanzanian. I am also dropping a video soon with a Tanzanian artist who I shall not disclose.
Chaxy: Could it be Profesa Jay?just a wild guess.
King kaka: that’s it..I want you to keep guessing. For now I shall not disclose anything. Tanzania is huge. I remember when I did Dodoma, every presenter who interviewed me though I came from Dodoma which is not the case. I had a girlfriend who lived there, that’s all.
Chaxy: so that was a true story?
King Kaka: Very much so. In fact, Dodoma 2 is dropping soon. Damn I got so many songs!
Chaxy: (laughs) I see you. Back to back huh?
King Kaka (Laughs) I’m just awesome like that. ‘Ki Whiz Khalifa’. It’s entertainment. I believe that if you have the content, why keep it to yourself? Record and let your fans enjoy it. It’s all for the fans and also the passion I have for it. The good thing with Tanzania is they are super loyal, it’s very beautiful. If you tell them that you have a show tomorrow, be sure they will show up. That’s why I have been up and down Kenya and Tanzania. I will also take some Kenyan artists with me to the Mr. Tanzania concert. It will be a Kenyan-affair.
Chaxy: How many collabos did you bag in Tanzania?
King Kaka: I really can’t disclose that but I worked with top producers. There is a studio called The Industry,Nahreel,Dunga( the guy who produced Matonya’s Anita) ,T-Touch,B’Hitz,MarcoChali just to name a few. When I landed, they started hitting me up and we did some good work together.
Chaxy: wait, was this about getting your music produced by Tanzanian producers or incorporating Tanzanian artists into your music?
King Kaka: it was about both. I had numerous requests from them so when I went there for business I thought, why not? Lets do it!
Chaxy: Talking of production? How much weight do you give your production?
King Kaka: I am very particular on my sound because my style of music is different. For now iam working very closely with Cedo. Big shout out to him. He understands me and he is very talented. He did promised land, dandia, baadaye and ugali. Totally different songs. Plus he knows the quality of sound. He is the same guy who mixed and mastered my album despite working with 9 other producers ,he did the final touch.
Chaxy: do you find it difficult to push and promote all this music that you are doing back to back?
King Kaka: What I do is I push it the much I can. I know I have loyal fans who will look for my music .they know exactly what I’m doing and where I am doing it.
Chaxy: talking about that, what happened to the deal with Roberto of the Amarulah fame?
King Kaka: I was so privileged to work with Roberto. We did a song called ‘slow down’, in fact we already shot the video.
Chaxy: The other day I saw you with a red eye on IG
King Kaka: (laughs) I will sleep when I die,what’s the rush? I have so many projects running; I’m looking for a sequel to release them. I will start something called ‘The Countdown’. I’m not going to reveal where we will start from but it will be there. It will be similar to what I did last year, 6 videos in 6 months from July 1st .Never been done before. We don’t make music we make history. I try to accommodate all my fans through giving them different music. I believe my music is like shoes, if it fits, put it on.
Chaxy: people all over the world are starting to notice the hip hop industry in the 254. What is your take on beef in the industry? Are you beefing with anybody?
King Kaka: (laughs) I’m a vegetarian. But it dependson the beef. If it has ratings capitalize on it like 50 cent and jah rule. Though I say if you cross my line, that’s it I will fire back so far, no one has crossed my line.
Chaxy: Are you taking shots at any specific person in your song ‘kwa kichinjio’?
King Kaka: I took shots at so many people. There is a time a lot of people were coming for my blood. Journalists were twisting my story and artists were namedropping me so I called up a producer, Jack. He gave me a beat and recorded the song. It topped charts in no time and stayed there for there months.people did not know that side of me existed. Nowadays I go for meetings with big corporates and we make deals.
Chaxy: there has been a lot of tension in our Kenyan music industry, which side are you on?
King Kaka: I am on the side that plays and supports Kenyan music.
Chaxy: MSCK and PRISk are you in either of those?
King Kaka: yeah I was a top earner in MCSK
Chaxy: do you feel like you are getting worthy returns?
King Kaka: let your passion drive you. The money will come in later.
Chaxy: since you are pro play KE,do you listen to non Kenyan music?
King Kaka: of course I do, you have to know what the others are doing. On that note, my track with Chris Brown and wycliff is coming soon!
Chaxy: a big shout out to you for being so vocal about promoting Kenyan music at the end of the day it’s our responsibility to grow our industry. So I think its time for the countdown..how do we do it?
King kaka: I would like to talk about a couple of things before that. There is the Kaka Empire Tournament. It’s going to happen on the last Thursday and Friday of this month. We are going to mentor kids who are under 15 and the on the next day there will be the foot ball tournament.it will be happening whenever schools are closed
Chaxy: who qualifies for the Kaka Empire and the Youth fund?
King Kaka: we have already selected the teams for the first edition. We have teams from Ololoo in Kaloleni where I was born and bred, there is one from Mathare, another one from ShauriMoyo andOkongo. They are going to play and the winner gets some prize money ,medals and uniforms. The best thing is that the two best players get a scholarship. We are trying to get the culture running and I know we will get more sponsors with time. Right now, it’s just Kaka Empire and the youth Fund.
Chaxy: Is that the same tournament you were with Gkon and RapDamu?
King Kaka: No that is another team called Unfit Football club. We are pretty good Harambee stars even noticed us.
Chaxy: What other Charity projects are you involved in?
King Kaka: There are so many things we are doing, from Ugali movement, to drinks campaign where by every month we visit children’s homes. If you want to join just follow me on IG and get details whenever I talk about them. Other artists also have projects running like Avril,FemiOne, Owago, etc. we are trying to build an industry where our artists can be respected brands and they can make an impact on society. That is the main key of Kaka Empire, to create growth. You know when I say let’s promote Kenyan music I don’t mean that you should just play my music, just play all Kenyan artists.
Chaxy: So culture week is coming up and King Kaka is coming through.
King Kaka: nko ndani kama thong!
Chaxy: So what should we expect from King Kaka?
King Kaka: There is the Countdown, Mr. Tanzania, and there is a project in December called The Kings Arena. It will be Epic. The first of a kind in Kenya. Mark that name.
Chaxy: Thanks for coming through for this.
King Kaka: Big up to the K.U fam. I’m so grateful I have fans here. The first time I came here I was Chiwawa’s back up artist. The love is amazing. There is something I’m introducing,tune in to my instagram, Facebook and twitter page.
Chaxy: There is also the talk to Kaka from 3:00 pm.
King Kaka: It’s from 3-5 pm. The number will be provided a few minutes to 3. I’m building an army and I want you to join me!
King Kaka Social media contacts:
Instagram: The King Kaka
Facebook: Rabbit King Kaka
And the countdown continues.
For more of this and other great interviews tune in to KU FM Drive every day from 4-&p.m Hosted by @ThatGuyChaxy.