In 1992, the historical UDASA Hall at The University Of Dar-es-salaam, witnessed the beginning of the revolution. A young and skinny man approached the microphones with a quiet air of authority, and yet of rare warmth. He introduced himself as Nigga Jay. It was his first live performance on stage before a “live” audience.
Fortunately or unfortunately for him, his first live audience comprised of scholars. While they could be tolerant as Jesus, given a reason, hell could easily break loose. I bet you “Mr.Punch” was in attendance. It could easily turn to be a date with King Kong!
Even though scholars are known to be in the “know” for almost everything, that evening was different. Only Nigga Jay and his friend Killa B knew that hidden piece of the puzzle. Nigga Jay was making a debut. In the eyes of a curious and “let’s wait and see” audience, he carried himself with confidence of a healthy young man who has never been hurt. He had the confidence level of a lion although deep inside, he was nervous like a pre-teen fella who just woke up in the morning to find his bed sheets wet!
He was an upcoming artist with unbelievable talent. He was an underground artist with a vividly inventive mind. On that stage at UDASA, when the microphones were turned on, he proved to be the new wizard of “tongue twist” the style he had adopted from US based Rap/Hip Hop groups such as Run DMC and Public Enemy.
Few seconds after he started, there was no movement, not even the whisper of a sound. It was amazing. At such a young age, he was like a teacher you don’t often get to see. When you see him, it’s going down. When the show ended, scholars with curious minds, satisfied and overly excited approached him. He was their new “subject”. How in the world do you manage to do that? He was climbing the ladder directing to big-players club.
If everything started at the “Hill”, where academic achievements can earn you additional letters before your name [Dr.Prof etc], its no big surprise that years later he earned himself the stage name; Professor Jay. His title, however, came didn’t come from the “hill”. His came from his fans after seeing his vividly inventive mind and natural given talent as a lyrical genius.
Before he adapted “Professorship” title, he was, as I mentioned earlier, Nigga Jay. Then his fans [and himself] gave him “street baptism” with names such as Jay Wa Mitulinga, Mti Mkavu, Heavy Weight MC, Daddy, Mchawi Wa Rhymes, MC Shupavu, Mr.President, Jiizeh, Mr.Red Carpet, Tough Wallet, Jay Tunakuzimia, Sauti ya Hela…the list goes on and on.
All those names followed the name his parents [Mzee Leonard Steven Haule and Late Mama Rose Majanjara] gave him when he was born on 29th December 1975. They called him Joseph Leonard Haule. He was to be educated at Ukonga Primary School, Kigurunyembe Secondary School [Morogoro] and Lutengano High School [Mbeya].
At all levels of school, Professor Jay was a friend everyone wanted to have in their circles. He had [and still has] a striking exotic quality people were attracted to. He would make people laugh and smile. In fact, a lot of people thought he was going to be a stand-up comedian. He gives credits to his schooling years as places where he honed his writing and rapping skills. According to him, school gave him sheer organizational muscles especially on power of words. A typical success type.
After school, Professor Jay [still Nigga Jay] knew he wanted to be an artist [a musician]. Back to the city, utterly likable and utterly competent, he thought of starting the “movement” with a winning team. Drums sounds better in pairs.
Between late 1994 and early1995, with his easy style and collegial, he joined Hard Blasterz Crew [HBC] the hip-hop group based in East Upanga [a well to do neighborhood then]. It occurred that Professor joined HBC at the right time. Three of original members of HBC [Frank Korassa,Ngida and Tough Jam] had left the group for US for further studies [and life]. HBC was left with Big Willy and Terry [Fanani]. They needed someone to energize the group that was already known to be one of the best in East Africa. Nigga Jay was the right choice.
Even before joining HBC, Professor had written a lot of songs. HBC wanted to make an album. So his written materials came handy. But do they start writing new stuff or tap into what Professor Jay had it on paper? The logical answer was almost obvious. They could use some of his materials.
The idea of using Professor’s written materials, however, wasn’t easily accepted. The argument was, how could a newcomer become almost the “king” of verses? The strangeness was, therefore, somehow threatening. You have to know by that time, HBC was regarded as the best Hip-Hop group in Tanzania and beyond. That title and emblem stayed on for years and got even better when Professor came aboard.
They settled to include some of the songs he had written. These were likes of Mamsap, Eeh Mola, Kubwa Kuliko and Chemsha Bongo. The album was given the title, Funga Kazi. A young producer, Prof. Ludigo, who had just come back home from Philadelphia, was to take charge of their first album. He played a big role in convincing Big Willy and Fanani to use or include some verses that Professor Jay had written. Ludigo saw something unique in Nigga Jay. We know now, he was right
In the process, they managed to take out some of his original written verses in most other songs. However, they couldn’t alter Chemsha Bongo because it was one man’s tale of his rise and fall. It was, therefore, decided that Chemsha Bongo would make it in the album and Professor will get to do it almost as a solo career.
That decision to let allow Nigga Jay to record Chemsha Bongo was a game changer. The revolution started from there. It brought fame and money to HBC but also acted as a breakthrough bridge between the older generation that had regarded Rap/Hip-Hop songs and artists as part of hooliganism and gangsters of new generation.
Within few days after Chemsha Bongo went on air through radio stations, the perception of new generation music changed. Finally, there was a song from younger generation that could make sense. Families could listen together without anyone’s heart racing faster waiting for “bleep” moment or letting an elephant in the room. The times when parents and their kids looked at each warily like condemned criminals were coming to an end.
Professor Jay doesn’t remember very well when he started writing Chemsha Bongo. It could be 1997. However, he remembers very well where he was when writing the third verse. After daily hustles in the city, Prof was en-route home direction Kimara in a DalaDala. For him hard work and thinking was a 24/7 business. His thoughts were like gliding clouds, fading in and out of the heavens. When the announcement was made they had arrived in Kimara [the outskirts of Dar-es-salaam where his family lived at that time], Chemsha Bongo was now complete.
Jokingly he teases that at that time if he was to be robed, robbers would find no cash but lots of pieces of papers. If anything, they would have found tons of verses. They could turn from being robbers to become performing artists…. May be. During our chitchat for this review and re-release, Professor reminded me [and you] that those paper clips is what brought the revolution that today’s generation is enjoying [and sometimes taking it for granted]
Back to Funga Kazi album project, there was a problem. Even though Prof.Ludigo had come home with lots of beats, he didn’t have a recording studio. Lucky for them and him, Master J welcomed them at MJ Records without a slight or watchful hesitation or misty doubt.
The album Funga Kazi was officially introduced at Summer Jam Festival at Slipway in summer of 1998. The place was parked. There was no way the place could host all the fans who wanted to see HBC. When police tried to turn them away, they revolted. Police and security didn’t stand a chance. Fans pushed the fence in. Hell almost broke loose. Chaos. The love for Hard Blasterz Crew had sturdy genuiness.
As the new millennium was approaching, Chemsha Bongo had revolutionized the “new generation music” industry. Parents started allowing their kids with fewer rules to pursue their dreams of becoming performing artists. Other artists also saw the importance of writing lyrics/songs that made sense across generations. In 1995/1996 HBC won awards including The Best Hip-Hop Group in Tanzania.
With success of Chemsha Bongo and Funga Kazi, Nigga Jay decided to pursue a solo career which started in 2001 with his first solo career album, Machozi, Jasho na Damu. Today, he is regarded as a pioneering Hip-Hop artist who changed the game. Here is the song that started it all like a breeze from a new direction; Chemsha Bongo
Listen And Download Chemsha Bongo here.
Professor Jay will be launching two videos for his latest songs Kipi Sijasikia And Tatu Chafu this weekend. Below are the details. You can follow Professor Jay on Twitter @ProfessorJayTz And Instagram @professorjaytz. You can also visit his official website at www.profesajay.com
As you can imagine, sometimes I receive too many songs for review and publication. While some weeks can go almost “dry”,some weeks are busier than all blue Mondays combined. Every artist wants to release their new materials. In the music business [it applies in many other industries too] timing is crucial. You want to release your stuff when you are almost guaranteed to grab people’s attention. That goes along with a silent prayer like the one you give or should give the moment you take a seat at church. In your silent prayer you should ask for calmness into the world. No calamity or no one famous than you passes away or create anything more sensational than your new music. Therefore, I understand [and not complaining] why some weeks are heavier than others.
One of the new releases I received last week and I couldn’t post [You know I have a 9-5 equation] came from Anna Peter [stage name Anapita], a radio presenter who has tapped stage performance and doing some excellent work. In her new song, Garasa, Anna Peter decided to work with Barnaba one of the best vocalists in the country. Barnaba is also a good song writer and arranger.
The song Garasa is another love themed song. Its different though…Take A Listen
His known “dark” side is being violent. However, you can hardly deny the fact that he has a unique flow and mastery to the art of Hip-Hop. I am talking about Chid Benz [Mtoto wa Ilala]. From the days when he shot to fame with Dar Stand Up, Chid has remained one of the artists who rarely make a turn into wrong hood.
Here is his new track titled Mpaka Kuchee featuring Diamond Platinumz and AY who I recently chatted with him and released one of the songs from his early days. Listen Up…
Bushoke is one of the most naturally gifted vocalist of this generation [in Tanzania and East Africa-good to be specific]. Even with such a gifted voice and coming from a family of artists [his Dad is Max Bushoke-one of the earlier generation great vocalists] he can’t claim to have been very lucky. His career so far has had twists and turns. There was success that came from his hit song Barua. Then he fell off…drifted like a bus meandering through mountains in deep Chile. Substance Abuse became part of his ordeal.
I am therefore glad to see him bouncing back. His voice is definitely one thing of which music fans across the nation have missed. The new song is titled Bwagamoyo. For some of you not familiar with Tanzania, Bagamoyo is a small town about 75 Kilometres from Dar-es-salaam on the coast of Indian Ocean. It is said, Bagamoyo is a place where you can go relax and put your mind to rest. The song connects the place and image of love where Bushoke announces to rest his mind[love] on someone. Listen
The last time these two collaborated in a hit song [ to the best of my knowledge] is when they remixed Mzee Wa Busara. That work followed long time rumors that these two didn’t see eye to eye. They had a “beef” for a while. It became almost a street war for these two popular artists hailing from Temeke in Dar-es-salaam, the neighborhood that is known to be “tough land”. Mzee Wa Busara collaboration settled whatever “beef” they had. They proved to be grown ups who wouldn’t depend or live with grudges forever.
Years later, these two are back in studio-together. They are actually rumored to be making a collaborative album. I can’t confirm that. However, if those rumors have truth element in it, the proof could be from this single. It is titled Mungu Ndio Anapanga produced by Duppy at Uprise Music.
Listen Up and share. There is a good feeling in sharing. If you feel down[hey we all have fading days]…send someone this song. It’s a good song and a good message. Enjoy
Last week we made a promise that we have to honor. Dayna Nyange was dropping a video for her latest single, I Do. The video features Tanzania’s rep in the Big Brother Africa. Call him Nando. Here is the video
As the world was welcoming the new millennium with illusion global threat of Y2K, the east African nation of Tanzania was also going through its own share of changes. The scene resembled of a man standing in the middle of a burning lake of himself, unable to escape with time running out faster than a rocket.
The country had lost her founding father, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere a year earlier. Everyone was devastated and worried. The future of the nation without him was certain but doubtful. It seemed like the engines for the country had suddenly gone off. Darkness had fallen! Dar-es-salaam, in particular, was then a city under a smutty darkness.
Five years earlier , the first multi-party elections had taken place. The seasoned journalist and diplomat, Benjamin William Mkapa had taken the oath with muted promises of changing the economical gateways. He asked everyone to tighten his or her belt. He had a daunting task of changing the sickening sensation of life plunging downward that had occupied the minds of millions of Tanzanians.
Benjamin Mkapa’s economical policies [under the wings of his party-CCM] were not clearly understood. Few people, to this date, have grasped well what he wanted to do. All I know is; he wanted the country to be self-reliant. Mkapa thought [and I agree with him] that for a country as wealthy as Tanzania to be like a poor and lonesome global peddler is ridiculous.
People who had lots of money during the tenure of the second President of the United Republic, Ali Hassan Mwinyi [Mzee Ruksa], suddenly were broke. Money was simply not available and jobs weren’t visible. They were trying times that got nicknamed “ukapa”. People who had felt delicious and were able to laugh at practically anything during the Mzee Ruksa era were no longer laughing. Their living quarters suddenly had somber moments close to funeral homes.
In the midst of all that, a young man with a wide boyish smile had taken a journey from the nearby city of Morogoro to Dar-es-salaam. Unlike his many trips to the “big city” before in the 90s, this time he wasn’t going to visit. He was determined like a brave soldier to realize his dreams. He wanted to conquer the city [and the nation] not just an artist but also a great artist. From the distance, he had formed a vision to become a pioneer in how Tanzania’s music can be business mixed with pleasure. That boy with a boyish smile and charm is whom we know today as AY although he still answers to his real name, Ambwene Yessayah.
Before he boarded those fast moving mini-buses [Toyota Coasters] to Dar-es-salaam, he had all signs of fears and anxiety. You could understand him. Dar is a big city. It’s the city that thrives on its rough-edged traditions. No wonder it first adopted the nickname “Bongo” before the whole country became known for the same name. He had decided to conquer the fear of the unknown head-on.
Apart from few relatives in Dar-es-salaam, he personally knew and was in close contacts with very few people. Lucky for him, he had lived in many cities and towns in Tanzania. His parents were civil servants and according to Nyerere’s Ujamaa na Kujitegemea policies, people were moved from coast to coast in the name of efficiency and integration. Him having lived in many regions of Tanzania would become an “asset” for him in years to come. He found himself able to relate well with anyone across the nation. Lots of regions can claim him being their “homeboy”.
In Dar he had maintained close contact with two friends whom he had gone to school with in central and midlands Tanzania. These were Snare and Buff G with whom later they would form one of the most talented music “gang”; The East Coast Team. That is where he met Hamisi Mwinjuma [MwanaFA] who would become his best friend and music collaborator todate.
These friends officially welcomed him in the city that had engines in its blood. As he later on watched trains chuffed out in their clouds of smoke and steam, he became more confident that his dreams wouldn’t disappear as a smoke. He firstly settled in Upanga, the neighborhood that was known to harbor the wealthy and famous. By then, Upanga was one of the most desirable “hoods” in the city.
For AY and his friends, Upanga was just like any other “hood”. They were broke. The statutes and concrete benches meant nothing than decorations. Daring to be unique was in their vocabularies but it was muted.
If you thought Ali Kiba’s silence for over two years would throw him out of the game, it’s about time you dare to think differently. That is also applies if your first reaction after was something like, “Ooh Yeah He Is Back”. Like a dream attacked by common sense, I want to remind you something; he hadn’t gone anywhere!!
His silence, therefore, can now be interpreted as someone who didn’t want to be just sure but rather solidly sure. As the enthusiasm was building among his fans [the most important commodity any artist could have] he was counting hours in studio with Man Water perfecting what you are about to hear. That went with anxious search for the meaning behind words to make sensible lyrics.
During recording and rehearsal breaks, he was also developing his game plan. He wanted not to just survive as an artist but rather thrive! He didn’t want to succumb to the industry’s pressure of releasing songs back to back hoping somewhere in the middle one track goes “viral” in clubs etc
Like any other business out there, music industry has had to adapt to the rapidly changing world. As an artist, when fans are waiting [and even add a bit of pressure on you] it is easy to succumb and push out what might end up being your “career suicide”. You have to learn to make music that offers both immediate enjoyment and long-term pleasure. That is how legends are made.
As they say, stay in touch and you’ll stay in business. Kiba did that. He kept his fans alive and active through social networks accounts he maintains. In the world of fastest information sharing tools such as social networks, Kiba was also aware that he has tough head-to-head competition. African music is changing.
He heard it all. The purported “beef” with other artists. The disses. He, however, decided to remain professional and let his music reign and hope that history will judge him according to his artistic works and not how many times the tabloids used his name and story to dull the cutting edge of other folks’ loneliness. Instead of be like someone like a loaded dueling pistol with a hair-trigger temper, he remained cool as a judge.
On the other hand, he knew his talent means one important thing; the door of opportunity is unbelievably wide. But since, it takes two to tango, he is hereby releasing not one but two brand new tracks. They are titled Mwana & Kimasomaso. I am hereby presenting them. Now, don’t be like a decent man in the wrong job. Be social. Share the news. Therse releases are powered and brought to you through www.mkito.com[ The more humane way of sharing music in Tanzania]. Preview and Download! Now before you can download, you will be asked to create an account. Please do. Your favorite artists gets paid when you support their music by downloading their songs. It can’t be better than that. FREE for you and SUPPORT YOUR ARTISTS. Let’s Go!
Here is the Song Mwana
Here is the song Kimasomaso...great re-make from Legend Tanzanian artist,The Late Issa Matona
Connect with Ali Kiba on social networks as you see on the photo below!
In life you can either choose to be neutral in nothing or stand up and claim your position. Of course, you have heard it before; a man who stands for nothing can falls for anything. That echoes the importance of standing for something. However, before you decide to stand for something it’s a good idea to make sure you have a confidence level of a lion. Stones and jabs will be thrown to you.
Talking about standing for something, at times when the battles of Bongo Fleva Vs Bongo Hip-Hop might make you want to choose sides. Who is more like a person with a political talent with natural charm and the gift of persuasion and who is is nothing but a fake? Who has a quiet air of authority?
For a while[ and probably forever] these two sides have battled on stages and narrow streets of the land from Zanzibar to the outskirts of Mbeya. Now, before you get your mind twisted, these battles[its good to know] that they are just mere battles and nothing violent has occured [with few exceptions that can't be directly tied to Bongo Fleva Vs Hip Hop]
Here is one examples of the battles crafted in a musical argument between Rappers Stamina and Ney Wa Mitego. Are they sending a jab to Bongo Fleva artists who are arguably doing better than their “rivals”? The song is titled Kwenu Vipi [Literally Translation; How /What About Your Side]
We all have headaches, those of us with who have heads. One of the causes for probably bigger shares of headaches as far as Bongo Hip Hop is concerned is a young rapper known as Young Killer. Okay may be it’s not a King Kong headache….and allow me to defend him. He ain’t other human beings killer but rather a hip-hop battles “killer”.
I don’t remember to have written anything about Young Killer. Therefore, allow me to say I admire his talent. At such a young age, he came out with a tone, style and swagga. It’s like he was born to do what he does. I am still struggling to have a deeper understanding of his lyrics. When I listen to him, at the end I am not left with one clear idea or concept of what he is rapping about. To me, that is a challenge and a problem somehow. You could have a lot of “punch lines” and make no sense.
Young Killer or Msodoki’s age could come to his defense and hope that as he grows, his lyrics will grow too. He will make more sense to folks like me who aren’t easily shattered with confidence alone.
Here is his newest video for his song My Power. Watch