By Njambi Mungai (@njambie)
After watching the newly released video Down Low, we were more than surprised by the Afrikanation Mziki trio seated infront of us.
They had traded their branded merchandised outfits for a clean office look, a far cry from their bad boy image in the video. And the kicker; all three are accountants.
SDE sat down with the three, quite outgoing accountants to learn about their journey from bookkeeping to booking clubs.
SDE: Why Afrikanation Mziki?
AfrikaNation Mziki: We are the music arm of the Afrikanation outfit formed back in college at the Kenya College of Accountancy now KCA University. The outfit had different art forms including martial arts, choreography and acting.
SDE: For a stage name don’t you think it’s abit too long?
Afrikanation Mziki: *laughing* yes we agree. We are thinking of shortening it to something like ANM.
SDE: Now that the name is out of the way, tell us about ANM
ANM: We are a group of three 25-year-old accountants with a deep passion for music comprising of Dennis Githiora, Allan Ochoro and Eustace Mweri. While Dennis and Allan are rappers, Mweri does more of hyping and looking good since he is a model.
Our starting point was hiphop back in campus and even after campus as is evidenced in our Mara Io and Baby Boo tracks. We have however started incorporating Kapuka and Genge into our music as you can see in Down Low.
SDE: Why the change in music from hiphop?
ANM: To be honest, hip hop is not particularly Kenyan music and most of us artistes try to ape too much of the hiphop culture from the states. Yet hiphop from them is their own sound, inspired by their life experiences. Kenya on the other hand needs to develop its own hiphop sound; a sound that would be influenced by our very own Kapuka, Genge and other local sounds.
We are therefore looking to localize our music the best way we know how.
SDE: With the Khaligraph release RIP Competition and Octopizzo’s LDPC album launch, we got to ask, who is the illest?
ANM: Khaligraph. No question. They are on totally different levels.
SDE: Do you think your music is paying for itself?
ANM: Since we are starting off, we have to pay for our music from our pockets. The only real source of revenue is from performances. We also merchandise our brand to generate revenue. But we are real enough to know that it will take a while before our music starts generating that much money.
SDE: With the new contract between Safaricom and MCSK, do you think there is finally hope for artistes living off their music.
ANM: We hope so. The challenge of transparency with the Collective Management Organisation (CMOs) like MCSK, KAMP and PRiSK is still real. If they could make known the criteria they use to distribute royalties, then it would be much easier to get all the artistes on board.
SDE: What should fans expect from ANM in the future?