RAPPER IN TOWN: Kenyan hip hop sensation King Kaka is in Uganda to headline the third edition of the MTN Hip-hop awards tonight. The rapper shared with Isaac Ssejjombwe about the hip hop culture in East Africa and bits on his Royalty collabo with Tracy Morgan.
1. Where did the name King Kaka come from?
I get that question all the time. My real name is Kennedy Ombima but ‘Rabbit Kaka Sungura’ was my previous stage name. Over time, I have evolved from a musician to a businessman and now everyone calls me ‘King Kaka’, having dropped the name Sungura which means rabbit.
2. What do you know about Ugandan hip-hop?
Ugandan hip-hop has improved over the years especially with budding talent or what you call ‘the underground talent’. From a Kenyan perspective, I know Navio and The Mith, thanks to their early days in the game as well as regional collabos that have catapulted into the East African hip hop market.
Away from hip-hop, I have many favourite artistes in Uganda, from Chameleone who I have a song with to Navio who I have also worked with. My other favourites include A Pass and Bebe Cool.
3. How different is the hip-hop culture in Kenya?
Just like Ugandan hip-hop, it has been growing over time. From the times of Kalamashaka to Abass and now King Kaka. It has been a tough journey but we are now being recognised in some international awards. For example, I was nominated in the 2017 Afrimma awards which saw me feature Tracy Morgan and Talib Kweli in my album and also an interview at HOT 97 in New York. The industry has new talent that is always challenging the old and therefore one has to keep innovating to remain at the top of their game.
I met Tracy Morgan through my good friend Jorma Christopher Taccone, an American comedian, director and writer from the sketch comedy troupe ‘The Lonely Island’. I am a big fan of Tracy, so when he introduced me, we hit it off and started working together.
4. According to your profile, you juggle so many things; a water business, acting, lecturing, singing and producing. Why not settle for just one or two?
It is indeed a crazy schedule. However, I believe that we have one life to live with so many things to do. I grew up as a creative child who was good in physics, art and poetry, so until now I have grown up mastering many arts at the same time and I am now used to juggling all these.
5. Besides performing, what else will you be doing in Uganda?
For me, this is a work trip. I plan to work with Uganda artistes under the MTN UG Hip Hop Awards and also enjoy my stay here. Uganda is the Pearl of Africa and I look forward to touring some nice places. If there is an opportunity for any collaborations, I am willing to work with any of the artistes.
Reggae vs hip-hop?
Nobody can stop reggae! But seriously though, at the moment Hip Hop has a larger following than reggae in Kenya. We have really grown and I am sure East African Hip hop is about to take over too. It is just a matter of time.
To upcoming hip-hoppers
Firstly, you have to be original. Secondly pray to your God or Allah and finally, do you! All your efforts will not go to waste and you will get to levels you only dream of. So keep moving, keep working!