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The heavyweights behind Wasafi’s rapid success

Wasafi record label artiste, Raymond Mwakyusa alias Rayvanny, entertains revellers at the Mombasa Sports Club on December 27, 2018. PHOTO/FILE/NMG.

One might be forgiven to think there never existed other music record labels in Tanzania before Wasafi Classic Baby (WCB).

In 10 short years, WCB has taken over the music industry in East Africa.

Today, whether it’s an algorithm-driven recommendation on YouTube or you are in a matatu, club, wedding, birthday party or relaxing at home, you will probably chance upon a song by Diamond or an artiste under his label.

But who are the individuals whose works, brains and talent have helped shape the success of WCB?

1. Harmonize

Tanzanian singer Harmonize performing at a Nairobi club in 2018. PHOTO/NMG.

Born Rajabu Abdul Kahali, the Bongo Flava musician was once termed Wasafi records golden boy.

He started his music career in 2011, but it was not until he met Diamond Platnumz in 2015 and got signed at WCB that he received international recognition.

The two shared a close relationship until 2019 when Harmonize left the stable after a bitter falling-out.

Harmonize now runs his own music record label titled ‘Konde Music Worldwide’. His immensely famous songs include ‘Kianama’, ‘Aiyola’ and ‘Nishachoka’.

2. Rayvanny

Raymond Shaban Mwakyusa, popularly known as Rayvanny, was the second artiste to be signed under Wasafi.

Raymond Shaban Mwakyusa, popularly known as Rayvanny, with his BET award, PHOTO/COURTESY.

His rise to stardom can be accredited to his skilful lyrical prowess and numerous collaborations that helped put his music on top of the charts.

Some of the artistes he has worked with are Nigerian music producer and singer Patoranking, American rapper Pitbull and Congolese-Swedish musician Mohombi. Rayvanny currently has more than 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube.

3. Mbosso

Mbwana Yusuf Kilungi — better known by his stage name Mbosso — was formerly a member of the popular boy band, Mkubwa na Wanawe Band, which later rebranded to Yamoto Band.

Tanzanian artiste of Mbwana Yusuph alias Mbosso. PHOTO/FILE/NMG.

The group split up in 2017 and Mbosso found a new home for himself at Wasafi Records. Last year, he was awarded a golden plaque for having reached one million subscribers on YouTube.

4. Rich Mavoko

He is probably one of the few artistes who managed to get a deal from Wasafi, but his tenure at the label was short-lived.

Bongo flava artiste Rich Mavoko performing at the Safari Park Hotel. PHOTO/NMG.

Although his career was already established, Mavoko, like any other clever artiste, probably wanted to seize the opportunity to be among the Wasafi elite artistes. Some of the songs he was able to release while at Wasafi include ‘Kokoro’, featuring Diamond Platnumz, and ‘Show Me’, featuring Harmonize.

5. Queen Darleen

Diamond Platnumz’s step-sister ruled the music airwaves even before her illustrious half-brother came to the limelight. She traces her musical journey back to early 2000. However, unlike other singers during that time, she was able to reinvent herself with her music.

Tanzanian musician Mwanajuma Abdul alias Queen Darleen (left) of Wasafi entertains revellers at the Mombasa Sports Club in 2018. PHOTO/FILE/NMG.

6. Lava Lava

With only four years in the industry, Abdul Juma Idd, also known as Lava Lava, is fast rising to become one of the most sought-after bongo artistes, thanks to his fellow musician and boss Diamond Platnumz. His top songs include ‘Tuachane’, ‘Gundu’ and ‘Niuwe’.

Tanzanian artiste Abdul Juma alias Lava Lava (left) entertains revellers at the Mombasa Sports Club during the Wasafi festivals in Mombasa in on December 27, 2018. PHOTO/FILE/NMG.

7. Zuchu

This sassy singer from Zanzibar has proved that she has not come to play. Zuchu is the current breakout under Wasafi Records.

Tanzanian singer Zuhura Othman Soud alias Zuchu. PHOTO/FILE/NMG.

She was awarded a silver play button by YouTube for attaining 100,000 subscribers in a week. Her latest hit song, ‘Sukari’, is still the number one trending song on YouTube, barely a week after it was released.

8. RJ The DJ

Apart from being one of the biggest deejay acts in Tanzania, RJ The DJ is also the official DJ of his cousin Diamond Platnumz. The two are close allies and have managed to build the Wasafi empire to the multimillion-shilling conglomerate it is today. He recently released his first album titled ‘Changes’, which features various artistes from the Wasafi label, including Diamond Platnumz, Rayvanny, Mboso, Zuchu, Jose Chameleon from Uganda and Khaligraph Jones from Kenya.

9. Lizer

Iraju Hamisi Mjege, popularly known as Lizer, is the engine behind all the mega-hit songs from WCB. His meeting with Diamond was not by chance, as he had already established himself as a producer.

Iraju Hamisi Mjege, popularly known as Lizer. He is the engine behind all the mega-hit songs from WCB.

In a past interview, Lizer said Diamond intentionally went looking for him when he was ready to start WCB. Some of the songs under his belt include ‘Jibebe’, ‘Kwangwaru’, ‘Show Me’ and ‘Sukari’.

10. Babu Tale

Tale was among the top individuals at WCB who were involved in big decision-making concerning the welfare of the brand. He doubled up as the record’s official talent manager and also Diamond Platnumz’s manager. He mainly focused on looking after the business affairs of Diamond in Tanzania. However, he recently switched to politics after he was elected Member of Parliament for Morogoro South Constituency on a Chama Cha Mapinduzi ticket.

11. Sallam SK

Sallam is also part of the managerial team handling the affairs of Diamond Platnumz and Wasafi Records. His main role is to handle Diamond’s international business affairs, including tours and concerts outside Tanzania.

 

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