I recently randomly bumped Abbas Kubaff who I reckon is one of Kenya’s most talented and unfortunately also most under-appreciated hip hop artiste.
Chatted with him briefly and I was pleasantly surprised at his gentlemanly demeanor and eloquence in the Queen’s English. His height and piercing eyes give him presence and he struck me as a man with a plan and not your, run-of-the-mill flaky Kenyan ‘celeb’.
A day after our chat I reckoned I could share the info with my readers. I asked Abbas if that was okay and he consented.
Here is how our chat went down:
Moderate: What’s up Abbas? Apart from Tokelezea you have been quiet. Why?
Abbas: It is all about strategy. At times you have to seat back, survey and then strike with a bang.
Moderate: What have you been working on?
Abbas: My album. Kaboom! It will be released sometime in April.
Moderate: Big launch?
Abbas: I will have a video launch of Tokelezea on 24th March at Skylux. Come through.
Abbas: Yes, once album is out I will all over the place doing gigs. If things go according to plan I will also be going for my annual German tour most likely in summer of 2012.
Moderate: Let’s go back in time. The original K-South had you, Bamboo and the other tall guy. What happened?
Abbas: The tall guy was my bro, KC. He took a break from the game. He is in South Africa. Bamboo is in the States. I am in Kenya. We are all doing out thing. Maybe one day K-South shall be back.
Moderate: Who do you consider your competition in Kenya? Nonini, Jua Kali, Octophizzo?
Abbas: Nonini and Jua Kali do not do hip hop. Octo is my fan, he cannot be competition. I do not look at local. I am international. Hmmm..maybe Bamboo.
Moderate: Speaking of Bamboo, when is he coming back to Kenya?
Abbas: I honestly do not know. But I have worked with him on my upcoming album.
Moderate: Chantelle. A one hit wonder?
Abbas: Haha! You guys will be shocked. Chantelle is a good artiste which is why I have featured her in my album. She is currently working on her album which I am featured. Same thing for Chiwawa’s album. So Kenyans should look out for my album, Chantelle’s album and Chiwawa’s. All are coming soon.
Moderate: Kenyan media, asset or liability?
Abbas: I am yet to come across a real hip hop journalist, one who understands the hip hop life and culture and seeks to grow not to destroy artistes. So I try my best to keep off the media.
Moderate: Does music pay your bills?
Abbas: Yes! I may not perform a lot in Kenya but I do perform a lot abroad. Out there guys are real hip hop heads. They will pay for your concert and they will buy your CDs. I get royalties from abroad every other month.
Moderate: How many years in the game?
Abbas: Seventeen years! In context, someone born when I started in 1995, is now in Form Three.
Moderate: You have gone by several stage names: Jerry Doobiez, Doobiez, Abbas, Abbas Kubaff. What is your real name?
Abbas: Haha! (he pauses) Andrew Kabiru.
Moderate: Thanks for your time. All the best!
GOD BLESS KENYA!