Hip-hop artiste SMALLZ LETHAL was recently arrested after releasing a viral song titled I’m Offended that rubbed some political leaders the wrong way. He talks withMANUEL NTOYAI on the issue, his music and future plans.
You have been vocal when it comes to artistes’ welfare. How did you end up here?
I care about people’s welfare in general. I also know for a fact that it’s a trait I got from my father who I have as a mentor.
I have been vocal about artistes because it’s in my line of specialisation and I understand our predicament better.
I have been in the industry for a while and I see injustices that need someone to stand up and speak out about.
What is your controversial song I’m Offendedall about and what thought process was behind it?
It is a social political project that I intended to use to pass a message across our political leadership.
I’m Offended is more of a wake up call to the leaders and in particular, Kisii Governor James Ongwae and his minister for youth and sports.
What’s your main beef with Governor James Ongwae?
My beef is clearly about us—the common people—asking him to be accountable. He is our ‘president’ here.
We need to feel his input as a leader; why do we have stalled projects? He signed a Sh16-billion project back in 2016… Who are the benefactors, since the project hasn’t commenced yet?
Where is the proposed academy he promised youths? Why are our artistes being shunned from county events?
Our roads are in poor state and he wants to take credit for projects funded by the national government.
The county collects hefty taxes from businesses, but there is totally no accountability for the same. That’s why I felt the need to call him out!
Is it true that you were offered money to take the song down?
Yes, I was offered some cash, but I learnt my lesson way before this incident. So, I wouldn’t take down my career for a few shillings.
You’ve also claimed that your life is in danger, are you still getting the threats?
I don’t want to comment on that as the matter is under investigations. I’d rather let the investigators conclude first.
You’ve also been so vocal against Kenya’s Collective Management Organisations on how they run their affairs. Are you happy with the current changes steered by the government?
We have to give the new office time to settle, but I have high hopes in it. It is something (the changes) we artistes have been longing for and all we can do for now is allow the new dispensation some room to prove they can deliver to our expectations.
Why did you give up on the Hip-hop Hookup, a project that gave platform to many upcoming rappers?
We pulled down the curtains on the event because our main sponsor, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya, had pending issues in court.
They withdrew their support, a move that literally grounded the operations. However, we have just taken a break; we will be back.
Have you permanently set up camp in Kisii?
Yes. Charity begins at home, or so they say. This is my kingdom and I have to be here to protect and guide.
Tell us about KRK.
KRK or simply Kisii Rap Kings is a collective of ambitious youth who are talented in different areas ranging from sports, arts and creative design.
What are your immediate plans?
There is always an upcoming project from me man. I am always woke. I have an upcoming album, which is going to be different from my previous works in many aspects. Just watch this space.
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