64HIPHOP caught up with one of Kenya’s newest hiphop act, Romi Swahili during his journey and tour of his latest album ‘Knowledge Na Mashairi’. Some of the singles are already hitting the airwaves with the likes of ‘Back Against The Wall’ becoming a banger in the 254.
In a nutshell, tell us about Romi Swahili
Romi Swahili is an independent Performing Artist, Rapper and Spoken Word Poet leading the listener deeper and deeper to KeHipHop Culture.
I have not always considered myself a poet or rapper but a lover of art in all its manifestations. Besides, appellation belongs to honored individuals.
How and when did you begin your career?
Began as a free styling Mc in 2009 after meeting one Noxious Mashairi. It was not later in 2010 that I recorded my first experimental album Titled Kurasa.
Ever since I have recorded a lot stuff that has been taken for good rap songs and poetry.
Where does your strength lie in hiphop?
I live in my head man. In this series of tradeoffs called, life I have realized that depending entirely on inspiration doomed my chances of ever telling my version stories and secrets. I can now and finally write about most stuff.
Every now and then, I dabble with Rhythm and Poetry. The two words to describe my style are Rhyming Imagery.
I use a range of techniques to write about issues that concern me and I think that is why my works are described as emotional.
I turn the personal to the universal.
Tell us about your recent album what it entails about.
My new album is about a young man out to cut the cord of the kite.
Rather than doing the usual bubble gum rap, RKNM goes against the grain. It’s a glimpse of the future of KeHip Hop.
With production done entirely in Nakuru and Eldoret, RKNM is a step out of the quarantine zone.
It’s about speaking my mind and reacting to my past experiences as an artist. Let’s call it “rinsing out the foul taste long left in my mouth.”
Are there any challenges you encounter as an artist in your everyday life
None that I cannot handle.
Who are your influences in hiphop?
I love the fact that my new album has ignited conversations with most people raising my name to the same pedestal where legends are placed. I would mention Mau as part of my influences.
I draw my inspiration from life, especially from my random conversations with strangers. It’s where I often stand uncovered to leave words turning circles that run around my mind.
I mess around with rhyme schemes, and you can usually guess what I have been reading or listening to by what I write.
I have lecturers, authors and poets for friends: they are also a great influence.
Not forgetting my 1183 fam, the masters of witty ditty’s and sublime lines.
Do you believe the industry is growing as expected?
I don’t believe in the politics of the music industry. There are so many layers of negative energy and double standards. I’d rather comment on personal growth man.
Call me an old newbie. I am a work in progress trying to explore the depths of my creative energy to get over all the bullshit and talk.
This art is my armor against the slings and arrows of the outrageous circumstance that is the industry.
Any future plans for Romi (next 3 years)
There is no limit to what we can become. I plan on taking the Romi Swahili brand to as far as I can take it.
Najua Sooner or later mtakuja kuimba hili jina. Ata miaka mitatu ni mingi.
Any word of advice to young and upcoming artistes
Work on that skill in all that you do.
Believe in yourself and be authentic.
Keep the faith and take your time with the art.
No one will teach you how much control you have and how much influential you are. It’s a competitive world. I for example used to aspire to change the world someday but I discovered that I already did that in every artistic move in every waking hour. Take persistence for a habit to shine.
Drop your contacts for fans to reach you.
As you enjoy my new album remember to your experience on my fan page;
Fb: Romi Swahili
My site is coming up soon. The train has left the station.
Lastly I quote Omondi Ochuka,”lipa sadaka ya mlumbi”…Pay and support the art by buying original Kenyan Music.
Listen to KeHip Hop and support my pity attempt at getting rid of dependency on money by buying Original KeMusic.