Niasha met up with KayGee 40 recently and had an interview about a few things you may be interested in.
KayGee40 was born August 5, in Mutare, Dangamvura Area C. Even at a tender age, he grew up with a passion for music. Studied Ethnomusicology at Mutare Polytechnic. He has a line of well-received singles on the radio as well as in the streets. His first official single was “Rudo Rwevaviri,” produced by Anonzi Xndr with Nyasha Timbe, which got fair airplay, but that’s when his journey began.
What first got you into music? When my parents divorced I sought a voice. No one was willing to listen to me since everyone was playing the blame game. My mind took me back yo what my dad always did, which was write poetry when he had a heavy heart. So I started writing poetry then I started putting melody to it and the music came out. Since then my life has changed.
Who inspired you to make music? Locally I grew up to Fortune Mparutsa’s music a youngin. He used to come to our house when I was young. When I grew up it was easy, I wanted to be like him. The other person was the rapper, Mau Mau. When I heard one of his self-titled song “Mau Mau”. From that day I was like I gotta be a rapper.
On the international scene i was inspired by Tupac mostly. His music spoke to my heart. I roll a lot with a lot emotion in my music so he was my guy. Lyrically its gotta be the Queensbridge rapper, Nas. Business wise i am inspired by Jay Z i love how he maneuvers in the music business. Production wise Kanye West gets to me because i love samples in my production too.
How would you describe the music that you typically create? First things first I am a hip hop artist before anything else. Sometimes I sing and all but rap and hip hop is the roots.
What is your creative process like? Sometimes when I play guitar or hear a melody I start creating. Some melodies or rhythm take me places and then I start writing but usually it starts with humming and then I think of a concept but I take my time and let the beat talk to me.
Sometimes when i come up with a chorus or rhymes from nowhere and i make a beat or find a beat that matches it. But before i do all that usually i start with a moment of prayer. God is the real creator so i pray for creativity.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? I used to like to collaborate with a lot of big artists but I have lost that appetite too so because most of them have exhausted their sound. I love working with upcoming artists because they are fresh. They are still hungry and they are easy to work with too. Any new voices or producers I am ready to work and let create a better music industry. We are the future
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be? Internationally its either Nas or Lauryn Hill. These two are all about art in their music so it will be nice.
Locally i wouldn’t mind opening for Tariro NeGitare. I’ve done it before and i enjoyed it. She raps and sings too so we good. And her acoustic skills are off the chain
What is one you would give to your fans? The message is thanks for the support I am nothing, you guys. That’s why I made an EP with the same title.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs? Yes i sing in the shower
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career? I will probably be doing anything that is “Arty” still. I will probably in the print media, a tv or radio presenter.
Where have you performed? H.I.F.A. 2015 & 2018, Shoko Festival, Unplugged, Magitare Live, Zim Radio Awards, Zim Hip Hop Awards, Magitare live, Harare Food, and Music Festival, basically I have performed at most notable stages and radio stations.
What are your favorite and least favorite venues? I love performing at Festivals man. H.I.F.A and Shoko Festivals the best I have ever had and opening for Shekhina at Unplugged was pretty huge for me.
My worst performing at is any stage where the room is full of other artists especially hip hop artists who also want to perform because the show wasn’t sold out. It’s the worst feeling ever.
Do you have any upcoming shows? Before this lockdown we had already started “Ndiri Ghetto Tour” after my song featuring Flexxo Mushawarukwa was crowned the best Hip Hop for the year 2019. We are going to presume that as soon as COVID 19 is compatible or as soon as live shows resume. The tour’s me saying thanks to my fans.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? It has impacted music greatly on a positive and negative note too. Fans used to record bars to buy music and musicians would earn big money instantly. Now people can easily go on YouTube and get your music and that’s it.
On the other side of things we can now reach a lot of people at the same time. The whole world is just a click away from knowing your music.
I also thank this whole lockdown thing because it gave birth to virtual performances. Fans can now watch you from the comfort of their homes but only if that can be monetised that would do justice to us, a 50/50 situation.
Internet has done and can do a lot for music if the Zimbabwean knew how much it can do they would try and make it a bit cheap or at least more accessible. Music embodies the culture of a people.
What is your favorite song to perform? I love performing my unreleased music to people and watch their facial expressions. That feeling it’s priceless. Performing something they haven’t heard before in their life it makes me feel great.
Which famous musicians do you admire? I admire Nas a lot. He is a very dope MC lyrically be murders tracks. I like his simplicity in rhymes even though what he will be saying is complicated if you don’t listen properly. He has a very good storytelling ability too. He also minds his own business and his private life is not in the open too. He is chilled but so wavy.
I like Tupac too. His persona and his music too. He wasn’t afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are right and we have the right to be both that’s what being human feels like. The positivity and the negative work hand in hand. He also had a sensitive heart and emotion you can sense it in his music. And that dude was a master in expressing himself. He is my favorite rapper of all time.
Like i also said, i like Jay Z too. His rhyming style and concepts inspire me on a daily on how i can hustle in this day and age. He owns a lot of brands and aspire to do such too.
Loyally i am very much inspired by the ladies, how they run their brand names. I love me some Tariro NeGitare, Cindy and Trae Yung. These guys means business when you’re dealing with them. They are always looking sharp and focused.
The guys who run Magamba (Shoko Festival) Cde Fatso, OutSpoken and their team inspire me too. How they managed to turn the hustle from rap to a lucrative business.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into? I am a bit of a reserved dude now and I don’t go out that much so I don’t have many stories to talk about except when in my early years I guess. I got kicked out of the club for sneaking in with a bottle of my favorite beverage and losing my phone the same night at one of the country’s leading festivals. It was crazy. But I am done with that kind of life now. I am trying to be as productive as I can be and working on self-development. I got to leave a legacy or a mark on this earth. The ultimate goal of being going to heaven after all this is said and done.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? I started off as an English rapper dropping mad bars. That is when Fortune Mparutsa told me to start rapping in Shona. Ever since I did that my life changed.
Tariro NeGitare also told me of how much I am worth it. She reminded me that “do you know you are one of the best out there because you can rap, sing and play guitar at the same time and very few people can do that.” When she said so I was liberated. Sometimes you need some people who were in the industry the longest to tell you things you can’t see
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? I don’t know if it’s changing but we need a revolution when it comes to more radio and television stations. That’s how we grow as an entertainment industry. We have so much potential.
If that is not possible then let the 75% local content be honored. More workshops must be done on how production houses can improve their quality too. Nigeria and South Africa did it so we can do it too.
What’s next for you? I don’t feel comfortable talking about my plans but you might get another EP or an album. I have lots of works I am one too. What I know for sure is you definitely getting a lot of visuals from me this year. Videos for “Panotinhira” with Tension, “Forever With You” featuring Dairai, “Huyai” by Simon Marah featuring Kay Gee 40, and “Jack Sparrow” with Kunta 05