Abbas and Bamboo, Retracing K-South duo

Retracing K-south
                                                                                           Photo: Courtesy


Abbas and Bamboo burst into the local music industry as the K-South hip-hop group, one among the pioneers of hip hop in Kenya.

At the time, the group composed of three members, Bamboo (Tim Kimani) KC (Abbas’ younger brother) and the artiste then known as Doobeez, now Abbas. Founded in 1995, their name is an abbreviation of Kariobangi South, an estate in Nairobi where they were based.

The group used both English and Swahili in their music as language.
Their debut album Nairobbery was released in 2002 by Samawati Studios and it contained some of their earlier hits like Tabia Mbaya, Tunapenda Zote and War Song.

Also on the album was the track Illektrikk Posse, featuring Zimbabwean rapper Mizchif and Ugandan, then upcoming, artiste Bebe Cool. K-South’s second and final album Nairobizm was released in 2004. One of its most played tracks was Kapuka, which coined Kapuka, an intended derogatory term referring to commercial artistes, as opposed to deeper more social songs.

After the album they left Samawati label due to alleged disputes between them and the producers. Abbas’ brother later left for South Africa leaving the two behind.
The duo also featured on Sitaki, a popular track by Mercy Myra, a Kenyan rhythm and blues female musician who was to later relocate to the United States

— currently back in Kenya and working on a relaunch of her career.

In 2005, the duo disbanded when Bamboo left the group after becoming a devout Christian. He later went back to secular music after a stint in the US before coming back and, again, getting saved and has since concentrated on gospel rap.

Earlier, Bamboo was riding high with his secular solo track Compe while Jerry Doobiez changed his stage name Abass and released album Angabanga in 2006.

Since then, Bamboo has spent the better part of his time in the US where he did some music before returning back to Kenya. On the other hand, Abass has been busy doing collabos with several artistes among them Chantelle, with whom they released Tokelezea chartbuster.

Although critics feel that the duo have been on the low musically, Abbas is quick to refute the claim terming it a strategy.
“At times you have to sit back, survey and then strike with a bang,” he says adding that his album Kaboom released sometime in April last year featuring Bamboo, is doing well, more so abroad.

According to him, he is yet to come across a real hip-hop head, one who understands the hip hop life and culture and seeks to grow not to destroy artistes.

He says although he does not perform a lot in Kenya, he performs 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,” he says.

Back to his personal life, Abass, who has been linked with several female fans got married to rapper Baby Gangsta

— although ten months down the line their marriage was reported to be on the rocks, something that became evident rather fast. The two called it quits and Baby G left for abroad, taking a low profile.

With 17 years in the game' Abass began doing hip hop in 1995, as a high school student. Since then, Andrew Kabiru has undergone several stage names from Jerry Doobiez, Doobiez, Abbas, Abbas Kubaff and now, Abass.