It was not easy getting here: One on one with multitalented Naiboi as he kicks off 'The Problem 'tour

With more than three hits ruling the airwaves and a bunch of lieutenants bouncing to his music beat, singer producer and songwriter Naiboi, is no doubt the man to beat this year. and as BILHA NGARUIYA notes, his ‘Problem’ tour has just started to affirm his popularity across the country

College girls are dying over him, as men just think he is rugged good; for that is the demeanor he showcases, thanks to his trademark hairstyle.

However, to the masses, the hundreds who have made him king by accepting his music beat that has almost all the top artistes in Nairobi trooping to his Pacho Music stable, Rapdamu, now renamed Naiboi, is the new artiste to beat.

You must be doing something worthwhile to have three songs topping music charts and winning accolades both home and away. It takes genius to create a new sound in town churning hit singles such as Gudi Gudi, Welle Welle, Baadaye and now, Problem, the new anthem every Pulser is jamming to.

“It was not easy to get here,” he says, his eyes gauged with nostalgia as he tells of his humble beginnings.

He jumps into the recording booth and says: “We were just a booth. We didn’t have all this space you have here. I didn’t have all these producers I have here. I thank God for Cedo and everyone in the team. Now it shows we have grown. Timmy was the first artiste we worked with.

It took us a long time to get Welle Welle out there. Everlast took the shortest time to break,” Naiboi says before setting his eyes on the Pulse Music Video awards (PMVAs) haul of trophies they won last December.

From Rapdamu to Pacho

Naiboi, who was formerly called Rapdamu, is a Kenyan record producer, singer-songwriter, musician, founder and current CEO of Pacho Entertainment. He developed his passion for music at a young age and later on decided to pursue it.

Pursuing music proved to be an expensive venture so he decided to start his own studio and that gave birth to Pacho Records. Today, he has produced music for leading stars like Roberto, Kaka, Avril, Sanaipei Tande, Frasha, Kenrazy, Timmy T-Dat and Wyre just to name a few.

His productions are distinct as each has a deep bassline, perfectly complemented with snappy short kicks and lazy snares.

Though he has won awards before as an artiste, his official breakthrough was in 2014 for his production on the smash hit Welle Welle, which put both him, Pacho entertainment and his long time artiste Timmy T-Dat on the local music map.

In 2016 Naiboi was featured on two songs namely Gudi Gudi and Tingika, which won the awards for both Breakthrough Video and New Artist category at the PMVAs.

His latest release, Problem, is currently the top song on major charts and is on high rotation in all the stations. This, coupled with Gudi Gudi and his other songs, have made for a great performance during his shows.

When asked how it felt to get the recognition he is getting now, he breaks into an infectious smile that spreads to his eyes and says: “Kwani boss iko nini? It’s about time!”

That has been his tag line for days.

New project with Fuse

“We heard Fuse was coming to the country for a show and I wanted to work with him so my boy Innocent made it happen. After Fuse landed in the country, he introduced me to the management and they came by the studio and listened to some of the stuff I had recorded and he insisted on jumping in on Too Much, one of my latest release,” says the music genius.

He points out Fuse for good working ethic as he jokes that he (Fuse) is such a funny guy, they barely slept that night of the recording as they put their all into the project in the available time.

Since, they have been looking forward to doing more projects, including the road tour that Naiboi kicks off this week.

On the road tour

The Problem tour is targeting campuses and clubs and together with his ‘gang’ of stars, Naiboi is ready to shake up Kenya’s major towns. They will be visiting Kisumu, Eldoret and Thika among other towns.

“The energy is infectious. You can never be ready for the tyranny that takes over. Traveling with Everlast is fun. Gudi Gudi is the ultimate party song. I cannot wait to get to Busia next week with Everlast and do the damage,” he teases.

Remaining at the top

Not many believed that Rapdamu would one day rule the waves as one of Kenya’s biggest artistes. His initial hits such as Hey Mama (2013) only received minimal attention and most of his collabos such as Kuthibu (featuring Frasha), Down Low (featuring Esizo) and Friday Fever (featuring Cannibal) only helped to make his collabo mates big.

“It takes discipline, diligence and hard work to be at the top. Once you get there, you must have a plan, be distinct, and cut a niche for yourself. You just have to be different and ahead of time to beat your competition. It is not so much about competition than it is about knowing exactly where you are going,” he concludes.