In a country whose music industry is flooded with rap talent, Joh Makini is one of the standouts.
The experienced rapper is one of the veterans of hip hop in Tanzania. He has won numerous awards and has received universal acclaim for his music, specifically his lyricism; the man has the best flow I have heard in a while from East Africa’s musicians, and if you don’t believe me then listen to the song below:
In addition to the above collaboration with AKA, Joh has continued to cross boundaries with mega stars such as Chidinma; and much to our pleasant surprises, she sang in Kiswahili as well. Check it out below:
For all his success, Joh attributes hard work and ambition to consistently being on a very high level musically.
“Every day I remind myself that I have not yet gotten to the level at which I aspire to be. I also don’t like to think that I know everything, so I do my best to be a student and to always learn new ways of improving myself musically”, a much laid back Joh revealed to The Insyder during his interview ahead of the upcoming season of Coke Studio Africa.
Joh has been paired with Nigerian hitmaker Falz The Bahd Guy in what will probably be the biggest performance of them all. Each of them is strongly unique in their music styles, and the exchange of culture and language could prove to be something interesting. Joh promises to teach Falz Kiswahili, with the hope that he too will learn Yoruba from him.
Upon being asked what one moment has been the highlight of his career, Joh gave a very rare answer.
“I’ve had plenty, but I don’t think I have yet reached the peak of my dream. My dream is to ensure that Hip Hop in East Africa has been elevated within Africa and the world over, as well as to change the lives of young men who have been underprivileged and don’t believe in their abilities to change their lives. The young people need to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can always change your life for the better.”
While it is without a doubt that Joh has served as an influence to many, he has his own influences. “Mr. 2 Sugu, Profesa Jay, Kwanza Unit and Xplastaz have provided inspiration to me since I was young.” The Tanzanian hitmaker also added that while we can expect an album soon, there exist challenges within Tanzania concerning driving market demand for an album.
“This happens in Kenya too, right?” he asks.
“We think it’s the whole of East Africa, actually” we add, to which he agrees.
The ‘Don’t Bother’ hitmaker finalized the interview with a word of encouragement for young people who look up to him. “There is nothing impossible in this world. You have to first know yourself, know your purpose, and believe in your ability to achieve that purpose. Finally, pursue that purpose with your entire might, and it will bear fruits.”