Daniel Mulei, popularly known as Rankaddah, is causing ripples with his new hit, My Type. He talks to Manuel Ntoyai
Your new hit, My Type, has received a mammoth following. What was the inspiration behind it?
MyType is a dedication to all confident and hard working ladies — those who go an extra mile to make sure everything goes smoothly. Magix Enga did an increadible job with the production as well as Dolls, who was on the director’s seat.
Walk us through your musical journey.
I grew up in Makueni, and found an interest in music at an early age. As young as Class Four, I took part in Group Africa tours, which at the time was the biggest platform for new talent in the country. I battled it out with my peers and emerged winner.
I took it to the next level in high school, always participating in rap contests and topped every rank. It is actually from all these experiences that my stage name, Rankaddah, was coined.
After O Levels, I officially joined the industry, dropping my debut hit, Wia Ni Wia, in 2014. The song was produced by Mtu Kawaida of Yunasi Band, and laid the foundation of who I am today as an artiste. I have to say it wasn’t easy, especially dealing with expenses incurred during production of videos and singles.
After learning the ropes of the game, you released a series of hit music. What’s the secret?
Once I got into music professionally, I took a few months off to understand the dynamics of the game and most importantly, I learnt that timing was evertything.
You have to learn to read the trends before dropping content. Ilori was my second hit produced by Cedo in 2015, then came Tukimalisia — this especially did well on the charts. Tingika was my big break as the magical track was positively received on the streets and airwaves.
Tingika was a massive hit receiving high rotation on media. Tell us about the song and its success story.
Up to now, Tingika is still a mega hit that is accepted and appreciated by masses in clubs, matatus and concerts. The song earned me the New Artiste of the Year title at a local award, and a spot as a curtain raiser to one of the greatest and much respected reggae families in the world; Morgan Heritage. Tingika is a feel-good song that lets you live in the now.
Your style and use of mother tongue is quite endearing.
I use a mixture of Kamba with English and Kiswahili to capture all audiences and also maintain my originality — a style that has so far been my identity in the industry.
This does not mean that I am riggid, but I can also venture into any genre of music except from well, Lingala (laughs). ‘Ulamukamba’ is a tag pseudoname, which I use to identify myself. It simply means yule Mkamba (that Kamba guy) .
Away from music, who is Rankaddah?
I am a single man who is a lover of night life, and is crazy about dancing. I also run a men’s clothing line as a side-hustle that I intend to launch soon into the market.
What would you advise upcoming acts?
Being a competitive market, one has to find their Unique Selling Proposion (USP). Do that and you will be able to cut your niche and fit in your agenda because this is not an easy industry.
It’s not a bed of roses, so anyone who is starting and wants to succeed will have to go an extra mile and put in efforts in order to be heard. Above everything, put God first — He is the only thing that keeps me going.