Feisal Khaemba aka Shukid is a 28-year-old Kenyan rapper and actor, raising the bar of the game by day. He talks with Alfayo Onyango about his rising profile
Why did you decide to return to Kenya from Canada?
Kenya is home and I didn’t come back to pursue music though. I came back and I happened to be a musician. I want to represent my country and my people.
You recently branched out to acting. Tell us about that new found love.
Acting is something I have always been passionate about. I always feel as though it’s linked to music. It’s all about the art and communication, and the ability to take people into another world. I’m still seeking more opportunities to act though. Recently, I got to play the role of a thug on the second season of My Two Wives. Besides acting and music, I’m a voice actor as well.
You have a great collaboration catalogue. Which Kenyan acts do you want to get off your bucket list?
Khaligraph and I happened to be on a cypher together, so I’d say he’s still on the list. Other people I’d love to work with are Nyashinski, 125, Bey T and Scar, just to name a few.
Can you say our hip hop has come of age? Kenyan hip hop has definitely come of age, no doubt about that. The artistes have stepped up their game, a few businessmen have gotten on board, but we still got some more to do. The major shows need to get bigger in terms of attendance, and then the impact will be felt.
Why would a rapper go mainstream while another stays underground yet they are producing content almost in the same lines and in the same era?
For one, there’s the factor of the system we’re in. For the longest time, Kenya has been a ‘one artiste a season’ country. Then there’s also the time factor. When it’s your time, only God can stop the shine.
The game is slowly shaping up though; we’re not yet big, but now you can speak of more than a handful of rappers in the country as far as releasing good music and making moves is concerned.
Kenyan rapper Barak Jacuzzi was attacked in his home by unknown underground rappers. What’s your take on such an incident?
It definitely doesn’t paint a good image. There’s about a handful of investors in our genre of music as it is, so the slightest chance that comes up could easily drive us out the door. It’s cool for a few minutes, but it doesn’t really manifest to anything. As a rapper, I’m not in the business of telling other grown men how to act.
We all know the state of our game and I believe all of us are in it to elevate. Anything that deviates from music and the culture is none of my business. All I can say is you shouldn’t get caught up in the lifestyle for your own good.
Tell us about your record label, ID37.
ID37 Music is something my friends and I started back in college. It’s more of an independent label whose main purpose was to enable us to function. We learned everything we know now on the job. We’re not at the level of signing any artistes as yet.
What is currently dominating your playlist?
Currently, listening to a wide range of African hip hop, from Kenya all the way to South Africa. Simply, a blend of a few common and unknown names. My favourite album right now is Redemption by Jay Rock.
So far, which is your most proud piece of work in your career?
My God Speed EP from 2015 and recently released, Shukid Season. They are available on Boomplay.
What’s next after successfully dropping Shukid Season the album?
I’m more than ready for what the world has to offer. I’m still working on a few visuals and gigs, hopefully I will get into a few boardrooms and secure some bags.