Jacob Solomon, alias Jinku, has been marking a powerful signature with his love for trap music, hip-hop and afro-electronic sounds. He has been working with leaders of Nairobi’s underground scene, such as Karun and Joseph Kiwango. He’s also worked with Willow Smith and just last month, he produced a track for Jojo, writes Ngare Mukiria
What came first, deejaying or producing?
I started out as a DJ, mainly because it was easier to learn the fundamentals, where as production is a labour of love and time and has a lot of technicalities. So the progression from one into the other made sense.
You are part of EA Wave. What are they about and what role do you play?
EA Wave Vybes is a collective of producers each pushing various hybrids of electronic music. The founders are Ukweli, Nu Fvnk, and myself. We were later joined in by Hiribae and Muroe.
Where does Santuri come in?
Santuri is a network of artistes within East Africa. Santuri’s aim is to bridge the gap with traditional contemporary East African music and modern electronic music. As part of the Santuri network, I share music as well as opportunities and collaborations. I also keep an eye on emerging talent within the local scene.
How did you come about working with American star Jojo?
All the credit for that goes to Karun. Ukweli, Nu Fvnk and I were working on her EP (Extended Play). Karun had been corresponding with Jojo who was coming down to Kenya for Africa Nouveau. She organised a studio session with her and the rest is history.
Besides her, who has been your most exciting collaboration yet?
It depends. Each person comes with a different energy and vibe and it is an exploration each time into an artiste’s creative space. I am currently working on a project with Tetu Shani. He has a strictly acoustic background, whereas I come from a strictly electronic background. Finding the middle ground is a puzzling process, but we do enjoy.
Your recent and first EP Amadeyo, what was the inspiration behind it?
Thinking back, Amadeyo had a strong house influence, but also a Caribbean feel. I wanted something that could play in Seychelles and not have the crowd feel awkward. In Seychelles, house music is considered warm-up music, where as dancehall, reggaeton, moombahtoon are peak time genres. Amadeyo’s purpose was to consolidate those worlds.
Will there come a time where we’ll see electronic music fuse mainstream media?
Electronic music is vast, to a large extent most songs played in mainstream media now are electronic in nature, especially pop music. The bubble is only going to grow. My interest is in pushing the boundaries and exploring the unknown.
What advice would you give upcoming producers?
Be original, authentic, consistent, and collaborate with fellow artistes.
What do you love most about being deejaying?
Storytelling. I love sets where I get to lay out an journey from up tempo to down tempo and mix a lot of things in between. When the crowd is with you every step of the way, that’s when the magic happens.
How would you describe trap music?
Trap is a style of hip-hop that has evolved from Atlanta. It’s known for its Aggressive Bass (808) kick, its strong snare and hi hat rolls.