Choices

I wish I could live from my art. Seems impossible in this corner of the world. For now. Some day maybe. That’d make me so happy.

I’ve been on survival mode for a while. Lost pretty much every tangible item I owned. No biggie. I was prepared for it.

I lost a lot of weight, lots of blood. I collapsed a couple of times during my trips. Life was testing me. I got through it all. Victorious.

It’s not about any god. It’s having faith (in whatever and) in the process. Once you’re 100% in line with your path, it all comes together.

I have never felt this whole my entire life. I have discovered feelings beyond names. I have met incredible artists, amazing people.
I’ll keep doing the best I can to create, produce, promote beautiful arts. Probably not as much as I have for the last past 1 & half year.

Right now I’ve got to get back to employment full time. I got too many debts. Our economy isn’t steady enough to offer part time jobs.
Thank you so much for keeping up with my crazy mind. For accepting me. For loving me. Sorry for being harsh. I got that tough love.

I’m not quitting the arts. How can I? I ain’t even takin a break. I’m just saying time is gonna be a challenge but I’ll rise above.

Life is about choices so I wrote about them and invited a couple of talented artists with whom I share the journey to help me say it better. Remember their names: Weya Viatora, Nganji Arnaud, Dany Beats.

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The Lone Walker

I’m the lone bee in the colony;
Calling out queen bees bad B’s;
Busy getting my own royal jelly;
Jealous friends calling me crazy;

Crazed by the selfishness in this world;
Wordsmith, I forge universes with words;
Worker on strike when I’m not the boss;
Boast too much confidence, it looks like I floss;

Ef losses, I always gain experience;
Experiment on repeat, life’s science;
Signs indicate I’m making the right moves;
Moods may change depending on the moon;

Good thing my boots on the road;
“Rogue” I’ve been called out of control;
“Controversial” coz I always speak my truth;
Troubadour of modern age, the phone’s my booth;

Booksy, witty, artsy, I’m comfy in my skin;
Skip winter games, my brain’s always on, come ski in;
Coms skill better than a PR team;
Priority’s sharing wisdom not getting RT’s;

Artistry’s only way to your heart;
Hard to believe I made this far;
Farther I’ll go to better my soul;
So I that I may bring you more.

#1key

And So We Get Married

Because we’re our own elder sisters and brothers
Watched over by ghost fathers and mothers
We walk in slow mo’ heavy loads on our shoulders 
Hunchback, young blood but old souls holders 
Head down we follow the footsteps of our models, I mean shadows 
Mirrors scare us unless they reflect characters in our favorite shows 
We cram the script as we go
We play by the game as we grow 
“Fake it till you make it” is relationship goals 
If you’ve never faked, cast me thirty six stones 
We force ourselves to smile in public for all the tears that overflow on their own 
Our bellies don’t stomach any more of our groans when we’re alone
Our cheeks take on the role of shock absorbers for our sobs and moans once in our comfort zones
So vulnerable, so lonely, so desperate we bury our heads in our phones 
Searching for what we believe we deserve till what we deserve becomes whatever is available 
Who would have imagined that we’d fall for messengers with no messages
Who would have thought we’d look for our reflections in strangers’ selfie images?
That we’d fall for the fake hair, fake nails, fake hips, fake eyebrows, fake boobs, forced cleavages
For the leased cars, loaned houses, flashy cards, exaggerated accents in unmastered languages 

…and so we get married

We try so hard to make impressions that we become real-life impressionists
Victims of imitations, we even strive to up our favorite protagonists 
From Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, Hillywood to Whateverwood 
We truly become what we consume 
Consumed in our costumes, our customs lose meanings 
And so does everything, even dates are reduced to mere castings 
And the best at acting gets the trophy: the bling bling 
Calling it an engagement ring would be an understatement 
Believe me it’s an achievement 
In fact, the next big thing after a degree 
Or earning enough to lie to ourselves we’re making a living 
The ring is also a relieving answer to the perpetual question of when are we marrying?
Since nobody cares about who, we propose to whoever is already in need of agreeing
It makes us look more advanced than our peers partying in their early twenties like there is no future
It is also a seat at the table with insecure couples in their late thirties catching up with mother nature 
Because soon is gonna be too late to have kids having their features 

…and so we get married

For one day… 
A day we’ve been led to believe is the most important day
Yet in reality it’s the day we spend our savings, and those of our friends’
For the expensive clothes that we’ll never put on again 
To impress uninvited guests who stumbled upon our invite
On a family dusty shelter, on a colleague’s dashboard or on our timeline
On that day we show off a bright smile on the outside while we cringe inside 
Especially when we realize the hired old folks are taking the roles of our parents too far 
Then our partner’s fingers slide between ours suggesting a “relax sweetheart”
Or rather “Relax sweetheart, go with the flow, play your part
Enjoy the show, you already showed your cards” 
You dressed to impress, your tie matching her dress
Is no coincidence, so walk with finesse, smile, don’t stress 
Nobody should guess the mess you bought to yourself 
All must look perfect, there will be a time for retrospect 
But for the moment 
Enjoy the handshakes from random old men
Telling you “Now you’re a man!” because it seems you were a cucumber before the wedding
On the other hand the bride’s being squeezed between the arms of a spinster auntie 
Giving her tips about how to keep you on a leash while she keeps winking at you
So you raise your drink, confused, then it hits you
It’s just a show and in a few hours, everyone will be home 

…and so we get married 

For a visa, for money, for security, for families
For a place to call home, for shared responsibilities
For the orgasms we hope will be regular
For so many reasons and none in particular
But also for beauty, for love or the idea of it
For the fact that we can finally feel
Good, bad, right, wrong, big, small
Happy, sad, high, low, amazing, miserable
Because it takes special people to break our walls
To whom we can open up and allow to touch our soul
To revive the idle child in us long ago put to sleep
To make us believe again in magic, in music, in poetry
To understand the language of the heart
To the possibilities of wandering between the stars 
And planets then take a break on the moon
Before we return to this ground that awaits to be our tomb
I bet your logic is in stitches, “What a Fool!” but emotions are too
Falling in love is trusting the unknown like a butterfly straight from its cocoon
Getting married is skydiving wearing faith as a jumpsuit with no parachute 
After witnessing many crash and still hope the landing will be smooth

…and so we get married 

#1key

Untitled 

My history has no face
Its voice emits on strange waves
An intricate message
Written in a coded language

The enigma machine is idle
Broken or tempered with by rivals?
Silenced? Scaring idols?
What’s a man afraid of idylls?

Take me to a club where Rujindiri creates samples for beats by Dre
Take me to a church where Kagame is the padre
Take me to a mosque where Anta Diop is sheikh
Take me to a time before Misri kings “became” greek

[…to be continued]

#1key

Thank You 

Thank you for your understanding and empathy;

Thank you for sparing the time to read my drafts in a world congested with information;

Thank you for looking for earplugs every time you see a 1key soundcloud link;

Thank you for spending your bundles watching my videos and interviews;

Thank you for being the best marketing team on the planet – you’ve got so much soul;

Thank you for spreading my words even though they may compromise your position from time to time;

Thank you standing up for me and many others;

Thank you for spending your savings on my shows;

Thank you my people for allowing me to be;

Thank you Rwandan diaspora for strengthening me;

Thank you la familia for respecting my choices and giving space for my voice to echo;

Thank you my fellow artist for constantly reminding me what my purpose is through your own creation;

Thank you my Natacha Muziramakenga for always standing by me even when I lose my way;

Thank you Mpinganzima for your kind heart and daily inspiration;

Thank you Isumbabyose Ismael for having a bigger picture of my vision;

Thank you Nelson Gashagaza for seeing the potential and pushing me to start;

Thank you Daniela Kampire for being a low key super fan and sponsor;

Thank you Muriel for spreading my work with so much pride – you make me smile a lot;

Thank you all social media fam for keeping up with my madness;

Thank you all that I won’t be able to name for your deeds speak for themselves;

Thank you all blogs, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations who made room for me to express myself comfortably;

Thak you Innovation Village, Impact Hub, The Manor Hotel, CECYDAR for trusting me with your space – That’s huge!

Thank you all fans and friends across the globe, an artist is nothing without an audience. You validate my dreams. Our dreams. You are small but generous. You are my sponsors. You make it happen.

Thank you young-but-ready person for allowing my words to sink into your heart;

Thank you stranger for your talking to me as if we have known each other for years;

Thank you die hard fan for being part of the #expericment series. Episode 4 (The finale) happened yesterday – no official videos yet but I just gathered some pictures taken by friends

The set at sunset. Credit: Muriel Binamungu

The stage.  Credit: Nibagwire Dida

Babou Joe (right) co-hosting with Samson, one of the former street kids at CECYDAR. Very good entertainer. Credit: Ihozo Paula

El Fazo & Don Nova (right) spitting truth to the youth. Credit: Ihozo Paula

My nephew blown away by Elie’s skills while I was rhyming for the kids. Credit: Ihozo Paula

Deo Munyakazi strumming the Inanga, traditional zeither, while singing an old folklore tune to the modern youth.

As for the previous shows, here…

Episode 3 – #Sexpericment

Episode 2 – Storytelling

Episode 1 – Evolution

Thank you Rwanda,

Thank you Africa

Thank you world

Thank you Universe

1key, 1love

 

THE EXPERICMENTAL EP

The #Expericment series is (almost) over. I’m not sure whether 4.0 is happening or not, it is still a possibility though. As for the 3 episodes, I hope that you enjoyed and learned as much as I did about the challenges in the industry especially when it comes to the live scene. I’m yet to share the videos of the latest episode.

While producing these shows, I continued to do what I love the most- writing, and I managed to record a few tracks. So I thought I’d release them as a compilation. So consider this a taste of what I’m cooking. Ladies and gents, behold FARAWAY, one of the tracks on The Expericmental EP. But before you press play, may I tell you a little story about how this track came about? Well, it all started with a tweet. 

Next thing you know, I’m writing on the beat then recorded my voice with the phone and emailed the wav file to MGJ. He mixed it, mastered it, I transferred the money over Western Union, he emailed the track and BOOM >> FARAWAY – 1KEY

LYRICS

[Intro]
I heard a voice from the underground telling me sky is the limit
J’ai rit, mon pays est synonyme avec l’univers, c’est quoi une limite?

[Verse 1]
The reflexion of my soul in the ocean of my poetry
Tel un chêne resistant aux chaines des scies electriques
Never go down without a fight, inkotanyi state of mind
C’est Le Retour du Cobaye, cette fois ci avec un teint black
Role-reversal that’s the Experiment with a C
Universoul je suis, je vous l’avait deja dit jadis
In a trilingual piece but y’all too slow to notice
Mais puisque la répétition est la mère de l’apprenti_sage, here you go
“Ndi umuvu sinkeneye impushya zanyu z’ingendo
Je suis trop fort pour être contenu par vos ports
I’m a part of a bigger system than yours, I am universal”
Je slam les portes du tabernacle sans aller à l’église
I’m a vegan on porc who got beef with missionaries
Vos artistes se trahissent à la radio pour un minimum de hits, que des wannabies
I dropped an album, you picked up two dictionaries
Je vous garanti que le prochain, vous en parlerez à vos petits fils
Butterfly effect in space and time, futuristic classics
Je suis tellement en avance que c’est dans le sens inverse que j’écris ma iv
This is actually one of my tweets

[Hook]
The writing is on the wall 
clair comme l’eau de roche
Tell me what’s a whistle blow
A un sourd qui se remplit les poches 

[Verse 2]
Yesterday bushman, today bourgeois
O Citadin mythomane bourré de joie
The bait of power grip seems irresistible
Libertin, dans ta chute libre, tout te parait si beau
The Gods Must Be Crazy when you’re on high on Coke
Comme c’est triste que ma musique te soit glauque
You want me to make you jump like the Maestro in Humain A L’Eau
T’es ignorant ou tu fais semblant de ne pas écouter les paroles?
Vers à moitié vides pour les pessimistes
Glass half full for the optimistic
Ça semble smart mais c’est fou, faux et fictif
It’s simply fifty-fifty to the realist
Dans la vie tout est question de perspective
Third Eye as first tattoo, my view is 360
Je m’interroge sur tout, surtout introspectif
Outrovert, I’m too brutal if you can’t take criticism
C’est avec un cœur ouvert qu’on écoute un lyriciste
If I disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed, then anonymously my art is as good as Banksy’s
Traitez moi de crazy mais le jour où vous comprendrez mes lyrics
You’ll appreciate the genius in this son of a spear
Je l’avais déjà posté jadis dans une réplique à Mani, je le redis “With my pen, every day I write my destiny.”

[Hook]
The writing is on the wall 
clair comme l’eau de roche
Tell me what’s a whistle blow
A un sourd qui se remplit les poches

[Outro]
Desiderata… I found my boost, I just hope that you too find yours
Faut beaucoup de cran pour accomplir de grandes choses
At the end of the day, you are who you believe you are
Moi je suis une lueur d’espoir dans le noir même si certains ne voient qu’un youvoi
I’m too far away but still put your shades on, ta vue est dans ma zone

#1key

Broke

Go hungry, stay lean but maintain your pride
Be broke but be clean, stand up right
Even in your worst misery, wear a smile
Rejoice always, pray every day and night
Pray for the dead, pray for the sun
Pray for the rain, pray for your son
Pray for peace in the Middle East
God Bless America, God Bless The Queen
Man proposes, God disposes
Him who opposes shall be disposed off
Never question the authorities, power is supreme
On their list of priorities, you come first
Always compare your life to the worst
Like, many would kill for what you got, be grateful
You got food, your country is peaceful
Why are you such an insatiable soul?
What more to fill your whole?
#1key