KB Interviews: Rap Goddess, Samba the Rapper on her Musical Journey
KB: Thanks for your time today! So, tell the us something about Samba the Rapper.
My real name is Barbara Samba, born and raised here in Nairobi, Kenya. My stage name was derived from my second name Samba, and my friends nicknamed me Samba the rapper because I used to rap for them during our free time, back in high school. I’m an award-winning independent rap artist, songwriter, performer, occasional music vlogger and an actress. Other than that I also have a full time job employment.
KB: How long have you been in the game? How has the journey been thus far?
I officially started my music journey last year, but I have been in the game for quite some time as an underground rapper and a ghost writer, learning and perfecting my skills as a hobby. The journey so far has been that of baby steps, picking up, but still challenging. The music industry is not a walk in the path as people think. It needs one to have thick skin because it’s complex.
KB: How would you as an artist describe your creative process?
I write songs based on so many aspects. I may be inspired by my surrounding i.e. people life situations, my personal life, how I feel and the mood. I literally write music anytime anyplace that an idea might pop up. Sometimes I might take a few hours to write music, sometimes a day, a week or a month depending with the type of song or genre I may be writing.
KB: Tell us something about your music.
My music is specifically rap, some call it hip-hop but I prefer rap because it’s the kind of art to be creative and open minded. Thus, I am versatile and free to explore any preferred genre to not be stacked in a cocoon.
So far, I have released two hit singles. “Tayari” was my first song which was released back in 2018. The song was produced by MG, while the video was shot and directed by Jijo Drum beats. “Tayari” was an inspirational song for the masses, and myself, to be fearless of what might hinder them from achieving their dreams and goals.
“Wasamaria Wema” was released at the beginning of this year. I featured Pauline Wachenje who is an amazing gospel singer. This is more of a laid back song, encouraging people to be generous to the less fortunate. The song was produced by Pinches on the beat, while the video was shot by one Kelvo Director.
KB: You tend to have quite lengthy hiatuses before releasing new music, why is this so?
I have a lot on my plate with numerous commitments. This may have hindered my consistency in releasing music. I think I need a music manager because I am now overwhelmed. Music is also very expensive and thus finance is another setback, especially if you’re an independent artist, upcoming artist. That’s why we have to have side hustles to finance music.
KB: Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you remember the first time you realized you wanted to make music for a living?
I love music but I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would become a musician. I only did music as a hobby and for fun. I participated in music festivals and drama festivals in school but never thought of doing it as a living.
KB: Which musicians have continued to inspire you through the years? Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Honestly speaking, I’m inspired by very many artists both locally and internationally. I don’t have any specific musician in mind. However, I would collaborate with anyone who is creative, has a strong work ethic, and we have a mutual musical vibe to create amazing songs, whether you are popular or not.
KB: At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope they will be entertained, inspired, encouraged or educated in whichever type of song I’ll release. My goal is to have songs that will be relatable, even in the future.
KB: And of course, #PlayKEMusic has been an ongoing conversation for a while now. What are your thoughts on this as an artist yourself?
I fully advocate for the #PlayKEMusic. We need to support our own artists first, by playing their songs before playing outsiders on rotation, which is very disheartening and it’s killing our industry. The ratio of Kenyan music to foreigners should be at least 4:1 respectively, and not vice versa. We have so many quality songs from Kenyan artists which are not yet exploited. The best artists are not getting airplay since they are not particularly popular.
KB: Any new projects fans can expect from you this year? Your last word to them?
Yes! I have new projects that I’m working on, hopefully they will be out by the end of the year. I request my fans to be patient as good things take time. Also, I’d like to thank all my loyal fans from day one for the continuous support. I really appreciate the love which is really encouraging.
Samba the Rapper’s Socials: @samba_therapper