Duncan Zgambo, better known as Gwamba in the music circles, is a Malawian hip-hop artist who is famed for his inimitable style, an artist who has proved that music is music, language does not matter.
Unlike most hip-hop artists in Malawi, who have chosen English as “the best language” for delivering their musical art, Gwambahas chosen the opposite; he has stuck no other language but Chichewa despite the critics, scooping the best hip-hop artist award on the way.
His real passion for music came out at the age of 14 during his early years at St John’s Catholic Secondary School in Lilongwe, where he joined Pittie Boys, a group founded by L.I., EMM-Q and Cyclone.
The boys grew up with the rap star feeling, which became an obsession that made them start organising music events on campus.
Gwamba, who was inspired by US rapper/actor 50 Cent and disbanded Malawian hip-hop crew, The Basement recalls: “We would freestyle every time the lights went off and hip-hop became a huge part of my life, I had to grow up into the rapper I wanted to be”.
The boys started attracting so much interest around 2008 when they released a song called Work That Thing, which received great airplay on radio as well as TVM (now MBCtv).
While in college at Malawi Adventist University in Ntcheu, Gwamba started exploring his solo career, releasing hits such asMmesa, Tikakumane Kumadzi, Sindingasiye Bawa and Carina ya M’dala, which resulted into his debut mixtape Ghetto Attitudereleased in 2012.
From a mere secondary school rapper, Gwamba rose up the ladder to a household name that started and is still working with top notch Malawian artists among them Third Eye, Young Kay, Barry One, Phyzix and Blakjak.
He signed his first record deal with Transformers Music in September 2012, but left after nine months to join Prime Time Media, under which he has released three singles Bola Kusache, Ndiyima Pachulu and Zimuvuta, taken from his upcoming album titledKudutsa Pakhoma due for release this year.
But what inspires this MAM Music Awards 2013 Best Urban Hip-Hop/Rap winner?
He says: “I’m inspired by positive-minded people, the good friends that I have.”
“We all have strengths, unique strengths and all I do is focus on my strengths and be an expert at them. My dream is that I get to the level where I believe I deserve to be,” says Gwamba.
Originally from Mwazisi in the northern district of Rumphi, Gwamba was born at Nkhoma Hospital in Lilongwe in a family of four children.
His stage name was derived from Tumbuka meaning “a giver”.