Kenny Klips is one name that quickly comes to mind if one talks about the promotion or critiquing of urban music, particularly hip hop, in the country. He is that DJ who has helped and continue to shape the country’s urban music industry through his active involvement through deejaying, mainly with Power FM 101.
Some artists accuse him of bias when he takes on their music but Klips does not mind because he has the best interest of the country’s music industry.
“I’m critical about all music because my ears are stubborn, they don’t like hearing weird sounds.
“As for hip hop, that’s the genre that defines me. The genre that I helped nurture and establish in this country that further gave birth to the urban music which is the mainstream of this day,” he says.
Klips defends hip hop as a culture, which remains the same everywhere regardless of the language difference.
“Hip hop as a culture is still hip hop no matter where you go on planet earth though at the same time an element of hip hop—which is emceeing or rather rapping—is an adaptive art that can blend into almost anything.
“However, just because the spoken words in a rapping style are blended or fused into other genres it doesn’t make that art form hip hop,” says Klips.
With that said, the DJ said hip hop in Malawi is live and kicking but active players have lost hope in their fans because they no longer give them support they used to in the past.
“The major challenge is that the artists don’t put a price tag on their art such that the fans always expect free material from them.
“Though there is an avenue for artists to realise income from their hard work, they still opt for free music which has brought in so much activity from both the artists and the listeners, but very minimal revenue,” he says.
As an entrepreneur, Klips says he teamed with other players to create one of the country’s biggest online music distribution and marketing store-www.malawi-music.com-to revitalise the country’s chaotic music industry.
“The idea behind malawi-music.com is to create a central point where the world can access Malawi music at the same time bringing revenue to the artists but they are not using it.
“In this digital era, selling music is very difficult, especially when creators don’t guard and protect their art.
“This could all be history if artists and fans change their mentality,” says the DJ.
He suggests that the country’s music industry needs to expand horizons to make music for the world not solely for Malawi.
However, this needs vigorous marketing and international promotion platforms for the world to appreciate the local talent which is in abundance.
Asked about specific opportunities which Malawi music industry presents, Klips says
Malawi music industry requires investment and civic education in digital marketing and distribution, arguing it is the way to go.
Hailing from Balaka, Klips started deejaying at a tender age of 15.
“He had a privilege of growing up in an environment where he had access to equipment,” he says.