Meet Kenyans had the opportunity this week to catch up with a young aspiring Kenyan rapper who resides in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas in the United States. Upon the interviewing of rapper "Dezyne" Meet Kenyans got a chance to find out what he is doing with his music, and what are his plans for the future.
Meet Kenyans: I heard you say in another interview that your name "Dezyne" was one of many names growing up. Where did you, when did you, and why did you settle on the name Dezyne?
Dezyne: When I started rapping, I was not mentally "grown" yet, if you know what I mean. I was still caught up in this rap matrix, which is based on material success and lack of consciousness on reality. My name before this was PharaohD. It was a powerful name, but I felt like it was tainted by the music I made under it, so I followed the age-old African tradition of changing names when one finds a new path in life as a symbol of rebirth. To make things short, I sat down with a dictionary looking at words trying to find a meaningful one and when I reached "design" in the dictionary, it meant "creation, purpose in mind, work of art." So I changed the spelling and made it my name and ever since I've been "Dezyne."
Meet Kenyans: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Dezyne: My music is Hip-Hop or RAP meaning Rhythm And Poetry. As far as musical influences, I could go for dayz naming names. For now ill name a few: Lucky Dube, Wu-Tang, Outkast, The Marleys, Fugees... man the list goes on. I have learned something from every artiste I've come across, I never consider none inferior. I'm a student of Music, u feel me.
Meet Kenyans: Are you part of a group or are you working solo with your music?
Dezyne: I'm a solo artiste but I represent a movement called the Black Chamber, which focuses on justice and freedom for all.
Meet Kenyans: When did you start rapping? What inspired you to make music?
Dezyne: I always joked around with music, but I really took it serious and started doing it at fifteen. As an immigrant here, it was hard for me to get money for the extracurricular activities in high school so this is what I picked up to stay sane and out of trouble. Also as I learnt about the state of the world and the injustice and oppression I wanted everyone to see the world through my eyes.
Meet Kenyans: Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organisations?
Dezyne: I'm currently independent and loving every sense of it. I can say whatever I want without repercussions or suppression. I'm a free man. I'm not really in any music organisation; I usually take part in community organisations and use my music as a tool.
Meet Kenyans: What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Dezyne: My topics vary, depending on what I'm studying, what makes me mad, politics, spirituality, conspiracy, pain or even sometimes if I'm in love with someone, I would write a song about her. These topics, yes, they will always change as long as the hands of time keep revolving. There will always be something inspiring my music. But my music will always stay Revolutionary and Real.
Meet Kenyans: Could you briefly describe the music-writing process?
Dezyne: The music writing process for me is usually going through beats after I find a topic then I would let it play as I brainstorm, then after sometime I would have a song and record it as I rehearse.
Meet Kenyans: You said in another interview that you sometimes get writer's block. When this happens how do you overcome it?
Dezyne: Its funny that I usually don't do anything to overcome it. I just put the pen and pad down and go do something else. I never force inspiration. That's how I live my life too, I change the things I can but never regret what I couldn't.
Meet Kenyans: Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows in 2009?
Dezyne: I have performed in over fifteen venues here in Dallas/Fort-Worth, mostly bars, clubs and community shows. My favourite venues would probably be bookstores, I love the environment and just the fact that people are more relaxed in these venues and I don't feel like a star. Least favourite will be the Clubs that make money off artistes and don't compensate them. I'm never going back to those, Ever. 2009 I do have shows, matter of fact I am performing at an alternative high school in Fort Worth called Trimble Tech 12 February, 2009, then a Bookstore (The Dock) in the same city on Valentine's evening. Every time I have a show, I will post it on www.dezynemusic.com/events, feel free to check it out when you are in town.
Meet Kenyans: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Dezyne: I usually rehearse in my studio two days before a show or if its last minute, I would put the instrumental in my car and drive around rapping.
Meet Kenyans: How has your music evolved since you first began rapping?
Dezyne: I feel like I went through stages in music like El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. From when he was Red, Malcolm X and finally Malik. I feel like I'm just entering the Malik stage. To be honest I have a lot of growing to do. I came from a kid who rapped about cars and jewellery to a poet who now speaks for the voiceless and the oppressed.
Meet Kenyans: What has been your biggest challenge? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Dezyne: My biggest challenge is myself. I have to conquer myself before anything and I'm working everyday to be a better man and actually be the change I talk about in my songs. I believe in you and myself all to a point that I cannot fail in this quest.
Meet Kenyans: What's your ultimate direction for your music? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
Dezyne: My ultimate goal is to touch the people and help spark the most powerful conscious movement you can imagine. I want to change the world, because it sickens me to see how we humans underrate our potential to make this a better place. Fame/Fortune? That has many answers and I will give you the most logical in my current point of view. Even though I hate the idea of fame, fame is necessary to be heard. Gandhi had to be famous for his message to be heard, the same applies to Buddha, Yahshua, and so on. Fortune is most necessary in the right hands. How can you build wells in Sudan if you are as poor as the oppressor wants you to be? My brother, fame and fortune are never evil under the right hands. I don't see myself using it selfishly but wisely to empower the people. I think it's about time for the right people to have means of empowerment...
Meet Kenyans: What advice do you have for Kenyans or anyone who want to break into the rap game?
Dezyne: This rap game is a game as you said. Don't play the game, make the rules and own yourself because if companies find potential for profit in you, they will buy you and you will become nothing more that just a puppet. I feel like I'm in no position to give advice because I've just started, but take heeding to what I said and just follow your heart.
Meet Kenyans: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have an Apple iTunes account, (.com) Web site or demo CD?
Dezyne: For now fans can reach me through www.dezynemusic.com. Even if you don't have an Apple iTunes account, you can listen to my music, read my blogs and find out about my shows and interviews. I love reading e-mails from fans and artistes as well so feel free to e-mail me. I will soon have an official Web site.
Meet Kenyans: Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Dezyne: I'd like to acknowledge everybody, they know who they are; my family, friends and the people reading this right now. I always take the time to read and reply every message I get on my page or e-mail. I know there will come a time when I wouldn't be able to do it, but for now I'm enjoying every bit of connecting with you all on a personal level.
Meet Kenyans: "Streets Run Red," by the way great lyrics. I remember over a year ago, I got the MySpace comment from you for a music video with Spliff, showing file footage of the "Post Election" violence-taking place in Kenya last year. From listening closely to the lyrics, it is easy to understand why you wrote the lyrics, to the events taking place. Please tell us; how did it make you feel as a Kenyan, an African and a young Man now living in America, seeing our fellow Kenyans on Television committing brutal acts towards our brothers, sisters, children, and damage to property?
Dezyne: Thank you. "Streets Run Red" was my cry to our people. You see, I grew up in Nakuru and then Kisumu in Kenya and the place was very multicultural, with many religions and never would I imagine seeing this happening. I'm an African and this really hits home. I want my people to unite because we have enough diseases and post-colonial oppression targeted at us already. Now is not the time to be divided. I love my people and if we could love each other enough to get past brutality and tribalism, our nation will not suffer.
Meet Kenyans: Are you working on or with an organisation in Kenya or Africa to help give back in some way? If not, do you have plans to work on some future project back home?
Dezyne: No, not at the moment. I would really love to go home and perform for my people and help in any way that I can. I miss the music at the bus stops, markets, and the way you could say hello to anybody on the street. I miss that. I'm actually looking for positive organisations to sponsor me to come back to Kenya. Most definitely, home is home!
Meet Kenyans: As a Kenyan now living in the Diaspora. Do you have future plans to move back to Kenya for good? If so, what are your plans for moving back? If not, tell us why?
Dezyne: I moved to America hoping for the "milk and honey" but I've learned that Americans are also dealing with the same problems we are dealing with but at a smaller but highly psychological scale. I came to America to find a way to change the world, but Kenya is forever my home so moving back for good is something I won't mind doing. My plans are to better all people starting with home and I want the change to spread like a virus across the world. I believe it can happen.
Meet Kenyans: What is the name of your new album? What is it about and when will it be released?
Dezyne: My album has been out for two months now, the title is: Mind Elevation. It has all the topics we discussed on this interview and more. Matter of fact in a week I will post the whole album on MySpace, so that those who cannot afford it can listen to it and hopefully find it of value.
Meet Kenyans: Any last words?
Dezyne: I want you all who are reading this right now to know that even though I may never meet you in person. I care about you and I'm willing to fight beside you against any injustice and if no one hears your cries, I'm listening. Thank you for the interview. Peace to ALL!!!
Meet Kenyans: You are welcome and Thank You!
Interview by Meet Kenyans
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