Five years after embracing Jesus Christ and bidding secular music goodbye, Lord Kenya has lashed out at his former colleagues who are tussling over the originator of the Hiplife music genre.
The Born Again singer has revealed he performed some of his lyrically-sound secular songs on the pulpit, but said he is bent on never performing any of those songs commercially.
Speaking with presenter, MzGee, ahead of his fifth anniversary celebration scheduled for this October in Kumasi, Lord Kenya said he is still not interested in his royalties from Ghana Music Right Owners (GHAMRO).
He applauded musician Nero X for his style of music but rebuked him for saying he is not a gospel artiste.
Follow the entire conversation between MzGee and Lord Kenya in the Q&A below:
MzGee: I believe your source of finance was from your music back in the day, now that you have gone into full time ministry, how then do you fend for yourself?
Lord Kenya: The faithful one Jesus is taking care of me. He is wonderful. All I have to do to trust and obey him. He makes a way where there is no way. Sometimes people ask me so how are going to take care of the kids? My reply is I don’t know. All I know is that I’m an evangelist and when I go for programmes people give something small but I can tell you for a fact that for the past five years, I have never gone hungry. I’m not focused on how he is going to take care of me but rather how he can use me to win souls for him, he says ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto you.’
MzGee: Under what circumstance will you perform any of your old songs?
Lord Kenya: Sometimes I do that at church. I have songs which don’t have vulgar words like ‘Sika Ponfaneho’, ‘Born again’. I encourage my congregants with the words of the songs explain the words behind the song to them. Ask them why are they are bent on getting money through any means possible? Maybe as the situation comes, I can do that but I can’t do that to be paid – like coming back into the world and performing on stage.
MzGee: So if you are invited to perform at a musical concert, you won’t perform?
Lord Kenya: I just would not because my focus now is different. I am now an evangelist. Maybe I can invite people through my music and tell them I did the music but Christ has called me.
MzGee: What was your relationship the media back in the day, we hear you were quite rude?
Lord Kenya: It is not true. I have been a friend of the media. It is just unfortunate that when I changed my focus some of the media houses turn their back on me. To be honest with you I am a media person. Crosscheck with Graphic showbiz, I appeared on their front page several times so the assertion that I was pompous to the media is not true.
MzGee: Per your experience as Lord Kenya, what are some mistake you made that these young folks are falling prey to and your advice to them?
Lord Kenya: They think once they become stars they have arrived. Well I need to tell them to watch out. You just don’t become a star, you build it up. You can only be called a musician when you have two, three albums but now they do singles so they are not musicians. So I have been telling them if you to do music, take your time. Build a fan base. People just need to love your music and then love you. I was a bad boy back then but I had my fan base because I was consistent.
MzGee: Did you have managerial issues back then?
Lord Kenya: I have worked with Slip Records. My first manager was Mark Okraku. We did ‘sika’ and ‘oy3 sika baa’. Mark Okraku will agree that we were both young and there were some things we could have done that we didn’t do and as a result, we had to go our separate ways. But that’s it. After that I got my own record company Mount Kenya, it produced ‘Yesum Sika’ and ‘Chike ye oy3 bue’ and since then I have been producing my own records.
MzGee: I’m surprise you still remember ‘Chike ye oy3 bue’ though you have been off the secular scene for five years?
Lord Kenya: I do. That’s my song and intellectual property. With regards to the song Chick ye oy3 bue, I went to the mortuary and there was this beautiful sister and the way the mortuary man was treating her, there was nothing ‘bue’ about the lady. But Jesus oy3 bue because Jesus saved Lord Kenya and died for us.
MzGee: There has been issues about the genesis of Hiplife, you have been around a while, tell us what you know?
Lord Kenya: To be honest with you, we need to sit down and talk things over because some of us started doing rap way back before Reggie came in. I remember we use to do rap in secondary school like myself, Okyeame Kwame and some of the brothers who could not make stardom. Some of them also recorded before Reggie came like Mahony P, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Nana Yaw Wireduso. He [Reggie] cannot be the originator. Zapp Mallet spearheaded the move then he recorded almost all of my tunes. He got the idea of the whole thing. We were just doing rap so then we can link all these to him saying he brought the word, Hiplife. It was as if knew that is why I never said I was doing Hiplife. I’m original, I was born to rap.
MzGee: Why would anyone want to hold his/her hand to the chest a title that isn’t theirs?
Lord Kenya: I don’t know maybe the person holding the hand to the chest would have to answer to it. Music is about making use of your sensitivity and creativity. So this should not be a bone of contention now because it is not necessary.
If you ask me there is nothing High about their Highlife and there is nothing Hip about their Hiplife what they need is Christlife, for Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through Jesus (John 14:6).’ Because He is the only one who is going to judge you. If they want life, they should take Christlife.
MzGee: Are you still piercing?
Lord Kenya: That’s my past and that is why I have a testimony, I pierced the left ear in London and right was done in Canada. But for the piercing, some would not notice me today because I am totally different from that Lord Kenya who sniffed cocaine and drank heavily back in the day.
Question: At that time of piercing, what were you thinking?
Answer: Hip, High, ‘Chompia’ on top of the world. Get on the stages and let the ladies scream out my name. This is why Solomon said ‘Vanity upon vanity’.
MzGee: Any regrets?
Lord Kenya: I have never regretted in life. It is a process. For me to be here, God needed to take me through this process.
MzGee: Lord Kenya, I know you are done with secular music but you simply can’t avoid the sound of secular tunes, they are everywhere, which one tune tickles you?
Lord Kenya: There is a guy by name Nero X who has a nice tune, ‘Osey’. His song is creative but I have a problem with him, when he was interviewed and asked what category of music he does, he replied ‘as for me I can do secular and I can also do gospel’. I was watching and I screamed ‘young man God has blessed you say you are doing gospel.’
Credit: Gloria Nyarko