Malawi’s hip-hop dream

There is a music voice. A voice, which from a distance, sounds youthful. Listening to this voice one is compelled to dismiss it outright.

Yet, if one takes a moment to sieve the sense in the lyrics and punchlines that the young rapper, Waxy Kay, drops, you get a sense that the 20-year-old’s wisdom and artistic prowess cheat his age.

Is known for no-holds-barred compositions: Waxy Kay

His content hinges on controversy because of his straightforward nature. Often tackling issues, which belittle his age. It is queer to hear someone his age acting as a marriage counsellor. But, strangely, Waxy Kay thrives in that role.

He sings in Tikule, which features Sir Patricks:

Ndimalira tsiku likatha osandipatsa Hi

Yet, sindinkadziwa kukula ndi nzeru osati height

Ndiye tikule mumzimu ndi nzeru

Tipange hurry eti, asanayambe kundikopa achina Harriet…    

The artist, real name Wonderful Kapenga, introduced himself on the local music scene at 14 years when he released his first single Akatolirira in which he featured Frank Tambala in 2015. It was another one of his no-holds-barred compositions, but that may as well be what has defined his art.

Being a son of a pastor, it was almost inevitable for the young Waxy Kay to end up as a member of a church choir at Believers Assembly International Church where his father ministers. This experience, he says, shaped his path into music.

“I grew up in church and singing is something that I started while very young. Since my days as a choir member, I knew I wanted to be a musician. So, pushing this dream is not much of a surprise to me,” he told Society in an interview.

Since he came onto the music scene, he has collaborated with a number of top names on the Malawi music urban scene. Though he is yet to release an album, the artist has produced and released over 20 singles, which have topped the local charts and enjoyed massive radio airplay.

But he says his debut album is on the way: “My fans should expect to finally get something from me before this year ends. I am working on my first album, which will be titled Udindo.”

His contribution and mastery on the microphone has not gone unnoticed. In 2017, the Machinjiri township resident was crowned the best new artist during the Urban Music People (UMP) awards.

An avid follower of local music and commentator Hessie Ndevu says although to an extent the lyrics may appear controversial but listening closely to Waxy Kay’s music one notes that he addresses frustrations that his peers are facing.

Ndevu argues: “He is trying to speak with the same voice that youths speak. I think this has also made the youth, which is his main target audience, relate more to him and strike a bond. He chooses his topics very well.”

He points to his two productions Mumudziwe Yesu and Tikule where he says the artist tried to maintain a good balance in his messaging by propagating good behaviour and exalting positivity in his lyrics. 

He sings in Mumudziwe Yesu:

Ku church, udindo wa bho bho

Koma akulimbana ndi kamwana ka Form Four

Akasiyitsa geli eti akapatsa phaa

Mudziwe Yesu moyo wa mwana mwawuyika pa msampha

Chakudya cha mwana, mwakhetsera dovu

Mphechempheche mwa mwana mwayesa ndimwa njobvu…

Ndevu adds: “What makes him different is that behind the controversy, he has a message which resonates with his audience and makes the audience love him.”

Waxy Kay’s mettle has often been proved by the success that several of his singles have registered on the top urban music programme Made On Monday on Radio 2FM. Two of his songs Za Zii and Chimwemwe Changa which he did with Kell Kay both hit position number one.

Made on Monday host, Joy Nathu, has described Waxy Kay as an exceptional artist that has managed to create something spectacular at a very young age.

“What he has achieved is a very difficult thing to do in Malawi as the music scene is very competitive and challenging. He has the potential to continue rising to the top because of his talent, creativity and interesting compositions,” he said.

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