Kamau “Kama” Ngigi

Kama (real name Kamau Ngigi) is one third of the group Kalamashaka (aka K-Shaka) a hip-hop group based in Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya. The other members are Oteraw (Roba also featured on Ni Wakati) and Johny. The group was formed in the mid 90’s. They became popular with Tafsiri Hii hit in 1997. The group curtain raised for several international rap stars among them Coolio and Lost Boyz and have gone ahead to collabo with Dead Prez and other international artists. They have performed in several countries like Nigeria, Sweden, Holland, South Africa, Norway among others. Kalamashaka crucially paved the way for Swahili hip-hop to become mainstream in Kenya. The group is popular with hardcore rap fans for their socially and politically conscious lyrics. Their first album Ni Wakati released in 2001 was a hit with South Africa’s Channel O playing one of the videos “Fanya Mambo” from the album. The album addressed street crime, tribalism, politics and Africa’s conflicts. Their popularity started to wane with the rise of Kapuka and Genge which were danceable and raunchy which a huge percentage of the youth prefer to listen to other than philosophical music. FM radio stations are reluctant to play Kalamashaka’s socially conscious music. However, the group has remained active and refuses to change with times.

The group has helped other Dandora youths to start their rap careers. They group paved way and influenced others like Mashifta, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, K-South, Necessary Noize and a horde of other artists. They are credited with forming the group Ukoo Flani Mau Mau which is a collection of about 24 rappers from Nairobi and Mombasa with a few Tanzanians.

Ukoo Flani Mau Mau released Kilio Cha Haki album in 2004 and followed it up with Dandora Burning released in 2006. Their huge contribution and influence to the album is very notable.

Kama released his first solo album Kama in 2009. The album was produced by Ambrose Akwabi (Also featured in Ni Wakati) of Mandugu Digital. In the meantime, Kalamashaka is working on a new album titled Hakuna Case. The album is being produced by the Sweden-based Kenyan musician Ken Ring, who previously features on Kalamashaka’s song “Fanya Mambo”