saturday April 12th was a historic day for the Gambian music Scene especially for the hiphop community. Straight from Jupiter Entertainment in collaboration with Alliance Francaise brought the 2009 world beatbox champions ’UnderKontrol’ to the Gambia as part of the first ever international Rap battle and a spectacular live band performance by the current God Father of Gambian hiphop Prince Ali a.k.a Killa ace.
This was the first time that Mr Ali Baba brought his entire hiphop family together performing hits from his first album with a hiphop live band. He featured several promising hip hop acts such as Pthug , Poetic x, Myk Jada, Og loc and more.
In a face to face with his French counterpart, Killa Ace got the crowd fired up when him and UnderKontrol combined the rap with beatbox producing something that the country has never seen. Soon after the Gambia-France face to face, the 2009 world beatbox champs UnderKontrol did an amazing performance catching the whole crowd by surprise producing unbelievable musical sounds through their mouths.
The tempo of the event rised to it’s peak when the rap battle between the Gambia and senegal kicked off shaking the crowd nonstop. Lil Omz , the Gambian Cypher Street rap Battle champion went head to head with the Senegalese Freestyle Battle Champ Redlion in an amazing rap battle. After 3 rounds of lyrical fight, The four man panel of judges Abas Secka (artistik,) Bankie Grey Johnson, Billal Bin Kebbab (poetic x ) and Fla the ripper finally made a critical decision declaring Redlion as the winner.
According to Killa Ace, the founder of the Straight from Jupiter Entertainment, all the artists’ and fans who attended the event were happy. Mr. Bondeh yii announced that Lil omz is set to go to Senegal to face Redlion in the away leg. In an interview with GT Entertainment news, Borom Bondeyi said “it’s an honor and a blessing to organize an event of such quality. The place was packed, the artists gave it their best, the audience was happy and I can’t do but thank God.”
Reacting to critics who speculated that the event was going to fail, Killa ace said “well, to keep it real, I’m not even worried about them, I know what my potentials and believes are. I have nothing to prove at all since everything that ever needed to be proven has already been proven. My duty is to keep pushing, working hard and building connections around the world. Concentrating on their thoughts is pointless to me and like the saying goes “yalla wahut ken dara”. Thanks to our partners, sponsors and everyone who supported the event. Blessed” Killa Ace concluded.
One of the female rappers of the Gambia who participated in the event Binsinbabe Drammeh thanked killa Ace and the Straight from Jupiter movement for according her the opportunity to showcase her talent. According to Binsin, “da cypher is da reason y people know me now and Ace is like a blood brother. He is good at what does. star la”.
It could be recalled that Gambian music scene has recently gone through transformation with a lot of rappers cross carpeting to a “new genre of music “Rap Mbalax” (a fusion of hiphop and mbalax). The likes of Bai Babou a.k.a Brain Cracka and Gibou Bala Gaye a.k.a Gee are good examples of such artists. They both started by doing straight hiphop for years before changing to rap mbalax. There is no doubt that the new genre is appreciated by most people in the Gambia especially the younger generation, Killa Ace and team are still bent on pushing the pure hiphop and doing everything possible to make sure it stays alive. Regardless of which genre they all take, they should try by all means to make it healthy because to each their own and diversity will only strengthen us.