He had long been mooting ideas to catapult his local hip-hop legacy into the rest of Africa, and so when the letter inviting him to participate in the 2017 Coke Studio Africa got to his table, Slapdee knew it was a golden chance.
On the local scene, Slapdee – whose real name is Mwila Musonda – is a household name. He is one of the most sought-after rappers. His accolades speak for him, too: Nine Zambian Music Awards and the only hip-hop artiste to have ever won the coveted Ngoma Award in Zambia.
“2017 has been about us reaching out to the rest of Africa. It’s been our plan for the last five years, but first we had to satisfy the local audience. We achieved that and now it’s time to expand,” says Slapdee. “So, the plan that we’ve had all along to expand is now falling into place; we have Coke Studio Africa, tours coming up in other parts of the world, and collaborations are part of the plans.”
Slapdee’s participation in the fifth series of the Coke Studio gave him the break he needed to penetrate the international market. After all, Coke Studio aims to inspire and introduce Africa’s music talents to a new and wider audience through interaction, collaboration and cooperation among musical artists while also building a strong brand connection with Africa’s young and growing population.
Africa is full of great music talent in communities, cities and countries, and Coke Studio Africa gives these artists wider exposure, while enabling greater interaction, collaboration and cooperation to create inspirational new sounds.
When Slapdee got to the Coke Studio recording venue in Nairobi, Kenya, he rubbed shoulders with some renowned names including Khaligraph Jones & Band Becca from Kenya, Rayvanny, Izzo Bizness, Nandy from Tanzania, Sami Dan from Ethiopia, Bebe Cool, Eddy Kenzo and Sheebah, Ykee Benda representing Uganda, Nasty C, Busiswa, Mashayabhuqe from South Africa, Youssoupha from Democratic Republic of Congo, Runtown and Yemi from Nigeria.
Adding to the list were Dji Tafinha from Angola, Laura Beg from Mauritius, Jah Prayzah from Zimbabwe, Bisa Kdei and Worlasi from Ghana, Betty G from Ethiopia, Bruce Melodie, Shellsy Baronet & Mr. Bow from Mozambique, Denise from Madagascar and Ozane from Togo, Freeda from Namibia.
The was the sort of thing Slapdee needed; an opportunity to make the continental bang that he so much wants.
“Coke Studio is a grand opportunity for any musician. The platform gives you an opportunity to have a taste of other genres and to learn from the creative process of making fine music with other artistes,” says Slapdee.
“For me it was a grand opportunity because I learnt a lot about how people from other parts of Africa make music and what music is all about in different parts of Africa. Coke Studio is very important for Africa and I’m very thankful for the opportunity and I’m glad I participated in it and represented my country. The process has given me a different perspective of making music. It’s also an opportunity to know and connect with musicians from different parts of Africa. Going forward, I’d like more collaborations with musicians from other parts of the continent.”
Slapdee is collaborating with South African singer Busiswa in the show, and the duo’s performance throwback aired on August 19 in Malawi, Namibia and on Zambezi Magic, and on August 22 on ZTV in Zimbabwe. It then aired on QTV in Zambia and on eBotswana in Botswana on August 25. The show will be aired in over 30 countries across Africa, including DSTV’s Zambezi Magic in South Africa, which covers the SADC region.
“Busiswa is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and worked with. She’s down to earth, humble and willing to take advice. That’s what you look out for when you want to work with someone. You need that bond. And because of that we ended up making a beautiful song.
On the Coke Studio song, Busiswa and Slap Dee worked with a producer called Kill Beatz from Ghana, a very talented and awesome producer.
The rapper, who was inspired into the music industry by his ‘music-crazy’ brother, says he is keen to turn his music talent into a business empire. He says he drew many lessons from old folk who only played music for passion rather than businesses.
“I know the mistakes the old folks made and I’ve used them as a learning process. Most of them made music as a passion and did not really make money from it. So, we’ve learnt from that and the advantage is that I’ve added the business side to the talent. Music for me is a business from which one must make a living,” Slap Dee says.