“Dema geum neh hecha bu dagul fog mu yegsi” said the upcoming Rapper, MC Baatiz in the Wolof local language, meaning “I believe when pulling (for instance a rope), if it does not cut then it must arrive.”
The singer whose real name is Samba Ceesay (MC Baatiz) was speaking to The Voice newspaper entertainment column about the strides he took and the long wait before his music hit the airwaves of FM stations in Gambia.
Born on August 18, 1978 at No. 3 Ndongo Lo Lane Street, Latrikunda German, MC Baatiz attained basic education at Latrikunda Yiringana Primary school, and Latrikunda German Junior Secondary school.
He started a fledgling music career in 1997 with the rap group, G Clan. The group of five included Uncle G (now MC Baatiz), Master P, Hailer G, Tam G and Haleh B.
The group recorded two single “Yai Boy” and “Mailen Nyu Jala”. The former is a song dedicated to all mothers and the later, they called to be given the chance to express themselves through music.
“These two songs were really appreciated. Before we recorded the songs I met one of my “music brother” Mo Hawk – the Rap Khalifa at the time he was with Da Fugitives,” MC Baatiz recalls. “He was impressed with our group and even urged us to be joining Da Fugitives for rehearsals.”
However, proposed video clips for both singles “Yai Boy” and “Mailen Nyu Jala” could not materialize at the time due to numerous setbacks. In fact, the later was already shot but it never made it to the screen.
“Some of the crew members just got fade up while attempts were being made to shoot the video for “Yai Boy”. The G Clan ceased to exist six years later (in 2003),” he added.
Determined to continue
One of the now defunct G Clan members, Haleh B A.K.A Da Beef is now based in Sweden where he is still performing.
“But I continued with my song-writing because I was in love with rap music, and I am still. I was also receiving all the encouragement I needed from Mo Hawk,” said MC Baatiz whose songs are mainly a mixture of Wolof and English.
“Dema geum neh hecha bu dagul fog mu yegsi” he said in Wolof, meaning “I believe when pulling (for instance a rope), if it does not cut then it must arrive.”
“I was determined to continue,” he added. “I ran into Mo Hawk at my neighbourhood following his return from Europe in 2011, and he urged me to work on something that I could record at his studio – The Block Entertainment.”
The singer then grabbed this new opportunity and recorded his first singly single “Set Set-tal” on 20 May, 2011 featuring his compatriot ST. The single is intended to address rampant malaria in the country and also wade off the possible breakout of communicable diseases like cholera; hence it calls for a clean environment
“Set Set-tal” is meant to strengthen the Government’s call on citizens and residents to embark on monthly cleansing exercises which have become official but voluntary,” he said. “We need a healthy environment for a healthy population, a healthy economy and a healthy country.”
The song was first played in public in an open-air concert at Ndongo Lo Lane to mark singer Paapa Lengthy’s birthday.
“I choose to launch it on his birthday because we both live in the same neighbourhood. And besides, I am a member of the group “SiiPaahBii”, he explained. “It was also my first public performance since I went solo. So it was very important that I receive a lot of appreciation.”
“SiiPaahBii” (At The Hole) include a posse of musicians living in Latrikunda German. It is set in motion by Paapa Lengthy who nicknamed himself the Crocodile at the Hole (“Jaisiit Bi – SiiPaahBii”).
Typical of musicians, they are often pre-occupied with singing on issues going on around them, and the Rapper MC Baatiz is not left behind. In 2012 he recorded another single “So defeh nyu wah” – referring to endless bickering in society.
He said of the song: “People like to talk. Some of whom has the intention of derailing you from achieving your objectives.”
“So you need not listen to them because if you do it will be difficult to achieve what you want,” he added.
The song “So defeh nyu wah” in which MC Baatiz featured the singer Big Faa, was also performed for the first time during a music concert marking Paapa Lengthy’s 5th Birthday Bash.
Baatiz was among 25 musicians to rock the stage in the biggest annual concert held on May 26, 2012 in the Serrekunda West district town of Latrikunda German.
The artist also revealed he has seven tracks lined-up recording at The Block Entertainment. “Kutubo Mboob, the Block’s General Manager is very helpful in this cause and I am grateful for his support,” the singer said.
To have good quality records has been one of the major problems facing Gambian music, however, singer MC Baatiz “believes with time we will get there.”
According to him, financial support to the music industry is minimal and in most cases it does not come at a much needed time (earlier career). “The few individuals or companies giving support to local musicians come in when you have almost establish yourself in the music business,” he said.
He added: “Getting records on radio is also a problem as most DJ’s prefer having a copy of their own. So you can be giving out almost 10 CDs in one radio station and you realise you are financially strained.”
On May 27, 2011 MC Baatiz performed at the “Tallinding Jump Off”, a music show presented by The Block Entertainment and the rap-group Hamaleh G at Semega Janneh Hall in Tallinding.
He also performed in various concerts organised by The Block Entertainment including one held at one of the hottest entertainment spots in Gambia, Duplex Night Club.
He also played in the Black Lynx-organised Open Mic – the biggest freestyle shows in the tiny West African country, The Gambia.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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