Arrow Boy, signed under King Kaka’a Kaka Empire, is the newest dancehall sensation in the country. He has been trending for some time now in the Kenyan music scene with the hits ‘Murder’ and ‘Digi digi’. His music, energy, and lyrical prowess have set him up as a promising rising star.
He spoke to Nation about his music.
Who is Arrow Bwoy, and why such a stage name?
My real name is Ali Yusuf. Arrow Bwoy, as you rightly put, it is the stage name. I do dancehall music simplified to a language anyone can relate to. I chose the name simply because I intend for my music to pierce the soul of any who listens to it; just like the arrow does.
Your music style that you’re calling dancehall has more of Swahili touch, could you be from the Coast?
(laughs) Really. I have only been to Coast once. I just love Swahili because it’s a language anyone can easily understand in East Africa, adding to the fact that I also come from Uganda, so does my Mum. I would love my music to reach to them in an easier way as well.
We have some talented dancehall legends in the country, who would you wish to work with in future?
To be honest with you, my target is to walk with new blood. There is so much upcoming talent and those are the ones I’m on the lookout for because I feel there is a need to create a different sound in regards to what I’m doing.
How did you end up signing with King Kaka?
I met King Kaka at Owago Onyiros’ bash, I performed three of my earlier tracks and he liked my performances. After the performance, he approached me and we exchanged contacts. We chatted for some time before I made the decision to join his label.
So how does it work you being under the stable?
Generally, they manage my work from music promotions, interviews, corporate deals, organization of gigs while all I do is give them the product. At the end of the day, we split the proceedings we get from the music as per the contract terms.
I’m wondering, you have been in the label for a while now yet we haven’t heard of any collabo with fellow musicians Avril, Timmy Tdat or Femi One?
Being signed to Kaka Empire does not mean you have to do a collaboration with artistes already signed there. For a collaboration to happen it’s always about an artiste’s feel towards another’s style of work; ikikubamba unajiachilia. There has to be some chemistry first.
Your boss, King Kaka, recently has been engaged in a beef with Sauti Sol claiming they haven’t helped the industry grow. What’s you take on the issue?
I think King Kakas’ sentiments were all but personal, it does not represent the position of Kaka Empire. Having said that I choose to believe he is entitled to his thoughts and he is right because lazima watu tukumbushane. Mimi naona ni healthy watu wakiambiana ukweli tusikae kwa giza, kukumbushana sio mbaya. I was in Uganda recently and artistes there support each other a lot.
Why is it that most musicians of your generation believe so much in scandals to push their careers?
Well, I’m happy to be the exception because I have shot into the limelight without necessarily getting involved in any kind of scandal. People know Arrow Bwoy from my work, to some it works but I doubt such a strategy would work for me.
How are you managing your new found fame with the girls, considering the fact that you are also very stylish?
There is so much pressure from them but at the end of the day I have to act professional because this is my job. Music is business and I wouldn’t compromise my work with ladies’ distractions. I respect them and try to treat them as fans because majority of them have gotten me to where I am right now.
Are you dating?
(laughing) Arrow Bwoy is locked. I’m dating music for now.
You now sounding like part of ‘team mafisi’
Haha! Come on man, I live by my lyrics, when I sing ‘tabia za fisi mimi sitambui….’ I mean exactly that.