Remember Jason Dunford? The two-time Kenyan Olympic swimmer and country’s flag bearer at the 2012 Olympic Games?
Well, the 32-year old retired swimmer is now a Genge rapper. Je has released his first single , “Mbaya” – a collaboration with “Romantico”, who came to Kenya as a Mexican missionary, fell in love with the country’s culture, remained and created a new musical genre.
According to Dunford, he and Romantico met by chance, and the latter invited the former to feature on the song. Dunford protested that he had no musical skills, but Romantico persisted and “Samaki Mkuu”(Dunford’s stage name) was born.
Their collab, merges Genge, a hip-hop derivative that emerged from Nairobi and Reggaeton, a genre rooted in Latin America and the Caribbean, to form a brand new sound known as “Gengeton”.
Dunford, who retired from competitive swimming having last represented Kenya in an international event during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, currently works as a broadcast journalist on the Africa business team out of the BBC’s new bureau in Nairobi. He reports and produces 4 shows – a daily in English and Swahili; and a weekly in English and Swahili.
Romantico, on his part, came to Kenya as Edgar Manuel Vargas Gallegos, a missionary representing the Mexican Catholic Church and has gradually been building his repertoire as an up and coming act in the Kenyan hip hop scene.
His debut Swahili single was titled Mkora which was followed by Tai Tai featuring Prince Amani.
The new Dunford-featured single is available on all major platforms, including iTunes and Spotify.
Watch ‘Mbaya’ below.