Petra Yolanda Sonia Bockle is a rising rap star and one of the most promising femcees out of Kenya. Her raw and hard-hitting rap style has seen her get likened to America’s Cardi B.
She is currently riding high on her most recent release – I Got That – featuring Victoria Kimani. Before “I Got That”, Petra killed it on the “Khali Cartel” and “Rider” alongside Khaligraph Jones.
She describes herself as an international rapper and says things are going well towards achieving this.
Why did you take a break from music?
I was focusing on family, my pregnancy and my marriage, and also to plan my career. You will find out that most artistes do not have a long-term plan. That is why I took time away and, as you can see, it is working out for me.
You came back with several collabos, why was that?
It was part of my plan. I was out of the music scene for a while and the last time people heard or saw me, I was everywhere. They liked and appreciated what I was doing. In order for me to really make a comeback, my PR team thought a collabo with well-known artistes would help.
Are you signed to anyone at the moment?
No, but plans are underway. On my next project, I have people who are going to be funding everything.
You quit Taurus Music and they threatened to sue you, what happened and are you in talking terms now?
We are good now. We are like family. I do not believe in having grudges with anyone; we are all human beings and we are all in this world for a purpose. I do not see why one human would hate another for a small misunderstanding. Taurus are actually helping me out in promoting my work. I do not want to get to the part of why I quit and if I paid because that is what caused the whole friction between us.
You and Khaligraph go way back and ‘Rider’ was not the first collabo with him. What is the difference between working with him now and when you first collaborated?
Khaligraph and I have known each other for a while. When I got married and started focusing on my personal life, we lost touch.
‘Rider’ is much more serious compared to our first song ‘Kung’ang’ana’. In the first collabo we just hit the studio and dropped some lines; the vibe was casual and we were just having fun. But this time it was all about work.
The ‘Rider’ video had many people talking, what made you eat raw liver and did you deworm after?
It was the director who came up with the whole concept of the liver. Controversy sells, so we wanted to have an interesting video. Videos have to be interesting in order for someone to like them. No one got sick after and no, I did not deworm.
The Kenyan rap industry is blowing up, where can you rate yourself among the female emcees?
I rank myself at an international level and that is where I’m working towards. Things are going well. Let me not cartegorise and just say a rapper is a rapper. When we dropped ‘Rider’, I was judged as a rapper and not a female emcee. Unfortunately, in Kenya most emcees do not take it seriously.
Rap is not about beef. If they take it seriously, rap can pay your bills. People here like to beef and yet they lack talent. You must have that talent to rap and be categorised as one. I have never called myself a rap queen or an empress, my fans do that.
So do you say that Kenyan female rappers do not have talent?
I’m not a local brand and that is how I have set my mentality. Everything I do I want it to be perfect. I’m a perfectionist.
Given a chance, which female emcee in Kenya would you collabo with?
Right now I wouldn’t mind working with any of them. I believe that at the end of the day, everyone has their own standard.
You do not sing much about Coast in your songs, why?
I did a song called ‘Tuko Chonjo Mwanagu’. I have so many coming and I don’t have to keep mentioning where I come from every time I sing. At the end of the day I am an artiste and I express myself the way I know best.
How is the talent in Coast?
Unlike Nairobi, Mombasa community is not as open. They are more enclosed and tend to keep to themselves. I started from there and I do not think there is anyone from Coast who is on the same level as I am right now. Having been exposed, I will try my best and see what I can do to help them grow.
Do you think the industry has changed since the days you started?
I believe that back-in-the-day it was much better. I wish I was serious when I started out because, when you look at the industry now, everyone wants to be an artiste. You will find most of the artistes now do not have any talent but they have connections. People with talent and no connections will be sidelined, and the ones with connections will get the opportunities.
As a mother, do you allow your child to watch your video’s?
No, obviously not. But when you check my videos they are labelled – that it is explicit and it is meant for adults only. But I have both versions for those who are underage to watch.
Speaking of children, any plans to add more?
No, not for now.
What’s next for you then?
I’m more focused on my singles and some international collabos coming soon. An album will have to wait. I have a collabo with a Tanzanian artiste coming out soon.
A Nigerian collabo is also in the works and a Chinese, American and European too. Watch this space.