Juliani and Lillian Ng’ang’a last week were a topic of discussion on social media after trolls compared the rapper with former Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.
Juliani responded by trolling back before he issued a video statement explaining why he is broke but not poor. This was after Lillian Ng’ang’a had issued a response of her own, dismissing the internet slander as shallow.
The couple spoke in a tell-all interview with the Sunday Nation and below are some excerpts.
Are you guys broke?
Juliani: (Laughs for a while) What is being broke? Everyone is ‘broke’ (laughs).
Why the tweet though?
I decided to have fun because some people had been making fun of me, so I also decided to play along.
So it is not that you are broke and you really need money for diapers?
That (putting out a tweet) is the last thing I would do in such a situation if it came to pass. I have people, a close circle of friends, who have been with me all through my life, who I can call and share such situations with.
(Lillian chips in): Do we look broke? Anyway, we don’t have any reason to explain to people who are not in our life how we are doing.
As long as you have a roof over your head, you are healthy and not sleeping hungry, the child is alright then what else do I need?
Music has been like your main occupation and it has been long since you dropped a hit, what is going on?
I don’t release hits anymore. That was then when we were making entry into the music scene.
Nowadays, I don’t do music for hits or to get an audience because I already have. I do music because I have something to say or communicate.
But how do you make money then?
The problem is not about making money but how to build a business that is sustainable. Like last year I did two gigs and I ploughed all the money into the projects.
Anyway, I still get gigs, get to consult on creative direction, business development and concerts here and there.
But doing two concerts in a year, does that bring enough money to sustain the life of a celeb?
Kwani mimi sikuli sukuma wiki na ugali kama wengine? (Don’t I eat ugali and plain vegetables like ordinary Kenyans?)
I am cheap to maintain. My life is very simple, so I don’t need much to sustain myself. What matters to me is how to create value over time that will be beneficial to me, my family and the country.
I am a smart fellow and I know my way around, so I can survive. I have debts of course just like any other person trying to build a business.
To Kenyans, you are a celeb and there is a certain kind of life they expect you to live….
I am not the kind of person who needs to show off how I am better than others.
But do the trolls in social media concern you?
I don’t feel anything. The only problem is that people focus on the trivialities instead of the major things like the projects I have been doing and my upcoming album.
Tell us about the projects
I am five years into a 10-year-project that I have been rolling out. There is Taka bank which involves creating value around waste.
There is My Msanii where we are trying to facilitate creatives like artists to do more music by giving them loans against their songs and so on as well as the Dandora Hip Hop City project.
Has it been too hectic with a son in the picture?
There is nothing unusual. I had plans and I won’t change them just because I now have a child. My problems are with how to build my business and improve on the plans I had even before I met Lillian.
Anyway, does it hurt you when you are compared with the ex-governor, your wife’s former partner, and insinuations that she is suffering?
(Laughs) Let her suffer in love. All I can say is that everyone needs a comfortable life but in our case, we don’t need much. I have my wife and child, what else do I need in life?
Do you think being famous in Kenya is a pain?
I think it is a good thing. When I was in Dandora nobody cared about me unlike now. It’s good when you are famous.
For me, I enjoy it. I had a worse life growing up but right now, I am living a perfect life compared to what I was going through 15 years ago.
How has life been with Lillian?
Perfect in some sense. It feels nice to be with someone who cares, loves and wants the best for you.
Going home to someone or having a reason not to leave home makes the experience complete for me.
We are always on our honeymoon even on bad days. There will be personality clashes but we are always on honeymoon as this is someone you want to be with and is not like you were forced to be with her.
Do you think you have proved the naysayers wrong?
There are people who thought we were just playing games and the relationship won’t head anywhere but we have proven them wrong. We even lost some business opportunities along the way.
Did you also lose friends because of the relationship?
No way. My core friends are not that petty. We are still going strong and they have been with me in every step and supported me even at the wedding.
I have few friends and I think they are not more than five. I don’t need many of them anyway.
Are the threats to your life still there?
In plain sight, no, but I am still watching over my shoulder. Emotions were charged then so that might have caused the threats.
Nobody knew what was going on and we thought falling in love was enough kumbe it wasn’t.
Not everyone takes it as simple as it comes and some want to have a reason for why things are the way they are.
Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with falling in love. We have clocked for almost a year now.
How has fatherhood been?
The mother has been doing much of the work with the baby and I have been much like a spectator (laughs).
On a serious note though, I love being with the boy and doing those basic things like changing the diapers and playing with him.
He is a cool kid and it is a privilege to have him and I want to be there for him.
Did you guys sit and plan about getting a child?
(Breaks into hearty laughter) Ni bonyoks (it just happened). There is nothing like the right time.
It (getting the child) wasn’t planned. Everything we did we didn’t plan. It was about life taking its course and we are enjoying it. Even our relationship was not planned.
How hard is it to co-parent with your ex (actress Brenda Wairimu) yet you now have a child with Lillian?
She understands. The hardest part is trying to be the best father for both children.
Have the two met?
Yes, they have and even my daughter (Amor) knows she has a brother.
Any lessons about relationships?
I have learnt that life is always not about me. We (with Lillian) have both strong personalities and unlearning that life doesn’t have to often be about me is still a work in progress.
What is next for Juliani apart from the projects?
I am just trying to be a good father and husband.
Lillian speaks about motherhood, the pregnancy, her projects well as her plans.
What have you been up to since our last interview in 2021?
I can say I have been pregnant (laughs). I got pregnant and delivered my boy but besides that, I was involved in my project management work until May when I had to take some rest. And here we are.
Was this pregnancy planned?
No, it wasn’t. I feel like once you open yourself to the world, things just align somehow.
Nonetheless, it is very hard to find people sitting down to plan things like having a kid this month or that.
Social media trolls have pointed out that in your previous relationship, you didn’t have a child but in this one, the baby has come quickly…
Sometimes we cannot comprehend the reasons behind some occurrences in our lives. You are hardly in control of what happens.
Life is a mystery and you take it as it comes. However, the past remains in the past.
What was Juliani’s reaction when you broke the pregnancy news to him?
I had left him in the car when I went to the doctor, so when I got back, I gave him the results.
He switched off the car and went to the parking lot and laughed for like five minutes even though I was telling him my life was about to drastically change.
He continued laughing all the way to the house. He was very happy if I could say that. But I remember in our second meeting he told me he wanted to have a baby with me but I told him it cannot be because of the many “becauses”.
I could tell he was more than happy.