Origin: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top 10 Playlist
1. Young Jeezy – “Jeezy Like To Drink”
2. Rick Ross – “Magnificent”
3. Mat & Kim – “Daylight”
4. Ninjasonik – “My Kids Cant Eat No Fame”
5. SpankRock – “Touch Me”
6. Lil Wayne ft.Nikki Minaj – “Cant Stop Won’t Stop”
7. Buraka Som Sistema ft. M.I.A. – “Sound of Kuduro”
8. Zakee Kuduro ft. Anbuley – “Duade”
9. Drake feat. Santigold & Lil Wayne – “Unstoppable”
10. New Boyz – “You A Jerk”
HipHopWired: Zakee, what’s going on man. Tell the world a little about yourself. What is your background and how did you get started?
Zakee: Well I actually started out DJ’ing. I used to throw parties at Howard [University]; little house parties and stuff like that. I guess I kind of got led into it when I started actually teaching in Philly for a second, I was an eleventh grade teacher and I used to throw parties and stuff all the time. Then I just started making beats and I guess one thing led to another. Next thing you know a lot of my music got circulated in the Baltimore club scene and the Philly party scene. Then, I guess from there I linked up with this girl named Rye Rye and it just kind of trickled down from there.
HipHopWired: Ok, ok. So what are some of you musical influences?
Zakee: I guess you can say Salam Remi, Mark Ronson, of course Timbaland.
HipHopWired: Do you still DJ?
Zakee: Yeah I still DJ. I actually just got off of the Sneaker Pimps tour. I did couple shows for J.Cole from Roc Nation in Philly and DC and I’m about to go on tour again. I’m also working on tracks for MIA, Rye Rye, SpankRock, Buraka Som Sistema, Wale and many more.
HipHopWired: Ok. So when you spin, do you work clubs, parties, or what?
Zakee: I’m spinning at clubs and I’m doing a lot of house parties and a lot of electronic parties. I’ve been playing the New York scene pretty hard lately and I just came back from the UK, doing a whole lot of Shyte. So I guess you can say I’ve been doing the underground electronic scene really hard lately.
HipHopWired: What songs do you spin when you traditionally hit the club?
Zakee: I traditionally spin, well… to be honest I will drop some real dope Hip-Hop Shyte. I’ll drop Young Jeezy then I’ll go to something as weird as Santogold and then I might come back to something more mainstream. I’m really really all over the place, but the majority of the music that I play is world music so I can establish a tempo. I actually drop a lot of African music which has really been rockin’ lately. It’s been kinda crazy, like, I’ve been gravitating to that because those are the original drums and its crazy how for the longest time people were kind of like….nobody wanted to be African; everybody knew all of the African jokes. So African music has been the big thing lately.
HipHopWired: What is the story behind Ku Ku Bass?
Zakee: Ku Ku Bass is West African dance music. Ku Ku Bass is freedom music, it’s really really aggressive drums, it’s playing a whole lot of chants from West and East Africa and the whole point of the freedom music is…everybody has a cause. Its just so much Shyte going on in the world today, and its impossible for you to convey that message and just be whispering over the track. Freedom music is music to try to uplift the people in Africa and just Black people together. If you listen to Rage Against the Machine in the early 90’s, it’s a combination of really really hard, aggressive African drums with West African chants. Its really craziness, real 10th level kind of Shyte.
HipHopWired: Your work with artists from Africa is well documented. What do you make of the Hip-Hop scene out there?
Zakee: They’re really hungry. Like, if you remember the mentality when the Atlanta scene really started blowing up in 96’-97’ and everyone was really going hard, I can see the same thing out there. A whole lot of Shyte that they are talking about is even crazier than the stories that we have. We talk about selling coke and all that but these kids have been soldiers since the age of 8, you know what I mean? I’m not disrespecting anybody’s grind or anything but its crazy and I think that the world sound is really about to take over with the help of people like MIA, K’naan, and Afrikan Boy. It’s really kicking in the door and I guarantee that a lot of those artists are going to be on peoples radar really soon. They are making it fun for people to dance and be yourself again and that is what’s good about the African movement. It’s totally different; since I’ve been working on this Ku Ku Bass and have been going over there, I have been more proud to say that I am Black or more proud to say I’m African.
HipHopWired: When you’re spinning in clubs, do you find it difficult to mix the different genres that you do? Like when you were talking about jumping from Young Jeezy to a world music track.
Zakee: It’s not hard if you blend it. I don’t feel like I am doing anything that nobody else can’t do, it’s just gotta be blended right. Of course I have to check out the crowd; I’m not gonna be at a hood club playing stuff that is totally off the wall, but if I’m blending right and I’m putting different effects on it then it definitely works. I think right now people’s ears are open to so many different things right now; pretty much right now, if it’s hot it’s pretty much gonna rock and I’ve been playing that formula. I remember it’s a time where I would go to a club and have my whole set list and when I get there none of that s*it would even matter, I’d just be freakin’ it and that’s how the magic happens most of the time.
HipHopWired: Ok. So how did the situation with Green Owl Records come about?
Zakee: Well, I did the song for Rye Rye, and she is on MIA’s label and I got signed to Green Owl which is owned by her husband, so half the camp who was working on that album got split in half. So she went with N.E.E.T. and I went to Green Owl and it’s just been better with me because I get to work with the whole umbrella, Warner Music artists. I do Alternative, Rock, Pop, pretty much everything except Country.
HipHopWired: Were you signed as an artist?
Zakee: I’m signed as a producer artist right now.
PRODUCED BY ZAKEE KUDURO:
“Gangsta Girl” – Rye Rye
“Sane Eba” – Anbuley
For more info on Zakee Kudoro, click here.