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Ras Kimono: Why I want to replace Fela in activism

Weekend Magazine: You’ve been quiet for a while. Why haven’t you been releasing new work?Ras Kimono: I was abroad for about six years. I produced…

Weekend Magazine: You’ve been quiet for a while. Why haven’t you been releasing new work?
Ras Kimono: I was abroad for about six years. I produced an album about two years ago, titled ‘Matter of Time’. But the internet has done a lot of damage to the music industry, not only in Nigeria, but all over the world as it helps pirates. So if you release an album now and you don’t have a good recording company to market it, you are doomed.
I’ll soon release the album I mentioned earlier. In it, a lot of the songs tackle topical issues. Man may be building skyscrapers, but it’s a matter of time before the wrath of God will come upon us. In Lagos city, a lot of people sand-fill the beach and buy the land and build mansions but they never think that someday, there could be disaster.
WM: When would you say is the most memorable moment of your life?
Kimono: That would be when my wife bore our twins. And I was shouting for joy, I thought the whole world would hear me. But after a couple of weeks, we lost them and since then I’ve been looking for twins.
WM: Can you tell us how you met your wife?
Kimono: I met her in the University of Lagos. I was a member of the Reggae Club there and there was a Reggae celebration going on when I met her. It was fun and we started courting and eventually became life partners.
WM: Are any of your kids following your musical footsteps?
Kimono: My daughter, Oge. For some time she was in Germany, where I took her to see another side of life with my cousins there. She currently is reading at the University of Abuja, where she’s becoming even more popular than me.
Our prayer is that let our children be better than us. Our fathers prayed let their children be better than them. So we say the same prayer. If she does good, she will be better than me, that’s what I’ve always told her. I also regularly remind her of the saying that if a young man washes his hands well, he will eat with kings.
WM: What’s the biggest misconception about yourself which you would like to correct?
Kimono: A lot of people think that because I’m a Reggae musician, I’m into certain things. I don’t drink or smoke. I’ve never smoked. I don’t do drugs either. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years. I eat fruits and fish while I drink water or juice.
WM: How do you get inspiration?
Kimono: From my environment. I live with people, speak with them and I know what they go through. I feel I speak for them, like their mouthpiece. It’s unfortunate that in Nigeria, we don’t have a vice of the people anymore. Everyone is just chasing money, instead of pointing out social ills and government’s excesses. Nobody sits down to say let me find out what is going wrong with this country, like Fela or Gani Fawehinmi, both of blessed memory. It’s a shame. So I want to be the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria.
WM: So you think there can be a replacement for Fela and Gani?
Kimono: I will be the one to replace them. Look around now, everybody is afraid to speak the truth. Even clerics are afraid to speak the truth, collecting money from politicians.
WM: When you released ‘Under Pressure’ years ago, the country wasn’t as bad as it is today. What can you say about the current situation?
Kimono: Some people say I’m a Prophet, but I’m not. Those born in recent times, despite having technology and all that, are doomed. They die early, unlike their forefathers who didn’t have the internet and all that but age gracefully. 

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