HHAP Episode 30: Hip Hop Producer Duke on Boombap & Hip Hop Production in Tanzania

This is an interview with Tanzanian hip hop producer Duke, founder of M Lab records, Tamaduni Muzik, and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). The interview is mostly in SWAHILI, but we switch back & forth a lot. The Hip Hop African podcast celebrates the various elements of hip hop, but this is our first interview with a hip hop producer.

Duke talks about how he became involved in hip hop in Tanzania, his involvement with the founding of Tamaduni Muzik and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cyphers) they used to host. These cyphers used to bring hundreds of youth from around Dar es Salaam to listen to the DJs, hear MC rhyme, participate in cyphers, buy hip hop fashion made by local artists. Duke also talks about issue of copyright and the art of sampling and the role of the producer in hip hop. We also discuss sounds, the role of the boom bap sound, as well as chopping up other sounds to create a unique sound that represents Tanzanian hip hop. He also talks about the top five artists outside of Tanzania that he would love to work with, as well the directions he sees hip hop in Tanzania going today.

Haya ni mahojiano na Duke, prodyuza wa muziki wa hip hop Tanzania, mwanzilishi wa M Lab Records, Tamaduni Muzik, na Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). Mahojiano yako zaidi katika SWAHILI, lakini tumechanganya na English kidogo. The Hip Hop African Podast inawakilisha nguzo mbalimbali za hip hop, lakini haya ni mahojiano yetu ya kwanza na prodyuza wa hip hop.

Duke anazungumzia jinsi alivyohusika katika hip hop nchini Tanzania, kushiriki kwake na kuanzishwa kwa Tamaduni Muzik na Hip Hop Kilinge. Kwenye Kilinge, vijana vyengi kutoka Dar es Salaam walikuja kusikiliza muziki uliochezwa na DJs, kusikia sauti ya MC, kushiriki katika cyphers, kununua bidhaa za mitindo ya hip hop. Duke pia anazungumzia suala la hakimiliki na sanaa ya sampling na jukumu la prodyuza katika hip hop. Tulizungumzia pia sauti ya boom bap, na pia kuchop sauti nyingine ili kutengeneza sauti ya kipekee ambayo inawakilisha hip hop ya Tanzania. Pia anazungumzia kuhusu MCs watano wa nje ya Tanzania ambao angependa kufanya kazi nao. Pia tulizungumzia muelekeo wa Hiphop ya Tanzania katika nyakati hizi.

When the East is in the House…

Always wanted to hear the classic Blahzay Blahzay song “Danger” in a hip-hop track from East Africa. This is a video of images and footage of East African hip hop artists (Tanzania, Uganda, & Kenya) with “Danger” playing in the background.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 23 Mejah & Malle Marxist

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 23 – Mejah & Malle Marxist. Both of them are not only hip hop artists (graffiti artist and MC) they are also serious about knowledge. This brings in the most important element hip hop: knowledge. Knowledge of self, speaking truth to power. Mejah and Malle are different, but both have knowledge that they share through their music and their writings. Few hip hop artists do their art, and write.

I wanted to end (a week early) with this element because it is so important. When I asked Mejah and Malle to write essays for a book (coming soon!) on hip hop in Africa, they both wrote great pieces on hip hop in Tanzania. It was beautiful because it shows people who don’t understand hip hop culture, that it is more than just the music. And that a lot of hip hop heads and artists can articulate the messages behind the art.


*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 11 Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher)

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 11 – Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). Every Saturday in Dar es Salaam over 100 hip hop heads from around Dar come to the New Msasani Club for the Hip Hop Kilinge. The Kilinge was started by Tamaduni Muzic artists a couple of years ago. Kad Go hosts and DJ Texas spins. Kilinge1The weekly event features a brief discussion and history of hip hop culture by some of the city’s best emcees. The crowd gets to hear a variety of hip hop and gets to see several local artists perform.

Kilinge3 Kilinge4


*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.

Video of Nikki Mbishi @ Lyricst Lounge

Nikki Mbishi @ the Lyricst Lounge event at Club 327 in Dar es Salaam.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 1

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 1 – Hip hop super producer Duke. One of the hardest working heads in TZ hip hop. He’s got his own distribution company and is a major part of Tamaduni Muzik and the weekly Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher) in Dar es Salaam at the New Msasani Club. It was hard to get him to agree to step in front of the camera, and even harder to fit into his schedule. But his love of vinyl & different types of music set him apart from most. 

Duke on Twitter


*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.

Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher)

Hip hop in Tanzania stands strong through events like the open mic night at the New Msasani Club in Dar es Salaam. Every Saturday night artists come from around the city to freestyle and perform. Most nights begin with a discussion of hip hop history. Tanzanian hip hop heads discuss the emergence of hip hop in New York City and its main elements. The night this was recorded they discussed what they felt were the differences between rappers and emcees, as well as between an MC and an emcee. They then moved into a freestyle competition in which several emcees competed to be the last two standing. Once the final two were selected they proceeded to battle it out, with the winner taking money that was collected during the show from the audience.

**The videos are in Swahili with no subtitles”