Introducing BenaiA 1000 Words With The Man of Few Words

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There is nothing as amazing as the sound of great music that not only soothes your soul but also leaves you intellectually stimulated. In an era where musicians release an avalanche of songs and albums day and night, there can only be a number of them that fit the description above. 

And this number can’t be complete without the name BenaiA

A few days ago, I sat down with BenaiA; who is one of my favorite musicians and a long time friend,and we dug deep into his journey as an artist, his plans for the future and everything in between. Check out the full interview below! 

DP:Who is BenaiA? 

BenaiA: (Laughs). That’s a question I’ve never really known
the answer to. Who’s BenaiA really? I could say that BenaiA is the artist while
Benaia is the body that carries the voice of the artist.

BenaiA, your favorite artist! 

BenaiA is the ‘Man of few words’.
BenaiA is your favorite artist, that’s the only thing in my head right now.

DP: Actually that takes me to the next question : why the
name BenaiA?Why did you settle for BenaiA which is very close to your real

BenaiA: Well, you see; my favourite artists who are also
generally considered to be among the the best artists in the Hip-Hop genre use
their real names. Take for example Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Drake and Eminem
;these guys use their real names. Yes even, Eminem was originally M&M
which evolved from the initials of his real name;Marshall Mathers. So you see,
using my real name felt right coz I could blend the artist with the person. “And
the capital ‘A’ at the end?” That’s a great question… I’ll tell you later.

DP: Could you tell us more about yourself? You know, your
childhood, family and the likes?

BenaiA: First thing is that: I’m amazing. (Laughs). I have a
brilliant older brother and we have been raised by our mother. We are the sons
of Mwende! My brother used to rap while at 
the university as part of a rap group called “Those Guyz”. He’s one of
the first artists I actively listened to when I started listening seriously to
music back in 2012.

I remember writing my first ‘fake’ song about chapati back
in 2015 when I was in primary school.(Laughs). That was kinda like the eureka
moment for me as I realized that I was one of the chosen, blessed with a
volcanic pen and an atomic tongue for crafting exhilarating music.

As a matter of fact, I’ve written many songs but don’t
record them in order of writing yet. Take for example, SYMPTOMS! Which was the
first song I released back in 2018,was like the 40th track that I

Someone I can never forget to acknowledge and show gratitude
to on this journey is my cousin, Manu (“Msagha”). All the recording I do, I
have done with him, otherwise I’d most likely still have songs only in a book.

DP: What is the first track that you wrote?

BenaiA: The track is known as Actions Louder than
,which goes something like “I’m not good with words, but I’m sure that I’m
better with actions/So I make you feel good, I make you feel good, make sure
that you don’t want no fractions…”
.  I
actually have a number of song books where I’ve been writing my songs. They
were the most taken care of books while I was in high school. (Laughs).

I’ve not yet recorded most of my tracks but I do have plans
of releasing most of them in the future. However, I don’t know if ALL the songs
will be released coz some were formulated mindlessly during boring boring high school
classes (don’t tell my teachers), but hope is all we have.

DP: There are many music genres ranging all the way from pop
to Hip-Hop and everything in between. But how would you uniquely describe your
music style?

BenaiA: Based on what I’ve released so far, SYMPTOMS! Is
dancehall, TRICKY! Is Gengetone, FANTA PASSION! and TIKI TAKA! can be
categorized as a medley of gengetone and afrobeat, NECTAR is afrobeat, MBOGI is
a gengetone and rap mashup while my latest single ;Man of Few Words is
obviously rap.

 I would not like to
limit myself to a particular genre… I can do whatever, whenever, wherever. All
I need is a pen, paper and a beat.As a matter of fact, I got a Spanish song that I wrote using Google Translate!

 If I were to be a bit
more specific, I’d say my main focus is mostly on Hip-Hop/Rap and then afrobeat.

DP: Tell us about your latest single ;Man of Few Words. And
if I may ask, do you draw inspiration from William Shakespeare? Because you
kinda seem to mention him in most of your tracks.

BenaiA: Well, I remember when I was recording MBOGI, the ad
lib “WilliaM ShakehammeR” just came out of nowhere and I decided to adopt it
because why not? I also relate more to Shakespeare because I find my lyrics to
be poetic as they hold more meaning than what meets the ear, at least if I stay
true to what your typical English teacher would preach.

Therefore “WilliaM ShakehammeR” simply means being on point
lyrically as using a “hammer” to hit the nail on the head.

DP: Who’s Kxffy and BrayO? They seem to be frequent
collaborators on your tracks. Is Kxffy sort of your in-house producer?

BenaiA: OK, BrayO is my closest cousin. We have been
visualizing a future in music for as long as I can remember. Jumping and
dancing and lip syncing to songs in the house whenever he visited me and doing
many freestyles here or there that didn’t make any sense, but they was fire

BrayO, one of BenaiA’s frequent collaborators and a member of Misfits. 
[© @br.ayo]

That’s why I always like to work with him because of our great
chemistry and his indubitably exhilarating artistry. Actually, we have a track
we recorded back in November 2020 and I can tell you that it is a  ‘floater’.

I was introduced to Kxffy by my brother. We’ve been making
music together since last year but believe it or not I’ve never got to meet him
in person yet.

Kxffy, the greatly talented force behind the drums, strums and loops. 
[© @kxffywthestrup]

I Wouldn’t say “In-house producer”. I’d say it’s like the relationship
between 21 Savage and Metro Boomin or Kxffy is like a pot of gold that a whole
army of different artists benefits from. But… we have many projects in the
works.How it works is, he sends me a beat and I write the song and record it

DP: Tell us more about the Misfits Group. Who was the
mastermind behind it? Is the group still alive and if so, will there be a
reunion soon?

BenaiA: Misfits came up in an interesting way. Before I go
in, it is a given that BrayO is a member too. And we are all blessed by the
magnificent sounds bestowed upon us by the master producer KagetE. I had just
finished writing FANTA PASSION! While in high school and asked ChumbA and
GichukI if they would like to jump on the track. 

ChumbA; one of the Misfits members. 
[© @king.chumba]

also expressed
interest and added his verse to the track. We’ve released two tracks so far:FANTA PASSION! and TIKI TAKA! (God bless KagetE).Besides BrandoN’s work on
FANTA PASSION!, I usually used to write and assign Verses to the members
according to how I imagined it would sound best individually.

The main obstacle is that BrandoN and GichukI are in school
at the moment hence making it hard to get together and create. I’m sure we’re
going to step back in very soon.

DP: Would you have any interest in joining a record label if
such a chance avails itself?

BenaiA: At the moment, I believe a record label would have
more pros than cons to an artist like me who’s starting out.This is because the
label boots to a certain extent the music production, video production costs and
marketing costs.But the point would be to negotiate on a deal that wouldn’t be cutthroat and leaving me at the mercy of the big dogs.

DP: You’ve been dropping great singles like SYMPTOMS! and
Man of Few Words all through. Do you have any plans for a major project like an
album, EP or mixtape?

BenaiA: I recorded so many songs around November that I’m trying to get mastered and select the ones I’ll throw into the mixtape. When I’m finally ready to put out an album,  I wouldn’t want an album with just a random
agglomeration of songs, but an organized and connected flow of ideas. Take for
example albums like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and many Eminem
albums, these albums have are exquisitely crafted and each song is like a
continuation from the previous, coz  of
little things like skits and stuff. That’s how I’d want my projects to look

But one thing I can guarantee is that if all goes well,
you’ll get my first mixtape this year.

DP: Do you have any notable artist in mind that you’d like
to collaborate with in the future?

BenaiA: I’m always open to collaborations as I find it great
to share energies  with another person
who creates in their own ways and be able to come together and complement each
other on a beat that gives us the chance to conjure up something together. I
however would always prefer to collaborate with somebody who’s genuine in their
craft and has a satisfactory level of passion to the music.

Established Kenyan acts who would definitely be on  the top of my collaboration bucket list are
Chris Kaiga for the afrobeat vibes, Sailors Gang for my wild gengetone side and
Khaligraph Jones for the perfect Hip-Hop fusion.

DP: What are your thoughts on the rise of Gengetone, Shrap
and Drill Hip-Hop in the Kenyan music industry?

BenaiA: I think that even though Gengetone hasn’t really
really been as booming compared to its advent when the pioneering groups were
coming up around 2018 and 2019, it is such a great aspect of Kenyan music that
has great potential. About Kenyan drill,I don’t know too much about it, but seeing
the surge in Wakadinali presence, I can imagine it also holds great promise.
I’m not gangster enough to pursue drill, but give me a drill beat and watch me
give them ‘extra pressure’. I havent listened to Shrap enough to give  an opinion yet, but I’ll check it out soon to
give honest thoughts about it.

DP: As an up – and – coming musician, there are a myriad of
challenges that one goes through. What are some of these challenges and how
have you found your way around them?

BenaiA: My biggest challenge so far has been marketing.
Social media campaigns are not as effective in the marketing and that makes
exposure difficult as hell. I never really understand how some people blow up
on their first song really (Laughs). Right now I can only depend on my humble
fanbase that always does its best in making some noise with every release. I
love you all pls.

BenaiA; you better spell
the name right! 

DP: As we sum this up, could you share with us you favorite

BenaiA: I can’t pinpoint a particular favorite, but here’s a
few albums from recent times I would always play  on repeat beginning to end : Eminem’s Music
To Be Murdered By Side B
, Kendrick’s DAMN, Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s
Too Late
, 21 Pilots’ Blurry Face, J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive,
XXXTentacion’s “?”, 21 Savage’s Savage Mode 2 and The Weeknd’s Starboy. If you
want my playlist of songs I listen to, talk to me personally… I’ll gladly

DP: What are you’re final takes? Anything to tell the

BenaiA: The industry is in for a shock when I finally swoop
in and take it like it ain’t nothing. To anyone who will be reading this, human
or alien, chicken or cow:go and check out my music, trust me, you’ll love it!
Let my voice sweep you off your feet. Thankses. Pew pew! Skew skew! Yeah!

There you go…you got it right out of the horse’s mouth! (I know that’s cliché, but does it hurt? 😂) BenaiA is ready to take over the airwaves and I believe YOU need to roll with him. I’m a huge fan of his music and I can assure you without any shadow of doubt that his music is fiiire! 

So tell me, what do you think about this post? This is the first interview I’ve ever held and I would like to know how you feel about it. Drop your comments in the comment section below and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for you to get updates on fresh content here! 

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