Ready to become Gambiaâ€™s first internationally recognized rapper with gigs in different parts of the world is US-based Sayâ€™hu. He was born in the United States, but spent much of his childhood days in The Gambia.
Unlike many rappers, Sayâ€™huâ€™s lyrics are mainly about life, the struggle and how to survive as an African. Few days ago, I was watching his video, Motherland and guess what? I kept replaying it to remember the lyrics â€“ so powerful and uplifting for an African like me, who left the motherland to search for better opportunities in the Western world. Check these lines:
These words were never said, so I take it upon myself
It is more than rhymes, considering how I felt
Africa's the dark continent, it really needs your help
People fighting, people dying, leaders greedy for its wealth
Everyone is scared to talk, but I can't keep it to myself
The more I grow, the more I know
The more I learn to resent
When it's all said and done
In this interview, the 20-year-old rapper tells Whatâ€™s On-Gambia more about himself, his music, future plans, among other things:
Whatâ€™s On-Gambia: Tell me a little about yourself.
Sayâ€™hu: My name is Say'hu, and I'm a musician. I was born in Atlanta,USA but raised in The Gambia. After I graduated from high school at W.A.I.S (West Africa International School), I came to North Carolina to further my education at the Central Piedmont Community College.
I now go to UNCC (University of North Carolina) in Charlotte and I'm about to get my bachelors in Finance.
How did you come up with the name Sayâ€™hu?
Well, my real name is Saihou Ceesay. Being that I don't want people to mispronounce it, I decided to spell it differently for people to get it right. That's where Say'hu comes from.
How long have you been rapping?
I started back in high school, I think I was 16. It was all fun and games at that time though. I don't think my parents would've tolerated that. I started taking it serious like two years ago (When I came to America of course).
Where did your inspiration come from?
Well, before anything I was a music fan first, despite the genre or artists. I just wanted to do something that I love.
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with rap?
Oh yes!!! It was I think 2001 summer, when all my cousins came to the house for the holidays. At that time I was a reggae fan. Then one of my cousins, Raymond (he lives in Maryland, USA now) introduced me to a whole bunch of HipHoppers. First it was DMX, then it was Jay-Z I think. I just fell in love with it after that.
What has been your biggest achievement in music?
I mean I have achieved a lot so far, but I would say #TOS (The Other Side) was one of my greatest achievements. Not only did it put my name out there, but the feedback I had from it was just phenomenal.
Tell us about your current projects or activities.
Well I just wrapped up my second project. It is called "LivingRoomSessions: EP" and set to be released on the 16th August (right after Ramadan). Apart from that, Iâ€™m just doing more shows and more music for the people.
What sets you apart from rappers in The Gambia?
Yeah I'm a fan of a couple of them. Despite the fact that we're all young and ambitious, we all have different messages to spread. As for "what sets me apart", I don't know we'll just let the fans decide.
Did you ever listen to any recent song from the Gambia?
Yea, Bull Falleh Nyee by Gee and Jali Madi and also I watched Manding Morryâ€™s video Nna Kamma. Theyâ€™re doing good!
How do you intend to introduce your music to Gambians?
I think Iâ€™ll have to go out there, and feel the energy of the people (what they're into). Even though I have a couple of radio DJ's spinning some of my songs, I still don't know how people react to it. Believe it or not HipHop is not that much appreciated in Africa nowadays, but we'll see.
What is your ultimate life goal?
I just want to inspire everyone with my music, and hopefully be successful while I'm at it. I'm pretty sure if you ask me this question again in the near future, my response will totally be different from this.