Make it Right is a collaboration between Muthoni the Drummer Queen (MDQ) and Swiss hip hop producers HOOK and GR! It’s a future-retro anthem that’s unstoppable, from first beat to outro-chorus! Listen to the song and check out our interview with Muthoni below!
For those that don’t know, who is Muthoni the Drummer Queen?
I am a singer, a rapper and drummer born and raised in Kenya. I am also a festival & concert creator, organizing my own festivals in Kenya/Uganda.
What’s the current cultural climate like in Nairobi, and who should we be watching out for?
It’s a mixed bag. Kenyan artists have been struggling for years with self-definition and are obsessed with the need for a sound. Watch out for me and Blinky Bill – producer/DJ/singe – and a DJ-Producer crew called EastAfrica Wave.
In terms of musical influences and styles, which territories are artists from Nairobi drawing inspiration from, mostly?
Tricky question. Pop artists are currently trying to borrow from Nigerian artists. Hip-hop artists are massively influenced by America, though in all fairness, almost everyone is. Me, I’m trying to use my Kenyan ethnic roots to inform the creation currently underway.
Do you think there is a musical dialogue going on between African and European music, at the moment?
Hmmm. Yes. I know some British independent labels have been creating Dub, Drum & Bass using Benga music from the Luo community in Kenya. French labels have often collaborated with artists from West Africa. Perhaps this is dialogue??
And you’re definitely a part of it as well, right?
So how did you meet HOOK and GR!?
We were introduced to each other by our mutual friend, DJ Cortega, who grew up with GR!. Cortega was working and living in Nairobi for some years.
Was it like a musical love at first hearing or what?
Yes, pretty much. We were having a music and chill session at Cortega’s house and he played me some beats that GR! and HOOK made. I loved them! So, Cortega and I started to think about making it possible for me to get over to Swizzo, to meet the guys, and to record some music, if we clicked. And then it happened, in June 2013.
Make it Right has such a timeless feeling about it, as if it was always around – do you hear that as well?
It’s a very good way to put it. I haven’t considered that view. Thank you.
What’s the story behind the track? How did it come about?
There really is no story, and I’m starting to feel embarrassed that there is no deep back story. GR! & HOOK sent me the track. I liked it, it reminded me of James Brown or Etta James or something from that time. I recorded a sketch and sent it to them via whatsapp. They liked it. And then we finished the song when I came to Switzerland for the summer.
Originally you weren’t really convinced about the tune, why is that?
I am still not convinced. I don’t think I have the voice, or the correct understanding of that style to pull it off. But here we are!
Will we be able to see the song performed live at some point?
Yup. Stolze Festival and Festi Neuch on the 4th and 11th June, respectively.
Do you think GR! and HOOK will have a little choreography when they’re on stage with you?
We have a really cool show together. And they come on and dance, rap quite a bit with me!
Anything you’d like to say in closing?
Thank you for the opportunity to share the not-story of this song! I hope it blows up big! GR! and I have a bet going about this.
Thank you for taking the time for this.