A young budding Kenyan rapper with the fervor to make a difference in the entertainment scene
By Catherine Kuria
The Kenyan music industry is overflowing with talent. The diversity of young and upcoming artists is putting our entertainment scene in the charts. Artists have a unique sense of identity that makes them stand out in a field characterized by cut throat competition. Long gone are the days when music was just a thing to pass time. The diversity in the different acts has brought a spiced flavor that that Kenyan music lovers can identify with.
However, behind all that glamour, fame and fortune is a lot of hard work that these artists put. Some artists toil and sweat trying to come up with club banger that never make it to the air waves. Breaking through in the industry, having a voice and a platform to showcase your art is no mean achievement. Derrick Mulla Cartel better known as Deezy Mulla is a Kenyan born rapper, producer, songwriter, marketer, strategist and web developer. He is the chief executive officer, Hotline Clique.
Deezy Mulla started his music career at the age of ten as a producer and songwriter. He took it seriously after his twelfth grade in 2011 before joining the university. “I took music production as my career because it’s something I loved and always wanted to pursue since I was a kid and my parents supported me,” recounts Mulla. He has worked with different record labels and various artists around East Africa and abroad by making for them music beats that accompany songs. He also writes songs for them.
He narrates: “I was getting paid for doing productions and writing songs. I had a plan of becoming my own boss. I started investing and in 2013, I was able to establish my own simple home studio where I could do most of my work.” From the look of things, he is a Jack of all trades and a master of all. Apart from being a music producer, he is a web developer, marketer and strategist. To him music is not just a form of entertainment to make money; music is a form of expression, a voice for the voiceless that communicates with a sense of finesse.
“Music communicates with the soul, it hits spots that the mere eye cannot reach, music quenches the thirst of the soul,” he shares with a lot of sentiments. In 2015, after spending long sessions in the studio working to perfect his art, he dropped his first track known as Like This. The tantalizing track talks about the hurdles that people go through in life. A few hours after hitting the airwaves, it became an instant hit. Deezy did not let the success of Like This get into his head. He dropped a couple tracks later and did collaborations with some of the leading names in the entertainment industry. After various shows and performances, he started saving for bigger projects that he intended to pursue. In January 2017, he founded Hotline Clique.
Inspiration behind hotline clique
Deezy says that Tanzanian recording artist Diamond Platinumz of Wasafi Records, American artists Mike Will Made It and Dr Dre were his sources of inspiration. From watching their songs, he realized that he could also do it. To him, music production isn’t just a career but something he wanted to embrace and use to inspire the world. He decided to start his own brand in Kenya that could produce music for different people besides supporting, promoting and mentoring talents locally, regionally and internationally.
Hotline clique is a registered entertainment company. It offers different services like marketing and promotion boost, creative designs, model management, artist management, event management, public relations, photography and branding. The company targets youths in the country and around East Africa, entrepreneurs and individuals in the entertainment industry.
“Our mission is to build a reputation of reliability on our ability to fulfill commitments and honesty in dealings to boost customers’ confidence and help support talents locally, regionally and internationally,” says Mulla. Their vision on the other hand is to provide the best service in the event and entertainment industry and to add value to their customers.
A brand sells depending on the exposure you give it. With the advent of technology ((specifically social media) , companies have found a free platform to market their brands to millions of social media users around the world. Mulla says that social media has enabled them to gain massive recognition. They post their branded items; advertise their events such as photo shoots and the results they have got since they commenced operations are overwhelmingly great.
The entertainment industry is full of cut throat competition. Artists try their level best to outsmart each other. It is not about what you do but how you do it. In a dynamic century such as this one we are living, individuals have to bring their very best to the table. Mulla says that his unique selling point is being authentic. He is honest to himself and he does not compete or imitate what others are doing. He goes at his own pace and has never desired to be like someone else. He further adds: “I arm myself with genuineness. I have never tried to be like someone else because the moment you do that, you lose your identity as an artist and more so, as a person.”
For Deezy, it has not been all roses without thorns. His greatest challenge has been lack of capital. An entertainment company is a business like any other and hence without capital, things cannot run smoothly. He says that he had to toil and give his all in order to get the starting capital to kickoff the business and also get funding to keep the business afloat.
He also got a lot of negative reactions and comments from people who said that he couldn’t make it. Some people (especially the older generation) have this notion set in their mind that a career as an artist is not worth pursuing. They think that in order for a person to succeed, one has to go to school and study to be a doctor, engineer, pilot or one of those “respectable” careers. People can excel in what they are passionate about as long as they put their mind to it.
Mulla did not let the negative critics and trolls deter him from living his dream. He cast a blind ear on them and forged ahead. His passion for making music kept him going. He knew he had a dream and that one day, that dream would become a reality. All those negative vibes around us should serve as our motivation. Channel all that bad energy you are getting and do something worthwhile with your life. What people say or do should never define who you are or what you become.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
Nothing comes on a silver platter. You must work hard to live the life that you desire. Mulla says that success begins when one learns to face and overcome challenges. “Do not be content with what you have already achieved but instead, take that as a starting ground to do even bigger things,” he says. “Take the risk and do not be afraid to fall because you’ll rise again. Most importantly believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one will,” he adds.
When choosing a career, he advises that one should go for what he or she cares and enjoys doing because it is a life long journey. “Do not let anyone tell you what and who you should become because nobody knows you better like yourself, “he quips. Often, people fail because they are afraid to face their fears.
In his own words
“I’m very thankful to all the die hard fans that have been supporting Hotline Clique since day one and may they keep up the spirit because it fuels our energy to nurture local talent in different parts of the country,” he ends.