JOSIAH Matengu popularly known as The Boy Jay (TBJ) is a seasoned underground rapper, who has staked his claim as one of the best lyricist to come from Namibia.
The 31-year-old, who released his first project titled ‘Absolute Absurdity’ in 2009, has since then released multiple projects including his latest offering titled ‘The Drive’.
Confidente’s Entertainment Reporter, Jeoffrey Mukubi (JM) caught up with the rapper to have an in depth talk about how his music relates to other peoples’ daily struggles and how his personal ambition has had an influence in creating his songs.
JM: What exactly inspires the messages in your music?
TBJ: My music deals with being a humanitarian, which simply means caring for the human race. I write my struggles and this relate with other people’s struggles or way of life.
As a skater, historian and political science student, I try to change people’s way of thinking through my music by evoking certain emotions that deal with social issues.
JM: Would you say that your emotions are a direct cause of the messages portrayed in your music?
TBJ: Yes, because I am strongly attached to history, music and skateboarding. If you listen to my music, it clearly depicts all the robust social ills that are not only seen or experienced in my community, but experienced in the entire world as well.
JM: What is your take on the current forms of art expression in Namibia, when it comes to social issues?
TBJ: I feel like the Namibian youths are doing their best to tell their own stories through the expression of art. For an example, Isabel Katjivivi, who is a visual artist, told a very heart-warming and true story through her exhibition titled ‘They Tried To Bury Us’ at the National Art Gallery of Namibia recently. This was a very sensitive issue of the OvaHerero and Nama genocide, but needed to be told. The Namibia Arts Fair, which is run by young and dynamic individuals, is another initiative that gives local artists a platform to express themselves in a way that depicts social issues Lastly a local short film titled ‘Unseen’. The film looked and took a stand on many social issues that Namibian youths deal with on a daily basis.
JM: In your opinion can music change the shape of any political climate?
TBJ: Of course! People like Fela Kuti had the whole of Nigerian military baying for his blood for making songs that defy their political will. All that the artists are doing is shedding light on issues that the majority of people cannot express in a different form. In my case, that would be the lyrics and the message in my music.
JM: What else do you do besides music?
TBJ: I am currently employed by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture as a history technician at the Independence Museum and studying towards a Master’s Degree in International Relations. I am also a skater and own the only Namibian skateboarding company. We sponsor local skateboarders to help the sport grow in the country.
JM: Anything else you would like to add?
TBJ: Ultimately I just want to play my role in writing and telling an authentic Namibian story as a young person living in Namibia.
I also want to change the status quo of how individuals can help the government shape our wellbeing in our country, with issues such as the land, genocide and public policy.
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