Bondeyee: Killa Ace talks beef with Gee, childhood in USA, debut album and more in exclusive interview

Bondeyee: Killa Ace talks beef with Gee, childhood in USA, debut album and more in exclusive interview

Killa Ace is a talented rapper, who has known since he was little that a career in hip-hop was for him. He was born in The Gambia and moved to the USA at the age of four, but his parents brought him back to the country ten years later for fear that he would be dead or jailed. 

Since his arrival at the age of 14, borom bondeyee has channeled all his energy into becoming one of the finest rappers in the country.  He is keeping up the momentum with his highly anticipated debut album set to be released on the 14th December, 2013. 

What’s On-Gambia had the opportunity to interview Killa Ace. We discussed among other things his well talked about beef with Gee, childhood in the USA and rap mbalax. Check it out; 

What’s On-Gambia: Why did you decide to use the name Killa Ace? 

Killa: Well the name Ace goes way back to school days in New York. I was called A.C. short for Ali Cham. But then I added E to make it ACE. We used to have rap battles in the park. There was a day when I was battling a boy name Charles, I literally ate him up. And those that witnessed it were like "Ace is a killer ". Then boom, I added Killa to the Ace making it Killa Ace. 

You are a strong follower of Baye Nyass, is that something you found in your family? 

My family are strong believers of Baye Nyass and Tariqa Tijan, but I entered the faydou after a friend enlightened me about Baye Nyass and his mission. I was going through tough times and I realized that following the teachings of Baye Nyass was the perfect remedy and exactly what I needed. 

Tell us about how you got your career started. Was music something you always wanted to do? 

Well, my late brother Mattar Cham a.k.a Mat Murder inspired and motivated me back in 1997. I always loved hip hop since I was a kid and used to rap a lot, free styling and competing and battling with my friends in the streets of New York, I was like between 11 and 12 years old.  One day, Mattar found me rapping some lyrics I wrote and he was like, keep it up, you going to be a good rapper, son. That was how it started. 

Would you say that it is easy or hard for a rapper to make a living from his craft in Gambia? 

Generally it’s hard for artist in to make a living from their music, not just rappers.  Looking at the scope of the music industry in the Gambia, even Gambia’s top artists aren’t eating from it.  Artists depend on shows, especially mixtape or album launchings, where they can capitalize and sell CDs to make money. Even the biggest annual music event in the Gambia, pays artist about 5,000 dalasi. So imagine how much they will get paid for minor shows. (That’s if they do get paid). Yes it’s really hard. 

How would you describe your style of rapping? 

My style of rapping = lyricism at its finest, raw hip hop. 

What is your opinion about rap mbalax, a new genre that is increasingly becoming popular? 

To keep it honest, rap mbalax to me is just cheesy, corny and irritating and probably the worst thing that came to the Gambian music scene.  It is like a forced genre, something which has been experimented in Senegal but didn’t last.  In fact the biggest rap mbalax hits from the Gambia got rejected in Senegal. I believe that most of the artist, who rides on such sounds, are like babies on the beats. Most of them wouldn’t stand a chance with it outside of Gambia, even in Senegal.  I was once watching TFM and they were playing a performance by one of Gambia’s top rated rap mbalax stars. They made mockery of the artist, discrediting Gambian musicians as a whole.  

Is it true that your parents returned you to The Gambia for fear that you might be involved in gang violence? 

Well that’s very true and in fact I was already involved. I was a young kid raised in the projects of New York, and living in the projects you are surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, etc. As they say, one becomes a product of his /her environment. I was very stubborn, clashing with the police and getting suspended from school. My mum realized that things were just getting out of hand and decided to bring me back to Gambia to see the real life and learn a lesson. 

Why are you controversial? 

I feel I’m just misunderstood. I don’t hide or beat around the bush when it comes to saying what I feel or expressing my thoughts. I don’t tolerate what many artists do tolerate.  In that case coming from an environment where people are afraid of the hard truth,  one is considered rude or an enemy. 

Do you consider yourself as one of Gambia’s leading rappers? 

Absolutely, without a doubt! 

You and Gee once had a fight outside a popular nightclub. What was the problem? 

Well it all started when I was having a conversation with Double OOZ, he was talking to me about the Clarification track (the first Gee diss song). He was telling me that the song was indeed nice but wanted us to be family and stop fighting. That was when Gee interfered and said, “you call that a clarification when it’s a diss song.”  He continued “that’s some bitch shit,” in a very aggressive manner and tone, so I did what I had to do and punched him away from me. His boys jumped in. 

Tell us about your recent beef. He alleged that you dissed his family in one of your tracks. What made you do that? 

Well, to keep it honest, he called for a lyrical warfare, which is something that I have been ready for. He rapped in one of his previous songs “The Heart of a Gee” a very disrespectful line aimed at me, he said “SA JALL JALLY YAAYE NGA SOL SA BAAD B NGA NAAN KURUUS”, (you wearing your mother’s waist beads around your neck calling it prayer beads). I knew it was directed at me, disrespectful to anyone who rocks prayer beads around their necks, mostly Talibeh Bayes and Baye Faals. I ignored and kept on doing me until he officially released his weakest diss track, that’s when I responded on my track “Get Of My … Bintou Gaye” I rapped, “go and put on your juju , your mum’s do voodoo , but that won’t protect you from the lyrical missiles that I’m sending to you.” 

So it was more like a lesson for him, considering the fact that his brother was once my best friend during the time when they were not in good terms. His brother used to tell me a lot about him, mostly negative. One thing about the diss was that my lines were more based on lyricism and his were more based on being rude and trying to hurt feelings. That’s why he used methods like mentioning my late brother, Mattar. 

According to some critics, you created the beef to boost your career. 

I was never fame hungry and was doing my thing ever since. My first track on him was called Can’t Be Together (Clarification). It was a response to a song he made called Together. In that song he was talking about how it used to be back in the days before he switched and mentioned a lot of things which were not true. I released Can’t Be Together two days after as a reply and to clarify what he said in his song before fans get the wrong picture. The song became a hit. He never responded, even though he made a couple of songs indirectly aimed at me.  Then he waited for almost nine months and then responded (meaning he got at me). Then me, being me, I got back at him and took advantage of the opportunity!!! I got to thank him for that (laughs). 

Who are your favorite Gambian artists? 

Hmmm, well I got to give it up to Jaliba Kuyateh, a veteran, a legend and he is just so great.

Most of the Gambian artists are really not my type. I also got to give it up to the hip hop artists doing great, such as KANASU Barz, Omid Wisdom, Straight from Jupiter team, and rappers from The Cypher Hip-hop movement. 

You have your debut solo album coming in December. Tell us about it? 

Well the name of the album is A.C.E (Another Critical Experiment).  It has been in the making for a while and is highly anticipated.  It’s a real life album with tracks the population can relate to.  Most of the songs are produced by an international Producer called Jaytix. 

When are you launching the album and what should we expect? 

The album shall be launched on the 14th December, 2013, at Alliance Franco. Expect one of the greatest albums to ever drop on Gambian soil. An album which if heard by “the right ears” will take me to the highest heights, proving that Gambia has some real hidden talent. An album that would remove all doubts from the critics of Gambian rap. 

Recently, you were in Senegal to represent The Gambia. What was it all about? 

It was an international hip-hop festival and I was selected to represent Gambia. It’s one of Africa’s biggest hip-hop festivals. More than 12 countries in Africa, Europe and America were represented.  I left a mark that Gambia has very talented hip-hop artists. It was shown on TFM and 2sTv. I built strong connections with my counterparts and am planning to return to Senegal to establish a strong Senegambian link. 

Any final words to your fans? 

I would love to thank my loyal and dedicated fans, those I know and those that I don’t know. I highly appreciate the support, being there for me and with me during the hardest of times. I’ve seen you all on the internet doing it big, I heard you on the streets rallying for me. My only advice is never fight or get into violence. I love you all to the maximum!!

To join the fan club you can call (+220)7046456 or join the A.C.E's group page on Facebook. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABTX-rC0h1U

 

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