By Abraham DJ Baby Boy Kamara
Back in 2008, bucks of the music on the Liberian airwaves were foreign songs, and the few local ones were mostly about politics.
Such a condition contributed to international songs controlling airwaves and nightclubs for a substantial amount of time.
But thing soon changes after KzeeBigname, a musical lad, who once lived in Ghana as a refugee dropped his self-produced album Kakaleka Babies, which became an immediate success across the country— the first non-political hit song in post-war Liberia.
In it, Kzee tried everything – rapping and singing, over a new kind of Gbema beats, rendering the album a hit. Gbema, which is the modern form of traditional Liberian incorporate lots of congos, bongos, kick drums, rhythm guitars and bass sounds to increase the tempo of the song. It beats are fast, but the singers sing slowly to relax the song.
Though Kzee is not the first Liberian artists to become active in Gbema music, he is responsible for the re-emergence and popularization of the genre in Liberia’s post-war music history.
“Instead of trying to mimic or Africanized western music, Kzee modernizes Gbema’s sound to make it modern-day acceptable with the introduction of soul-touching melody,” said Weego Zico, a veteran Liberian disc jockey, who work with HOTT FM.
DJ Weego Zico added: “Kakalaka was an immediate success because it incorporated several lyrical changes, particular, Pidgin and dialect, as well as rhythms that make the tunes extremely danceable. This was what people were looking for—a cheerful, midtempo, and bass-filled local music, free of politics. “
As the song popularity grew bigger and bigger every month, it became a staple on the airwaves, for more than six months; thereby making him the first non-political post-war Liberian musician to achieve such a status.
Not long after, the song also became nightclubs staple.
Two years later in 2010, after the success of Kakalaka, Kzee release another banger title “Kountry Chicken”, which when on rocking the country for more than three months. Again in 2012, Kzee returned with another hit single “Chicken Saloma” featuring David Mell, and two years later, with another banger “Da Who Say” featuring JB of Soul Fresh.
These songs like Kakalaka became instant hits because of its potent lyrics, which are soulful to the ear and still relevant today.
“Kzee is the postwar Morris Dorley of Liberian music. Through Kakaleka, he redefines and increased the popularity of Gbema music in post-war Liberia music setting. Not just that, he inspired a new generation of artists to avoid Africanizing western genres.
“He didn’t only increase Gbema popularity, he redefines it sounds to meet the taste and desire of today’s music loves,” added DJ Blue, a Liberian media mogul, and owner of Bluelink record, one of the country’s top record label.
Dorley, a native of Bomi County and a Gola by tribe, fought against all odds and became the first Liberian musician to break away from the influence of American songs and recorded Liberia’s first ‘Afro-music.
Dorley, who is widely regarded as the father of Liberian music, is popular for the songs, “Grand Gedeh Oh! Oh!” and Who Are You, Baby. As a musical genius, Dorley led the movement that popularizes local songs and inspired a lot of musicians who came after him, whether male or female with his soulful and touching lyrics.
“It is not easy for an artist to maintain such a constant level but with Kzee, the situation is different. He is a genius and legend who continue to drop hit after hit since his debut a decade ago. Frankly speaking, KzeeBigname started the second renaissance of Liberian music,” added DJ J-mark, of Joy FM.
Born Feb. 19, 1988, as Kolando Baby Zulu, Kzee made his music debut as the co-founder and Vice President of the Liberian Refugees rap group in Ghana. Fast forward to the end of 2019, Kzee end the year with two hits singles “Frisky Tata” and “Yor Pastor Know” after taking a sabbatical from music.
Since his debut more than a decade ago, Kzee had so far released over 8 hits songs and collaborated on several hits track as well. He is also won numerous music awards since his debut in 2008.
Currently, the Liberian music legend resides in Australia and is still active musically since returning from break.