In 2016, rapper Collins Majale, known by his fans as Collo, announced that he had seen the light and had become a born-again Christian. And since the rapper had been MIA for a while, many were pleasantly surprised when he resurfaced with a new single, a gospel song, which re-affirmed that he had indeed left the secular music world.
His hit Bazokizo, that saw him win Collaboration of the Year at this year’s Groove Awards, was a sure sign that his rapping skills were still intact.
In the first verse of Bazokizo which he sang with Bruz Newton, Collo raps “Ulimi bado ridhe risasi ziko” which loosely translates to ‘my tongue is still a gun and I have bullets’ in apparent praise of his rapping prowess.
But he’s careful not to take all the praise; “It’s not about the gift, it’s about worshiping God,”
Collo is a very self-assured rapper and is confident to the point that he thinks Bazokizo should have won even the female artiste of the year award. Quite bizarre, but he explains:
“There’s a dancer called Corazon, she is 22, has two children and lives in Dandora. She was exceptional in the Bazokizo video. I was touched by her story that we decided to share the money earned from the song with everyone involved in the production,”
The veteran rapper is full of praise for the growth of local music industry.
“We have never standardised art, it’s the reason why other countries are doing better than us. But overall, we are not badly off, this is a good time to be an artiste in Nairobi and I feel privileged,” he says.
He, however, says that he does not want to be labelled a gospel rap artiste because ‘secular or gospel are just labels’.
“It’s not about the names we give to what we do, it’s about our actions. This is what has affected many Nairobi people… ‘si huyu ni gospel artiste, anafanya nini kwa club?’ I’m a servant of God and I’ll use my gifts for Him,” Collo.
So why did the former member of the Kleptomaniacs rap group decide to turn a new leaf?
“The flesh, it’s hard, it’s tricky, there are those who struggle with the body, others the soul, and some the spirit. We are only human, but you can only use that line for so long,”
But he says getting saved is the best decision he has ever made because he “feels like a new man now more than ever.”