4 September 2017

Namibia: Kp Illest Launches Debut Album

In an intimate affair that saw media and invited guests gather at Bolster Restaurant in Windhoek last Thursday, artist KP Illest officially launched his debut album titled 'Price of Ambition'.

Describing the offering as a platform to bring social issues that plague the nation to life, KP expressed that the journey was no simple road.

"It's not easy to take criticism," the star said. "But it's up to me and me alone. You can have promoters behind you, but the person has to have the ideas. Your team can only take you so far."

But it was the announcement of KP's renewal to Mshasho that had the audience excited. Speaking on the label and what it does for him, KP said: "Ever since I was a child, I was always watching the Namibian music industry. I listened to Kavax, Qondja, Oom Puff, etc. And I realised the biggest thing about record labels is maturity. They are navigating the industry. Labels have made mistakes, but it's all about knowing and understanding the industry".

Although the aim is to eventually be financially stable, the rapper expressed that the reason he stayed at Mshasho was about more than that. "It's the mindset behind the label. I don't get my creativity controlled. And I would rather sign to a label who gives me mentorship than someone who makes me money."

Fans may have had to wait a couple years for the delivery of his debut album, but KP's primary goal was to deliver 14 tracks of good quality music and pay homage to his past as he grew up in a family heavily influenced by jazz. "It was a mindset change. You can truly learn something from everyone."

Features on the album include The Dogg, Sam-E Lee Jones, Skrypt, Lioness, Ann Singer, Nga-I, AliThatDude, Oteya and The Family. A song with Nasty C was supposed to feature as well, but it was scrapped along with four other tracks.

However, KP said he draws inspiration from the words of the South African rapper: "Music is you reflecting society back to them".

And while the album is already generating buzz thanks to the public launch on Friday night at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre where both Lioness and Skrypt delivered impressive performances, it's the 'Start A Star' campaign that truly sets the rapper apart from the rest.

The initiative invites upcoming artists from any genre to spend three months at KP's studio where he will provide the necessary guidance needed for their growth.

"I have a fully functional studio and equipment, so I want to take on an aspiring artist and facilitate them. I'm not trying to be a mentor, but act as a facilitator. It's a launching platform that is meant to grow people."

Hardly genre-specific, KP has ensured that his production skills are top notch. "I can produce, mix and master any quality song. But it's up to you as an artist to make it sellable. For example, I feel like we don't have enough pop music in the country."

Recording an entire album can be expensive, but KP hopes to lower the costs and assist artists in making great music. "I can't promise someone an EP, but I want to help give my skills just to start someone off."

With major plans in the works for where he wants to take himself in future, KP is hoping the album and the initiative will attract more success, money and a legacy for generations to come.

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