THE FIRST DEAF RAPPER IN AFRICA, Lal Daggy Explains His Story & Is Looking Forward to Krip-Hop Nation's South Africa Tour
My names are Douglas Munyendo aka Lal Daggy, I am 25 year old. I am a performing deaf rapper and musician. Who is located in a country called Kenya at the capital city (Nairobi).
Before I get into my background I just want to say that I'm so excite to be apart of the upcoming Krip-Hop Nation's South Africa Tour from December 4th-26th!!
I mostly refer to myself as a “Musician who happens to be Deaf not a Deaf Musician.”
My family background has been full of hardships, loss and gain. At a tender age of 2years my parents separated, and then what followed next was a sickness that robbed me of my hearing at age 5. That traumatized me to the extent of emotional withdrawal and low self esteem. This situation was made worse when my Dad remarried, and my stepmother was not supportive of me because I was “not hers” and that I was deaf. But my father had my back and gave me hope in life, when he enrolled me to a special needs school called. Ouderaa School for the deaf located at Bondo Kenya. During my school life I made steps towards my dream of being a musician like my Idols Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and Akon. During this time in couldn’t get musical materials and had to sneak out of school to watch music videos and attend concerts.
However, I never knew how I would develop my musical interest because of my condition. My teachers and the people around me discouraged me about pursuing music, and begged me to follow a different career path. But I could hear none of it.
I could not hear some of the words but I could read lips, feel the beats while was on stage and of it. But most people around me discouraged me on following music as a career. Most of my support came from our sister school when they performed music and won most competitions. This motivated me to pursue music.
After secondary education, I decided to travel to Nairobi city, and enrolled at a local college for IT Lessons (certification).This program would take me one year, and then I would take on employment. During that same year (2012) I got a job at a water bottling company (Keringet) in Kenya.
I did this job so as to save money to one day record my music. I soon left this job for a car wash business with a few friends in a slum called Dandora Nairobi, where I formed a group called rude boys filled with former drug addicts. At this time I had saved up a small amount of money, and started looking for a studio to record with my group. I got an opportunity at our slum to teach the youth to dance. Through this opportunity, I reunited with some of my former school mates who introduced me to Sarakasi dome dance in Ngara Nairobi, where I was able to learn about music, performance and dance in my Deaf capacity.
At sarakasi dome dance, we were not only taught Yoga but got opportunity to learn many things. I met two prominent people named Kizito and Jared of project Signs media Kenya Ltd. They had a vision of nurturing Deaf musicians and create an entertainment company for the Deaf. They took me in and shared their music and starred to introduce me and a couple of my friends to various musicians and events happening in Nairobi.”
Lal Daggy proves that music is truly a word within itself a language we all understand. Being deaf does not lock him out of this world, nor stop him from speaking the language. He easily connects with his audience with his face, hands, arms and body as he did with the performance many events county his single Story for Champion and Crime.
It was very challenging to launch a music career. Many of the studios we went to turned us down, their questions reflecting their attitudes- how can you rap and you are Deaf? How will we sell your music and who will buy it? I realized that they had a negative attitude toward my disability and never at any moment looked at my possibilities,” he humbly says.
Nevertheless, his breakthrough came when Signs Media Kenya in collaboration with the Finish Embassy organized an event to mark the UN Day for Persons with Disabilities. They invited a Finish Deaf rapper, Signmark, who I performed with.
INS has been an inspiration to him to relentlessly follow his dream.
“I saw him performance, shared a stage with him and there and then I began to see how I could make it as a rap artist in Africa. He shared a lot of tips with me and I have never felt more confident that things would work out for me. I took my little savings of money and went to slum Dandora to look for a studio to record my music. I had by this time written 5 singles namely - proudly Kenya, My Life, born life, Never give up and miss mum however, the audio version were of very poor quality but I still performed them at various events around town. But this song is yet to receive massive air play because of the misconception media house seem to portray about persons with disabilities,” says Lal
Because of his strong desire, he has seen himself through several radios and TV interviews two newspaper articles since the release of his song. I met big celeb artist his nickname Nonini did help me with voice for my music song called of Story Ya Machampion on YouTube. “I am thankful to Nonini for accepting to work with me. His gesture goes a long way in changing the perceptions of many of the producers and musician out there to give a little more attention to musician with disabilities. I look forward to working with celebs like AKA South African, AY Tanzanian, Diamond Tanzanian, Kaka King Rabbit Kenyan in my upcoming album. I also hope to work with Akon and Wiz Khalifa in future. I would like people to be aware about persons with disabilities, I am look for a sponsor and with my support we support the disabled in order to make it.
I have 12 songs but I only recorded 8 songs with 5 video on YouTube –
- Proudly Kenya
- Make It.
With those few words I would like to thank those people in my life that supported me and encouraged me. I would also like to encourage artists like me facing different hardships that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
“Together with Signs Media Kenya we’ll be scouting for talents in Music, Dance and Comedy in deaf schools and institutes around the country. This is in a bid to start hosting a National Deaf artist in South Africa this year tour”
Parent with Deaf children ought not hide them or deny them the opportunity to be what they want to be. With support one can change the destiny of their child. Believe in us, support us excel in our chosen fields. I urge the public to support our local talent. We are proud of who we are,” he concludes. To support the Deaf imitative, like there facebook page Lal Daggy-Deaf Musician, tweet handle @KingDeafRapper and instagram @LalDaggy