Last year Gee, one of Gambia’s most famous and controversial rappers, announced his self-imposed exile from the music scene.
“Gambian music is wasting my time,” he said. He then listed the things his time as Gambian musician could hardly provide: “Gambian music is not paying my bills, can't pay my daughter’s school fees, can't get me a live band and can't get me the proper contacts I need.”
Gee said he was going into business instead. “Only miracles can bring me back,” he said in an interview announcing his decision after noting the even the Gambia’s biggest music festival Open Mic paid performing artists poorly.
All of that now has changes as Gee, born Gibou Balla Gaye, is back to the music industry. To celebrate his return to the music scene that made his name, he will be headlining a concert slated for 23 July. In the time of his absence, reports alleged he walked out of an the Wah Sa Halat Music Awards ceremony after losing the hip hop category to OG Log.
The rapper has said that his return will not be solely as an artist. He will be doing more by tapping into entrepreneurship to give other artists a chance to perform and earn money. He took the opportunity to talk about the problems of the Gambian music industry.
“If one of the country’s biggest artistes isn’t under any label that’s a problem,” he said. “There exists lack of structuring, those in the position to make these things happen aren’t playing their roles right. I can go on and on about the problems dogging this industry. The bottom-line is I thought it was beyond repair.”
Last year, he compared the Gambia scene to the thriving Nigerian music scene: “Look at Nigeria as an example, an artist is paid recently over 80, 000 dollars to be an ambassador to a company,” Gee noted. “These are some of the things I am talking about. So when I saw that companies were not willing to do that in The Gambia and promoters and event organisers don't want to pay much, I felt Gambian music was a waste of time.”
On social media, Gee has been critical of the manner of sponsorship in the Gambian music industry, writing that, “[Gambian] companies from telecommunications down to banks would support events with foreign artists on the billing without hesitation but to even read a 3-page proposal from a Gambian artist seems like a waste of time and resource.”
Gee: The Comeback concert will be held on 23 July. Venue: Pencha Mi Hall at Paradise Suites Hotel, Banjul, Gambia. For tickets, call (+220) 2015166, 7072826, 2591586. Regular D250; VIP, D500; Advance, D200.