Viral song gets Gambian rapper fired

Rapper Killah Ace may have lost favour with his employers after releasing a song criticising the Gambian government. The song went viral and subsequently his radio show on Africell Radio, based in Gambia's capital Banjul, was taken off air.

Killah Ace. Photo: YouTube
Killah Ace. Photo: YouTube

The radio show, sponsored by telcom company, Africell, was created to promote hip-hop in Gambia. But his new song commenting on President Yahya Jammeh’s government, its excesses and the state’s corruption incensed the station’s management enough to pull Killah Ace’s catalogue from the radio.

‘Africell has cut ties with Killah Ace just because he speaks truth to power,’ a source in Banjul told Gambian Freedom newspaper. ‘They are threatening staff not to play his songs again on the radio.  Even the radio show Killah Ace used to host with them and musical files, he had on their system have been deleted. Africell is an extension of the corrupt Jammeh regime. Jammeh is behind this blacklist imposed against Killah Ace. All local stations in The Gambia have been warned not to play Killah Ace’s songs.’

Prior to the estrangement between rapper and radio station, Killah Ace was in the employ of Africell. He was made presenter to advance rap in the West African country. The company also sponsored rap battles, a veritable ground for up and coming rappers to prove their mettle.

Killah Ace, who now lives in Dakar, Senegal says he is unaware of any change in his relationship with the radio station. He told Freedom newspaper: ‘I have not received any official communication from Africell. But I saw the same story published by Whatson Gambia alleging that Africel has banned all my songs from being played on their network. I would hope that is not true as it will be a form of retaliation against me for exercising my freedom of speech. But I cannot confirm or deny the story at this time as I do not have any first-hand knowledge about it.’

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