Kenyan musician credited in Kanye West’s new album clueless on his ‘contribution’
American rapper Kanye Omari West has released his eighth album titled Ye and two Kenyans are listed as having contributed to one of the seven songs in it.
Legendary musician Ayub Ogada and his one-time bandmate James Mbarack Ochieng are listed as co-composers of Yikes, the second song in the album.
But Ayub (real name Job Seda), did not seem to recall exactly what input he had in the Kanye West song when the Nation contacted him.
“I’ve done so many projects. I cannot remember everything,” Ayub said on phone from his home in Nyahera, Kisumu County. “I cannot remember at what moment in time I did that job.”
His remarks implied that Kanye may have given Ayub and his compatriot credit for borrowing elements of one of his more than 150 songs.
“People use my music to do their own projects,” said Ayub.
Furthermore, he said he has not been in contact with James Mbarak Ochieng, the other Kenyan given credit for the song, for “nearly 10 years”, which means the two may not have actively participated in composing Yikes, a song that makes references to topics as recent as the 2017 “Me Too” campaign.
Ayub said of Mbarak: “We were in the same band. He is a wonderful musician, and a very clever man.”
He added that when they he last spoke with Mbarak, the latter was in London.
However, Ayub said that he has in the past been called to participate in various songs, either by creating lyrics or composing the beat or both.
“They always call me. I never call them. They call me, and then I do the necessary job,” he said.
In Yikes, Kanye details his struggle with drugs.
“Kanye takes listeners through his recent opioid addiction, which caused him to have suicidal thoughts and bipolar feelings,” says music review site genius.com.
In the album details, Yikes is listed as having been produced by Kanye and Mike Dean.
“It includes additional writing credits for Kenyan musician Ayub Ogada and collaborator James Mbarack Achieng, possibly related to a sample,” says an article on spin.com.
Kanye, 40, is married to socialite Kim Kardashian. He has sold more than 100 million digital downloads at and least 21 million albums worldwide since his breakthrough in 2002.
In the past, American musicians have been sued for incorporating beats from Africans into their songs without their consent, and listing of the two might have been a move towards avoiding future lawsuits.
Ayub’s music is unique for its natural feel, including the chirping of birds, sounds of animals and the voices of children playing in the background.
His most famous song Koth Biro (Luo for the rain is coming) was played at the Rio 2016 Olympics as Kenya’s athletics legend Kipchoge Keino received the Olympic Laurel award.
Other than travelling the world to play music, Ayub has also appeared in several motion pictures, including Out of Africa and The Kitchen Toto.
Additional reporting by Hillary Kimuyu