King 98, the South Africa-based Zimbabwean hip-hop artiste, who announced his arrival on the local music scene with a bang a few weeks ago, is going places.
His debut album, Francesca, unleashed onto the market on May 1 with support from heavyweights Davido, Nasty C and ExQ, is penetrating the region at a faster pace than initially anticipated.
The 21-year-old declared his intention to conquer Africa in grand style at the Apollo Arena in Lusaka at the weekend with a high-octane performance that left music fans awestruck.
The Zambian leg of the tour was the first in a series of shows that will see King 98 perform in Mozambique as well as Nigeria in the coming weeks.
Sharing the stage with South African mega star, Nasty C, King 98 justified his inclusion on the poster which also featured Ammara Brown, with a strong performance.
His set featured Alie Keys, Cassper Nyovest’s keyboardist, who supported the Zimbabwean with insane backing vocals.
On the decks was DJ Silence Dosh while two dancers complemented King 98 with unmatched dance moves much to the delight of scores of fans that thronged the venue. Zambian fans that spoke to this publication were amazed by how King 98 fused new age trap hip-hop with Afro-pop, something that left them believing that he indeed is the future king of hip-hop.
King 98 himself could not believe that Zambians actually knew his music as they sang along to songs on his debut offering released just a few weeks ago. He performed his collaborations with Davido as well as ExQ, songs which Zambians could not get enough of.
His song, Go, also sent the crowd into ecstasy, showing just how much his debut album has penetrated the Zambian market. If his team doubted just how much of a star he is fast becoming in the region, the attention he got from radio and television stations must have given them a wake-up call.
He was stormed with interviews from Power FM Zambia, the biggest youth radio station in that country, Power TV as well as Diamond TV. King 98’s handlers confirmed that their artiste’s tour had “started on a crazy tip” as big names in Zambian music came out in support. These included DJ Cosmo, hit-maker Roberto and many of the best new acts on the Zambian hip-hop scene.
While in Lusaka, King 98 also hyped up his upcoming video with Nasty C and Mozambican hip-hop cat Laylizzy. Mozambique also happens to be King 98’s next stop during which the video will be dropping.
“As I have said before, we have employed a multipronged approach to our marketing of King 98’s music. The PR team we have engaged in South Africa recently gave us astounding statistics regarding King 98’s reach with the song ‘Bad Vibes’. He has reached 20 million.
“It’s high on rotation on Channel O and Trace. Now we have seen results on the ground in Zambia and we are off to Mozambique where we have a collaboration with one of the biggest artistes in that country and we are making serious inroads,” said DJ Simms, King 98’s manager.
After Mozambique, King 98 will be off to Nigeria where he has performances lined up. He is also set to record a song and shoot a video with Zlatan, one of the fastest rising stars in that country. In the meantime, cameras will be rolling behind him as the filming of his documentary, Life of King 98, which is also set to premiere in the coming months continues.
In Lusaka, the show kicked off at sundown with local hip-hop artistes and DJs taking to the stage. Although night time temperatures plummeted – King 98 set the venue on fire with his electric performance when he took to the stage just after 8pm.
The crowd went wild with every dope bassline that dropped and they bounced along too. He set the bar high, but it stayed there as fellow Zimbabwean, Ammara Brown, brought the house down with a blistering act. She had the crowd singing along to her every song as well. Her dance moves were off the hook too and all eyes were on her.
Finally, Nasty C then bombed the place with bars and hooks that have seen him being linked with a move to the United States of America as he seeks a bigger market for his music and new challenges. However, in several interviews, Nasty C has downplayed a permanent move, saying, he will only go there to “get the bag”.