The Sunday Mail
King 98 seems to be on a path to greatness.
The rapper is making inroads in Africa.
He might not be popular as expected back home, but his name features in the same breath as some of the continent’s music giants.
Unlike most of his peers, however, he comes from an affluent family and has used his privileged background to create synergies to launch his career globally in the cutthroat music industry.
He has already collaborated with heavyweights such as Davido (Nigeria), Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania) and Nasty C (South Africa).
Last week, the 22-year-old — born Ngonidzashe Dondo — paraded some of the agents based in South Africa, Tanzania and Nigeria that he has engaged.
In East Africa, he is represented by Alma Bronxie, while Mr Emmanuel and Jan Motobuli are handling his affairs in West Africa and South Africa respectively.
King 98 has roped in Nigeria’s most sought-after producer, London, who has worked with top Nigerian artistes.
London — real name Michael Ovie Hunter — is currently in the country for final touches on the rapper’s forthcoming second album, due for release early next year.
At least 40 songs have been recorded and will be considered for the album.
“It is very rare to meet a young artiste that has talent, drive and massive backing. I am impressed by his work ethic and the support he is getting from his father (Thompson Dondo). He is an artiste who has everything in terms of resources, yet he is humble and listens to advice,” said London.
“The second album is as good as done. It will be explosive. It has a unique blend of different beats. I just hope he remains focused and humble. At this rate, only the sky is the limit for him.”
In East Africa, Diamond Platinumz has been supportive of the “Wacko” singer’s career. He has introduced him to a number of Tanzanian producers who are now active in producing the youngster’s music.
Closer home, in South Africa, King 98 has been working with Nasty C, who has helped him to break into a number of provinces across the Limpopo.
“King 98 has taken East Africa by storm. The people in Tanzania enjoy his music so much. But, we are also spreading into some parts of East Africa that include Kenya, where his music is also in demand.
“His energetic live performances have endeared him to many,” said East African representative Bronxie.
Motobuli adds: “Mzansi has warmed up to King 98. He is climbing the ladder fast and his future looks bright.
“He is an interesting artiste who is so full of passion and dedication.”
King 98 said while building a name across borders, he was not going to overlook the local market.
“I have to grow back home in the same way my graph will be rising outside the country. I have been doing collaborations with the continent’s giants but I would also love to collaborate with locals,” he said.
“I have tried hard to work with locals but I often faced some resistance. However, I am trying my best to understand the needs of my local fans. I will keep on delivering tailor-made music for them. The second album will be massive.”
Meanwhile, the rapper recently released a single titled “I Bet” that is causing waves in showbiz circles.
The single is accompanied by a video.
“‘I Bet’ is being played in countries like Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique,” said one of King 98’s handlers.
His debut album, “Francesca”, which features Nasty C and Davido, was released early last year.
It has tracks such as “26 November”, “Born to Win”, “Francesca (Mama)”, “Twiste”, “No Bad Vibes” featuring Davido and “Shoko” ft ExQ.