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HomecareerRefigah: His Journey To Founding Grandpa Records With Ksh20K And Becoming First...

Refigah: His Journey To Founding Grandpa Records With Ksh20K And Becoming First Kenyan To Post On YouTube 

  • Refigah founded GrandPa Records in 2009 after quit singing career in 2007
  • He was in music production for 15 years before he hang his boots in 2022

Long before the many music streaming platforms, a lot of artists relied on record labels to produce and market their music. In Kenya, Grandpa Records was one such stable that launched the careers of many musicians, such as DNA, Pizo Dizo, Dufla, Kenrazy, Visita and many others. 

The outfit was known for making hits including: Maswali ya Polisi and Fimbo Chapa. The company was the brainchild of Noah Yusuf, popularly known in the industry as Refigah. 

Here is his story as told by WoK

Career 

In a past Tuko interview, he revealed that he always had the entrepreneurial spirit and at one point sold charcoal in order to earn a living. He joined the music Industry as a rapper and is reportedly the first musician from Africa to ever post on YouTube in 2005. 

Grandpa Records 

He shelved his singing career to form Grandpa records in 2009. He told the nation that he spent about Ksh20,000, headphones, monitors and mixers to kick-start the business. 

“The name Grandpa was inspired by the fact that I consider myself a grandfather in the industry, our generation of artists gave birth to the likes of Juacali and Esir, who in turn gave birth to the likes of DNA and Madtraxx, and they gave birth to Mejja’s generation, which makes me a Granda in the industry”, he told the Daily Nation. 

According to Refigah, initially mainstream media were not playing their music. He reached out to matatus and used them as avenues for promoting music from his staple.

Over the years, he signed up various artists who went on to achieve considerable success. The label grew to a household name until they were shrouded in controversy.

Controversy 

Some of the artists left Grandpa claiming they had made nothing from the deal and had simply been used. However, Refigah denied these allegations saying that running a stable is not easy. You become the artist’s parent.

He said in a past interview if he had been bad then why did some who left to pursue solo careers wind up miserable. 

According to him, most of the artist’s left once the contract was over and afew because of indiscipline. He said in a past interview with Wasafi that he only kicked out three artists, Visita, Kidis and Mr. Nice. The likes of Visita accused him of underpaying and ruining his life. 

Quitting Music , Philanthropy and Politics 

Nonetheless, after decades in the industry, winning awards and building a name for himself in East Africa, Refigah left the industry.

When the pandemic hit, he helped distribute food to the less fortunate in Kibera. Later, he ran for the Kibera parliamentary seat but lost.