UNRAVELLING THE MYSTERY OF THE NEW WAVE: KEYE AND THE MOB
BY TREASURE KILALI
Keye and the Mob. It’s different. A name immediately grabs your attention and raises the question “Who exactly is Keye and what is the Mob?”
Unfold the curtain a little and what is revealed is a trio whose friendship extends beyond an emotional bond but goes ahead to include a love for music and creating music which was born out of the need to de-stress, calm down and stay sane despite the pressure of bagging a degree in Architecture. They draw their inspiration from their everyday experiences of love, heartbreak, good times, and trauma, and translate these defining moments into music that they describe as a “direct reflection of what they’re going through”.
Semilore Keye and producer Dennis Junior started like most friends as roommates in their 100 Level cracking under the stress of Youth Alive for the first time. Their coping mechanism was to have Dennis sit, make beats and Keye freestyle on a microphone muffled with a sock. This led to their first-ever song they titled ‘Unknown Freestyle’; a song that still makes Keye cringe to this day.
This duo continued for a while until the time came to produce ‘No Games’ which they recognize as the first song they made together as Keye and the Mob. The song was set, and yet they felt it needed more than just the two of them could offer, so in comes, David Aihevba, a friend Keye met on the first day of resuming 100 Level. He was recruited to do harmonies and the chorus of the song; thus, a stronger bond came to be.
Now, we have a group operating with the same sync. They knew this was more than a one-time thing, and they wondered what to call this new team they had set up. Suddenly, the idea came from a friend they refer to as “the art guy” on the name Keye and the Mob. They loved it, so they moved with it.
The truth behind these artists is that they are unconventional. Unconventional not because their sound is God’s gift to earth, but rather because they refuse to be contained by the little box most artists have caged themselves in. With this group you never know what to expect: from the fast-paced mood of trap beats to the smooth, easy vibes that afrobeat ushers in, they mixed and matched it all until they created what they identify as their true sound fondly called ‘jeje’ music.
Their dedication to experimenting with sound stems from their desire to “stray away from what anyone would expect”, and it is this open-minded approach that contributed to the fluidity captured in the essence of their music. Their 2019 single ‘Take it Easy’ is a pure reflection of their true sound. It was followed by ‘Tito’, a story of frustration written in a random TMC class following the heartbreak suffered by one of the members; ‘Dapada’, a song based purely on vibes and the game of wooing a lady; ‘YKTS’ and ‘Odell’which they laughed off as a “guilty pleasure”.
Because music to them is a fun, creative outlet, Keye and the Mob agree that it is something they see themselves doing in the years to come. For them, it’s not about the features or the clout but rather, it is their way of self-expression that allows the world to catch a glimpse into the simple but oh-so-complicated lives of three young men trying to juggle the intricacies of discovering themselves and making sense of their world.
Their upcoming E.P ‘True Religion’explores the confusing grey area of growing up and trying to define what true religion really is. Is it love? They don’t know, so, they captured this mystical journey of discovery in “a bunch of stories told through a character”.
Semilore, David and Dennis Junior continue to stay true to their art. This is a principle that they live by and highly recommend to artists just like them who must understand that anyone can make music but to enjoy making music, you must stay true to your art.