Allan Foti, Sunday Life Correspondent
FOR 29 years he has touched literally hundreds of thousands of lives as a club and radio DJ. He is a 49-year-old dynamo on a turntable and he knows it!
His name is Kaycee the Gigmaster now simply known as “Tha Godfather”. Born Kennedy Masawi in Kadoma but brought up in Harare, Tha Godfather started DJ’ing in 1989. Back then, Tha Godfather was a house and techno DJ doing loads of trickery on the decks after learning the craft from a disco machine that was dumped at a friend’s house when he was still at Cranborne Boys High School.
After a while Tha Godfather then known as Kaycee the Hithouse, discovered soul, rap and funk and gradually began to specialise in the genres although the rave scene had started to grow. As he got more used to the soul and funk sound, he liked what he heard and considered the music was uplifting, energetic and everyone into the music seemed so happy, which is what house used to have. At that point Tha Godfather made the decision to switch over to play what is now known as Old Skul.
Tha Godfather cut his teeth while playing afternoon sessions at Brats Nite Club where he started playing in 1989 after being spotted by legendary Tommy Dutch who saw a touch of class in the young DJ. Tommy Dutch moved with his protégé to Rumours Nite Club where Tha Godfather came into his own and began his slow rise to prominence.
“I think I have been a DJ all my life. I’m not sure when exactly the love for music first hit me, but I remember collecting music from as early as 1983 using my pocket money to buy vynls and collecting music. When someone dumped their disco machine at a friend’s house, I began messing around and gradually began DJ’ing,” Tha Godfather shared with Sunday Life.
“After a while my friend and I began playing at birthday parties and other such events turning me into a bit of a neighbourhood celeb at the time,” he chuckles.
These early forays onto the entertainment scene would also become a catalyst and meeting point between him and fellow celebrity DJ, Tich Mataz that would blossom into a lifetime friendship.
“One day we gatecrashed a party in my hood and found that Tich Mataz who had been hired to provide the sound system and play at the party was late.
We rushed home, picked up our disco machine and began playing. By the time he arrived we had already warmed up the crowd and he just took over without even connecting his sound system. From that day Tich and I became close friends and today we are like brothers,” revealed Kaycee.
In his formative years, the Old Skul godfather also played alongside the likes of Norman Marata aka BJ, the late Jabulani Sibanda aka Jabs, Anderson Thembani Hadebe aka Andy (also late) and Munyaradzi Chipudla aka Candy Man. They played sometimes at 3 clubs on a single night starting at Mr C’s which was run by Cedric Steele who had a sound system called Black Giant.
Tha Godfather confirmed his arrival on the entertainment scene by being part of several shows featuring international artistes including the legendary Soul to Soul International.
In 1992, his hard work paid off when he was approached by popular hotelier and club manager Tammy Msimanga to play at the then very popular Kadoma Ranche Motel. He was to stay there even after Msimanga left to open Stars Studio at the then Sheraton Hotel (now Rainbow Towers) and later became resident DJ and entertainment co-ordinator until 1997 when he moved to manage a club called Enigma in the capital.
His partnership with Msimanga was renewed when the latter again “poached” him and gave him a job as resident DJ at Sports Diner which was then owned by Innscor Africa.
Later on he was to move to Bulawayo where he became an instant hit playing at top clubs like Windermere, Visions, Hustlers, Savanah and Sneakies, making a name for himself as a crowd puller and competent entertainment guru.
Over the years, Tha Godfather has continued to grow in stature and now headlines an Old Skul line up that also includes Tich Mataz, Otis “Tha Flow” Fraser, Kudzi “Mr. Cool’ Marudza, Tendai “Sweet Thing” Chakanyuka and Kelvin “The Soul Supreme” Sifelani. The crew has a very popular slot at Solomon’s Lifestyle Café in Glen View every Sunday and despite being veterans of the game, have not shown signs of slowing down.