With Mamour M Mbenga
“Gambian music is wasting my time because Gambian music is not paying my bills, can’t pay my daughter’s school fees, can’t get me a live band and can’t get me the proper contacts I need; so why should I still waste my time in Gambian music, ” Gee told Fila TV show on Gambia Radio and Television Service .
Earlier in 2015, Gambian Rap-Mbalah singer Gibou Bala-Gaye alias Gee, announced he is bringing his music career to an end. He said it’s time for him to venture into new things.
Gee was voted Artist of the Year in 2014 in an award ceremony that was largely criticized for being “below standard.”
When announcing his quitting, Gee said: “Besides, the disrespect in the music scene is too much, no end of promises, I’m a person if I don’t see many changes for quite a while in anything I’m doing I move on. I’m not growing any younger and time ‘ammut’ (there is no time).”
Gee said even the most popular show organised in The Gambia called Open Mic does not pay artistes well much more talking about other shows.
“This ‘chicken change’ could not meet all my demands as an artist and now I want to venture into other businesses if not my daughter’s future would not be bright,”
Gee, whose real name is Gibou Balla Gaye called on companies to venture into Gambian music.
He said most companies do not pay attention to Gambian music and most of the time they limit their sponsorship only to providing a radio advert or billboards. He said they will never use an artist as an ambassador and pay him or her decent money.
He said: “Look at Nigeria as an example, an artist is paid recently over 80,000 dollars to be an ambassador of a company. This is one of the things I am talking about. So when I saw that companies were not willing to do that in The Gambia and promoters and event organisers don’t want to pay much, I felt Gambian music was a waste of time.”
Asked whether he will come back, he said only miracles can bring him back to music.
He revealed, he has 50-plus yet-to-be released songs which could sell if his decision to quit were linked to monetary issues. “That’s it I’m out. Only miracles can bring me back. I’m doing business instead,” he concluded.
Gibril Bala Gaye, better known as Gee, was born on the 3rd of July 1987 at Westfield, and then grew up in Pipeline. Gee attended Marina International School from his nursery to High School, but later went to Cates International Academy. Gee also attended college in the United Kingdom (UK).
At age 23, Gee has evolved into one of Gambia’s most talented and hardworking artistes. This is evident in the numerous solo projects he has successfully completed with absolutely no financial assistance.
Gee possesses world-class proficiency when it comes to his lyricism and musical arrangement, as this is unmistakably apparent in his songs.
His discography includes three hip-hop albums and a mix tape. Behind the scenes was a collaborative album with Sweden-based rapper Nube and was laced with basic bass-and-kick driven rhythms over fundamental raps chronicling street experiences of the two young emcees.
Featured on the project were few upcoming names among them She Romeo, a female R&B crooner featured on a couple of cuts and most notable amongst them was Mary Jane which instantly got transformed into a street classic. The album had only one video titled “Wat time iz it” featuring Kanasu Barz of the DLC.
Freedom of Speech was his sophomore effort and showed more diversity than its predecessor in more ways than one especially on the production end. The album had more stand-out singles as well and Gee’s exceptional delivery made it all the more listenable. Of noteworthy mention are Banjul, Dakar to Holland ftRhymzter a Dutch hip-hop artist and “Age is a Weapon” featuring Da LyrikalCypha. Both songs were transformed into videos and have been premiered on the “FiiLa” TV Show on GRTS.
In 2010 Gee offering came out with an album titled ‘Never too Early’. This album was preceded by a mix-disc also titled ‘Never Too Early’, it served as a teaser in building up anticipation for the Never Too Early album.
The release of Never Too Early in December 2010 was an important milestone in Gambian music circles and is inclined to take hip-hop in the Gambia to a new threshold. This album embodies the definition of hip-hop as defined by the art form itself but with a true Gambian identity. Most of the production was done by a Swedish producer called Jatrix who works for an independent label Nordic Steel.
Jatrix has more than a decade of musical work experience as a producer and worked for Universal Records, which is one of the world’s biggest record companies. Jatrix’s very versatile productions coupled with Gee’s lyrical proficiency would give hip-hop-heads a lot of things they can relate to.
A few artistes have been featured on the Never Too Early project and they include the following: She-Romeo (Gambia), Snow Eazy (Gambia), Essay (Sweden), Fata (Senegal), Nix (Senegal), Nube (Sweden), and the La Cosa Nostra Family.
Gee has also been prominently featured on “Grounded DVD Vol.1” which was the first locally-made hip-hop DVD magazine, he has also been on noteworthy audio compilations such as “Dont Get It Twisted”, Unplugged” etc. Of late, he has been featured on stellar projects such as the recently released “Shout Gambia DVD” which is the first ever documentary on the emerging music scene in the Gambia. The song that is on everyone’s lips right now is the Hakim produced hip-hop, R&B Mbalax hybrid titled “Yow LaaBuga” with Mariam Sowe a Gambian singer based in California.
He has made the performance list of the annual all-Gambian Open Mic Festival for the past six years due to his hard work and dedication.
In 2012 he released another album titled “That Feeling”, 2014 album “Situation” and of recent he has collaboration with Senegalese musicians including Viviane, Wally Secka, Aida Samba and Fata. He also has collaboration with Nigerian Afro beat singer Wizikid.
Gee is widely described as a controversial singer who has a beef with his fellow artists include T. Smallz, Killah Ace, Africell, Gambians in the Diaspora and Capital FM on issues relating to his music career.