At age 9 Limbani Kalilani asserted he would be his own boss. At 14 he predicted two things; that he would own his own company and be a rap music sensation before he was 21. Both came true; Phone Yanu (Pvt) Ltd, one of the most successful recent start-up companies and competitive wireless mobile public payphone company in Malawi is his brainchild and Tay-Grin the hip-hop artist is his alter-ego.
Tay-grins music targets the youth urging them to take pride in their nation and culture. To take responsibility, utilize their God given talents and find value in contributing to a positive and brighter future. Whilst emphasizing the need to eradicate negativity and low self-esteem.
Each step, each decision, each enterprise must be a positive one and one that will enable and empower at least one other person. In the words of legendary “edutainment” guru KRS-One “each one must teach one” Entertainment merged with education is a medium for speaking to the youth in a language they are most comfortable with, without feeling preached to or lectured at.
The first rap artist to make an impression on Tay was Jay-z. Impressed by the history and acuity of hip-hop in poetic diction, musicality, message and its influence on the world over the last 30 years, Tay knew he had found the appropriate medium for self-expression and influence. Honing his rap skills since his teens, Tay has been influenced by legendary rappers like Jay-z, KRS 1, B.I.G and Tupac. To find his individual and distinctive rap voice however, Tay looked inwards at his African soul and found that the roots of his African heritage and Malawian culture gave him his true and unique style that complemented the original American hip-hop template.
A chance meeting with Onree Gill, Alicia Keys manager, in 2005 on a Chicago-Atlanta flight confirmed that he had a hip-hop destiny. This was further emphasized in a brief meet with Craig a multi- platinum producer for the likes of Kanye West in Chicago at the Hinge Studios. On return to Malawi, Tay poured his energy into his first ever track and scored a number-one hit with ‘Break-Out’. The track was an underground and club hit, gearing the public up in expectation of an album. But not one to take things lightly, Tay spent the next 18 months in the lab creating a unique sound; a fusion of cultural music and hip hop. The highly anticipated debut album ‘Split Screens’ is scheduled to drop early next year (2008).
‘Split Screens’ features 12 tracks (incl. the hit singles Ndabwela, 2 by 2 and Stand Up). The album is engineered & mastered by internationally recognized premier producer Tapiwa Bandawe. ‘Split Screens’ features guest appearances from hip-hop’s finest, Channel O’s Award winning Scar from Botswana’s, best Selling Kwaito/Kwasakwasa artist VEE Wamampela A.K.A Taku Taku and Malawi’s RnB sensation Dan Lufani just to mention a few.
Tay’s first single ‘Stand Up’ a wholly Malawian produced song and video, first aired on Channel O in March 2007 and has not stopped playing since. Tay’s conscious and positive music is popular both in Malawi and abroad. He has already gained respect and recognition as clearly evidenced by his Channel O Spirit of Africa nominations for ‘Stand Up’. Tay Grin’s Channel O music award nominations make him the first Malawian Musician to ever receive three (3) nominations for the Channel O Spirit of Africa Music awards. The nominations were as follows;
- Best male
- Best Southern African Video
- Best hip hop Video
Tay recently performed live for over a million viewers across Africa on the hit show Big Brother Africa during one of their eviction night shows.
Visit his official website taygrin.com
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