“Kamawe” formerly known as “Noggz” is a Nairobi, Kenya native based in Atlanta, GA with a commitment to perfection and a desire to introduce his message of African prosperity and storytelling.
Kamawe realized early enough during his first few years in the U.S that there was a naive perspective about Africa and Africans, which ultimately compelled him to enlighten others. “I took it upon myself to be that ambassador who will create the right awareness or at least pave the way for more ambassadors to give the true African perspective, through creative ventures, music and film.” stated Kamawe.
As corruption and social inequalities in his home country of Kenya were continuing to take a toll on its fragile economy during the 90’s, opportunities were rapidly decreasing for majority of Kenyans. The decision to send James overseas right after high school for a better chance at a future was not an easy one for his parents.
As a teenager, he was on board for a (one-way) flight to Atlanta Georgia on May 2002. An opportunity to be in the United States is not one to be frowned upon in especially at the time. The level of responsibility to have a better life is one with high expectations and no room for compromise. As soon as Kamawe set foot on American soil it was a continuous pursuit filled with more trials than triumphs.
After pursuing a business degree at Kennesaw State for two years and working numerous minimum wage paying jobs, Kamawe opted out of college to focus on building his music career. He quickly established himself locally and was already getting paid to perform as part of the group C Squad which comprised of himself childhood friend “Jay” as well as DJ Teknikz who went on to become a founding member of Atlanta collective Street Executives as well as rapper 2 Chainz manager/business partner.
Between 2003-2005 he opened shows for fellow Kenyan based performers such as Nameless, Wahu ,Red San, Hardstone, Nonini and many others. The music industry looked like it had availed itself for Kamawe. By 2008 Kamawe, then known as Noggz
was featured on a song “Cos I can” which was released in London and garnered moderate success on radio with Choice FM’s Jenny Francis taking a liking to the record. The same year he was featured on various mixtapes with the likes of Rick Ross, Plies,
Yung Joc and many more. Shortly after the lack of experience and an unclear vision stalled the dream temporarily, forcing Kamawe back to school.
The decision to go back to school became cardinal and Kamawe not only found solace in music, but in film production as well. Kamawe Attended the Art Institute of Atlanta where he developed his skills as a Director, writer, producer and editor. He later got a Master’s degree in Business Administration which he used to leverage his understanding of the music business. He has since incorporated his entertainment venture Circle Group Media both in the U.S and Kenya as well as founded the popular hip-hop digital publication HipHopABCTV a.k.a “The Pulse of Hip-Hop”.
Through an internship at Streetz 94.5 FM in Atlanta, Kamawe was able to connect with various entities and in particular DJ Holiday who was rapper Gucci Mane’s official DJ and CEO of the Commission Music Group. For 3 years Kamawe worked close with DJ Holiday on his show “Holiday Season” and used the opportunity to learn as much as he could about the business as well as make connections with all the decision makers in the music industry.
Working behind the scenes and watching groups like the Migos, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and many more become global sensations and knowing the inner workings of what it took to get their brands off the ground inspired Kamawe. The decision to get back into producing music was mainly for Kamawe to get behind other artists but after talking to a mentor in 2017 Kamawe decided to keep the focus on his own music for the time being.
Eventually Kamawe wants to develop and manage the right talent, especially the East African region “There is so much raw talent but there is a disconnect when it comes to translating talent to a successful act.” says Kamawe, “artist’s need proper development
and management with the infrastructure to support their creative vision.”
Circle Group Media Presents:
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