BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
IT’S all summed up on the cover sleeve of the extended play [EP].
King 98 is back, but this time he is on his own.
Long Live is King 98’s first project without his inspirational father Thompson Dondo, who died early this year.
Since making a revelation of his desire to take up music seriously to his parents, King 98 has had a very supportive father by his side.
At the infancy of his career, King 98 had shared the stage with South African’s best in Cassper Nyovest and Nasty C.
His debut in the mainstream music industry in July 2018 was in style, launching his maiden single titled Defeat on the regional urban television channel MTV Base.
The Watershed College alumna travelled across the length and breadth of the continent, performing at top music festivals, visiting radio and television stations and, above all, he got the exposure that any rookie musician would crave for.
His debut album Francesca launch was out of this world. It was a mega event held at Wingate Golf Club that was graced by top regional and local artistes, including Nasty C, Nadia Nakai, Mozambican Laylizzy, Davido, as well as locals Selmor Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah, Ex-Q and Tammy Moyo, among others.
As for collaborations, he has joined forces with the continent’s best. He has done duets with Nasty C and Laylizzy [Wacko], Nigerians’ Davido and Zlatan on Twisted and Pull Up respectively as well as the hit Kachiri, on which he roped in Tanzanian Diamond Platinumz.
Kachiri propelled King 98 to stardom, garnering hundreds of thousands views on video-sharing platform YouTube within a few days of its release, thanks to King 98’s father whose big purse enticed the Tanzanian star.
Just before his death, Dondo was working on modalities for King 98’s second album launch.
It would have been a top-drawer show had it not been for the untimely passing-on of the music-crazy businessman.
King 98 believes he has come of age, and to pay homage to his father, he dedicates his EP, Long Live, released on Friday morning, to his late father.
“Long Live is my project done in honour of my dad who passed away this year. His legacy lives on, and I know I am making him proud. Rest in peace super dad,” King 98 told Standard Style.
“I knew that my dad was not well as he was battling diabetes and I knew something could happen to him at any time. So, I was putting in my mind that one day he won’t be there.”
Long Live’s cover sleeve is evident effort by King 98 to demonstrate how significant his father was in his career.
On the cover sleeve, King 98 is clad in a suit with a picture of his father in the background.
“There is a very big story coming out of this cover sleeve. The EP is all about my father and I am paying tribute to whatever he did to be what I am today,” King 98 said.
“I just feel that my dad gave me the right exposure as a person… he was my role model. I feel I have to accept that he is no more and get back on my feet. From wherever he is, my dad is watching me.”
The production of the project, which is likely to catapult King 98 to global stardom, was shared between top Tanzanian producer S2Kizzy and local producer Victorstot.
“Mentally, I am geared up for the task. Even before support from my dad, I would record music on my own. I am more than ready for the task that lies ahead. I am focused and ready to go,” King 98 said.
The 23-year-old crooner expressed gratitude over the support he is getting from fellow artistes both in and outside Zimbabwe.
“The support I have been receiving is overwhelming, especially from people like Davido, Jah Prayzah and Diamond Platinumz, among others. Davido took me to South Africa, showed me around alongside Vocalistic. It was amazing and it showed me love, the kind of love that my father showed,” he said.
On the project, King 98 features Jah Prayzah on the song Mama Mia and spoke profoundly about his close link with the Mudhara Vachauya singer.
“I recorded the song Mama Mia with Jah Prayzah sometime in March. It was not much of a problem because we had chemistry. Jah Prayzah has been a big brother in the industry, he is someone I have known for some time and is willing to assist,” King 98 said.
King 98 also features Tanzanian star Young Lunya on the song Chin Ju, whose visuals are already causing a stir on online music platforms.
Another Tanzanian Raymond Shaban Mwakyusa, aka Ray Vanny, from the famous WCB Wasafi Records label under Diamond Platinumz, is featured on the song Dlala.
Other songs on the EP include Blessings, Fever and Mahwambi [which was released a few weeks earlier].
King 98 said he is not sitting on his laurels, but will side-hustle for sustenance in the cut-throat industry.