Profile & Background:
The boy band Da Fugitivz (not
are pioneers of the Gambian hip-hop scene and are one
of the country's most successful rap groups ever. Its
member's, who all come from the same Kairaba Avenue
neighbourhood are under the aliases:
Joe Sea Breeze, Tazman, Sam George. As opposed to their
US counterparts they try to fuse their style with their
language of Wolof.
After leaving high school, Tazman
(Tijan Jabang) already had experience singing in a little
known band called 'House Vibes'. After leaving them
he hatched the idea of a four-boy hip-hop crew who would
also dip into ragga, dancehall, R&B in US
or local style. Near his house there were lived other
guys who were also well into R&B / Hip Hop music.
Joseph Senghore (Seabreeze) and Samuel George (DJ Graduate).
While Tasman stirs his exclusive raga and dancehall
comes original with rap in
Wollof language (Gambia's local lingual franca),
Seabreeze leaves hearts quivering with his sentimental
R&B and DJ Graduate flows on to pep up the raga
and dancehall spice.
Within a month of coming together they decided on 'Fugitivz'
which means they are avoiding society's problems by
being a fugitive to it. In May 1997 they officially
launched the Gambian boy band as 'Da Fugitivz'.
After producing a number of demo tapes they applied
to compete in the Gambia's first DJ Clash competition
which they easily won and got them greater exposure
The crew then produced their smash debut single and
titled it 'Ndongo Dara'. The song was about street children
who beg for handouts instead of being in school. This
single was swiftly followed by another two called 'Lingai
Jai' (translated means "what you are selling"
and is an anti-drugs track) and 'Indilmasa Love' ("bring
me your love"). These 3 tracks helped to bring
them to nationwide attention among music buffs around
Then for a period of around 12 weeks they worked towards
their debut album at the Sunu Flavours Studio in Dakar,
Senegal. The album was finished towards the end of 1998
and released on CD in 1999 titled 'Fu 4 Life'. It was
a six-track eye-opener of Gambia's rap scene which had
the right blend of sentimental R&B songs, the original
rap that helped shape their musical roots, and a combination
of well mixed dancehall tunes. It expanded their recognition
beyond the borders of The Gambia to the West African
region and beyond.
In August 1999 the Fugitivz got a 3 month German touring
sojourn when they took part in the Pop Com Musical Festival
which was held in Germany. Here they had the chance
to get international recognition as they had the opportunity
to gig alongside more established hip hop bands. As
a result of their participation and professional display
of great performance more offers came rolling in. For
example the band was featured in an exclusive Africa
Raps compilation produced by Jay Rudledge for a German
label called Trikon. The compilation was a selection
of best hip-hop groups from Gambia, Senegal and Mali.
Da Fugitivz performed a song called 'Kepp Kui Bang',
which means "anyone who refuses".
Back in Banjul they recorded a six-track master-tape
at Yellowgate Studios under the guidance of the local
music producer Elie Nachif.
Tasman, Joe, Mohawk and Sam made their second international
trip to America in early 2000. It was a nine-month rove
of the universal rap, R and B, soul and hip-hop land.
Amongst many of the crew's flag flying performances
was the Atlanta show bunch of July 4 (America's Independence
celebration). They also played at other venues in New
York and North Carolina. Fugitivz returned with some
good news that they were discussing a contract with
a record label in France.
In July, 2001, they departed from the Gambia to honour
their 2 year French contract with the Paris based record
label Atoll Music, an offshoot of Sony Music. They began
work at the AB Studios and produced an album given the
name 'Escaped'. It was composed of 12 tracks and featured
hits such as 'Sha La La Laa', 'Express Yourself',
'See No Evil', 'Be Mine' and 'Who Dem'. In August they
caught a plane to London to take part in the yearly
music festival there after which they went back to Paris.
Between sessions they took working trips to Stockholm,
Sweden where AB Studio has one of its subsidiaries.
At the end of their contract with Atoll Music, Da Fugitivz
decided to delve more into Scandinavia. The quartet
signed a three-year contract with Swedish-based Double-Dog
Records which committed them to recording two albums.
The boys then joined the Swedish music house Bonnier
Amigo Music Group (the largest Scandinavian independent
record label) who was now responsible for publishing,
marketing, distribution of the group's creative output.
They have an association with Fu Records.
In 2005, Da Fugitivz entered into a three year contract
with Double Dogs Records based in Stockholm and have
been opening new ground ever since.
They have performed alongside the mbalax diva Vivian
Ndour in Stockholm, Sweden.
Some of their most recent singles include "It's
All Good, It's Alright" and appeared in the Swedish