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Da Fugitivz

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Profile & Background:
The boy band Da Fugitivz (not Fugitives) 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: Mohawk, Joe Sea Breeze, Tazman, Sam George. As opposed to their US counterparts they try to fuse their style with their old traditional 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.

Muhammed Kah (Mo-Hawk), Joseph Senghore (Seabreeze) and Samuel George (DJ Graduate). While Tasman stirs his exclusive raga and dancehall style, Mo-Hawk 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 and recognition

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 The Gambia.

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 chart.

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