- 04 Mar 19
From Church halls to festival stages, from starring on the silver screen to being given pride of place on major Spotify playlists, Percy Chamburuka, aka Jafaris, has muscled his way to the forefront of Irish music. The rapper/actor talks to Peter McGoran about God, family, his African heritage, confronting his ego, and the concept behind his fascinating debut album Stride.
Rap and religion don’t immediately strike you as close bedfellows. When it comes to rap, there’s a perception of hard-edged verbal sparring. There’s a reputation of celebrating hedonism, crime, or excess. With religion, there’s piety (at least the veneer of it), rule-based systems, authoritarian organisational structures.
Still, Jafaris – the rising 25-year-old star of Irish hip-hop – isn’t shy about stating that faith in God is one of the most important things in his life. Indeed, he was introduced to hip-hop through his church.
“I started dancing when I was 10 up to about 16, 17,” he explains. “Then there was that transition into music, because a very close friend of mine started doing it out of nowhere. He told me, ‘I’m rapping now’. This was when we were in church.