Motif says he sampled Ethic's Figa beat
Hey yoh Motif turn me up on them headphones bro...”
This is a line that is so synonymous with Khaligraph Jones whenever he is introducing a hit, so much that Motif has become a faceless character in most of his hits.
The unassuming individual who turns Khaligraph up on "them headphones" is actually Morris Kobia, popularly known as Motif di Don in celebrity and entertainment circles.
He is, arguably, one of the best beat makers in the country right now and this is evident by how prolific he has produced and mastered songs. These days, almost every song begins with the words, “Motif Di Don”.
Motif honed his skills as a producer by creating beats and selling them to upcoming artistes in Kenya.
“We all love good music, be it dancehall, local, country, traditional hip-hop, the genre really does not really matter. All too often, we overlook the work of music producers. The producer is the ultimate main person as he is the project manager for recording, mixing and mastering process, an engineer who works late in the night to create a masterpiece… these people are generally the backbone of the whole industry. Imagine going to a club that only plays accapella?” he opines.
Motif has worked on a number of certified hits by famous artistes in Kenya and Africa at large. From Khaligraph’s raw Hip-hop beats, Ethics street anthems to Masauti’s mellow vibes and now he owns a recording Label, Dream Nation in partnership with Masauti.
“I am a self-taught producer and that has gotten me far due to the passion I had for beat making, putting in endless hours of work, rehearsing and learning in the process,” he says.
This experience is also present in his notion of music as a collective endeavour, and his idea that from the sum of different talents you got something that is not achieved individually.
“I have been consistent since the days we made the hit song Yego because I believe in putting effort in everything I do and that should apply to everyone. We introduced the trap beat in Kenya and since then there has been no looking back.”
Motif is not shy to comment on the issue of recent allegations where he was accused of stealing a beat.
“These things actually happen in the industry very often since sometimes you never know where your inspiration comes from. Although I cannot comment much about Ethic’s video being pulled down from YouTube, I know the management took over the issue and are sorting things out. But sampling a beat is allowed only if you get the right permission from the right people. It is not completely illegal,” he asserts, admitting that there had been some friction.
The controversy had seen BonEye of p-Unit take to social media and bash “lazy producers” and cast doubt on their authenticity.
Motif did not take this lying down, taking on BonEye since p-Unit had themselves already sampled beats in their hit songs, You Guy and Weka Weka earlier on in their careers; he also questioned the authenticity and originality of those beats, instead of pointing fingers.
“In as much as I try my best to hide from the limelight and avoid unnecessary beefs I have noticed that there is some hatred among artistes, these young and upcoming artistes need the support and we should not judge them since as I had said earlier, it is always a learning process,” he says, brushing off the beef.
The beats don believes he is here to change the whole landscape and not compete with others since for him it’s a passion he had since he was young.
The mix of past and present and always adapting to the changing dynamics of Kenyan sound in his production makes his music timeless, connecting with Kenyan cultural richness and projecting the search of new styles and rhythms.