With a lengthy cata­log of music on his back as well as mul­tiple industry and com­munity roles, there’s no ques­tion that Dumi Right is a major staple in Hip Hop cul­ture. He is recog­nized and respec­ted as an emcee, song­writer, per­form­ing artist, cul­tur­al ambas­sad­or, and act­iv­ist. Dumi has been releas­ing time­less music dat­ing back to the golden age of Hip Hop and his latest single/video “Stay Focused” is no excep­tion. The track fea­tures Out­spoken, Sykotek, and KHz Pro on pro­duc­tion. Before press­ing play, tap into his full inter­view below as he dis­cusses the video, what’s next, his role in Hip Hop, and more.


“With so much going on in the world in the grip of a glob­al pan­dem­ic, it is easy to be over­whelmed and lose focus. This head-nod­ding track serves as a call to action and a remind­er that we should always rise to the chal­lenge, even if the odds seem insur­mount­able. It also speaks to bridging the gap between gen­er­a­tions to help pro­pel us to a bright­er Afro Futur­ist­ic plane. As the chor­us implores, “Focus on the chal­lenges we’re facin’, Music that’ll spark elev­a­tion, Try­ing to change the cur­rent situ­ation, Build­ing with the next gen­er­a­tion…” 

MJ: For those who might be unfa­mil­i­ar with Dumi Right, let’s begin by intro­du­cing you. Your his­tory in Hip Hop dates to Zim­b­ab­we Legit, one of the first Hip Hop groups in Africa to receive glob­al recog­ni­tion. How did that exper­i­ence pave the way for you as an emcee, song­writer, and per­form­ing artist?

Dumi: When I first came out, all I wanted was for the world to hear the story of a young dude from Africa, a “broth­er from the Moth­er” that had been drawn to the power and mag­net­ism of Hip Hop. Back in 1992, my group Zim­b­ab­we Legit dropped a ground­break­ing EP that included pro­duc­tion from Black Sheep­’s Mr. Lawnge and DJ Shad­ow. Since then, I’ve remained deeply immersed in the art and cul­ture per­form­ing domest­ic­ally and inter­na­tion­ally and record­ing crit­ic­ally acclaimed albums and unique pro­jects. I like to live by the phrase, “Don’t let your past be bright­er than your future” so I was nev­er one to rest on my laurels. Even though back then we were writ­ten up in Bill­board magazine, The Source, and yeah even “Word Up! Magazine” that I read from cov­er to cov­er admir­ing my favor­ite rap stars as the Big­gie lyr­ic says, I knew that if I did­n’t keep push­ing and keep mov­ing, I could eas­ily fall off. When we first got star­ted, inter­na­tion­al Hip Hop was by no means at the scale that it is today. There was­n’t a well-defined blue­print on how to make the con­nec­tion between Hip Hop in oth­er parts of the world and what was going on in the US at the time, and so I had to nav­ig­ate and learn by tri­al-and-error style. I loved the fact that we could give voice to a whole seg­ment of the cul­ture that many people may not have been famil­i­ar with and bring a unique per­spect­ive and view of the world through the music. Also com­ing out at that time meant that I was a de facto ambas­sad­or of sorts, rep­res­ent­ing a bunch of people like myself. That meant I had to come cor­rect and make a mark because a lot of eyes were watch­ing, and I felt the weight of people who were count­ing on me to be suc­cess­ful. Hav­ing that pres­sure from the get-go gave me the drive and per­sever­ance to real­ize that fail­ure was­n’t an option and that I always needed to put my best foot for­ward. You don’t real­ize at the time the impact what you do might have, but hear­ing from people how that ini­tial splash was an inspir­a­tion is def­in­itely hum­bling and very deeply appre­ci­ated.

MJ: You are not only respec­ted as an emcee but also as a cul­tur­al ambas­sad­or. How did that role come into fruition? How does it tie into your music?

Dumi: Com­ing out of the inter­na­tion­al scene, I have always had a desire to con­nect with artists from all over the globe. Know­ing how Hip Hop cul­ture influ­enced and inspired me grow­ing up and so I under­stood how import­ant it was to build bridges and com­munity glob­ally. As a res­ult, for many years I worked on col­lab­or­a­tions, pro­jects, and ini­ti­at­ives that involved artists from coun­tries around the world. I later heard about a form­al oppor­tun­ity to prac­tice many of the things I had been doing already, by teach­ing Hip Hop over­seas through a pro­gram called Next Level. A DJ friend of mine had par­ti­cip­ated in the first edi­tion of that pro­gram and he told me that it was amaz­ing and that I needed to apply. I did and was selec­ted to teach emcee­ing in Thai­l­and a few years ago. It was one of the most incred­ible exper­i­ences of my music career and even my life in gen­er­al. It was an exten­sion of the work that I had been doing but it also allowed me to build with up-and-com­ing emcees and teach the prin­ciples of Hip Hop and per­form­ing as well as learn more about Thai cul­ture and the people. It was an affirm­a­tion that I was doing mean­ing­ful work and strengthened my resolve to con­tin­ue to be a glob­al con­nect­or and bring artists togeth­er through music.

MJ: Your latest video “Stay Focused” fea­tures Out­spoken and Sykotek with pro­duc­tion by KHz Pro. Before we dive into the con­tent of the video, tell us how every­one linked up with each oth­er. The film­ing aspect alone of the video is incred­ible.

Dumi: Out­spoken is one of my favor­ite emcees from Zim­b­ab­we. He has insight­ful rhymes that address the times, and he is a very ver­sat­ile artist. I have per­formed with him when his group vis­ited the US and we col­lab­or­ated on a pre­vi­ous song and video. My homie Khz cooked up this head-banging track and as I was for­mu­lat­ing an idea of what I wanted to do with it, I real­ized he’d be the per­fect artist to col­lab­or­ate with on it. He also works quickly, and the fin­ished product is always dope. I was intro­duced to Sykotek by a mutu­al friend and really liked the way he rhymed and the way he seam­lessly transitioned between lan­guages. He raps in Eng­lish but can stop on a dime and start spit­ting in Ndebele and he’s got crazy skills doing both. Also hav­ing pre­vi­ously done a song called “Doin’ Dam­age in My Nat­ive Lan­guage” it seemed appro­pri­ate to have him carry the torch and rep­res­ent that here.  In addi­tion, the three of us had col­lab­or­ated last year on a Cov­id-19 aware­ness song for a pro­ject that a coun­ter­part was put­ting togeth­er. That song “In These Days and Times” turned out well and our styles com­pli­men­ted each oth­er so I felt we needed to do it again for this. We are all in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, Out­spoken in Har­are, Zim­b­ab­we; Sykotek was in Johan­nes­burg, South Africa at the time and I am based in Wash­ing­ton, DC but we were able to get on the same page and record music first and then later the video to bring the “Stay Focused” concept togeth­er.

MJ: What was the inspir­a­tion behind “Stay Focused”?  Did the video meet/exceed your expect­a­tions?

Dumi: The song basic­ally talks about fol­low­ing through on what your goals are des­pite dis­trac­tions, set­backs, or road­b­locks. It also speaks to con­nect­ing with the next gen­er­a­tion to build a stronger com­munity and change sub-optim­al situ­ations or cir­cum­stances that we might find ourselves in. The beat slapped so hard that I knew I needed some­thing high energy to match it. I did a couple of dif­fer­ent things for the chor­us but then I thought it would be dope to switch it up and have someone else rock the hook and sum­mar­ize the whole concept. I loved what Out­spoken did with it and that set the stage for everything else. I was­n’t sure if we’d be able to pull off a video giv­en our dif­fer­ent geo­graph­ic loc­a­tions, but the guys were all keen to try it out and made plans to record their foot­age and send it to me for edit­ing. Anoth­er long­time friend and col­lab­or­at­or by the name of Magee offered to edit it all togeth­er and he did it seam­lessly like the pro that he is. The foot­age was shot in 3 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and he took the chal­lenge of weav­ing the story togeth­er and he did an amaz­ing job. It exceeded all expect­a­tions for me even though I know he’s a wiz­ard with video. He’s dir­ec­ted and edited a lot of Afric­an Hip Hop music videos but also works in the field so has edited numer­ous films and doc­u­ment­ar­ies, so it was cer­tainly with­in his realm of cap­ab­il­ity, and it shows.

MJ: It seems at times music that offers empower­ment and motiv­a­tion that wake up and stim­u­late our core and minds, has fallen by the way­side. As an emcee and cul­tur­al ambas­sad­or, what is your blue­print to ensure “Stay Focused” does­n’t take a back seat to the mono­tony that is being sat­ur­ated on the air­waves and in com­munit­ies?

Dumi: The first thing for me is not being influ­enced by the fla­vor of the month trends pre­vail­ing in the industry. Under­stand­ing who I am and what my authen­t­ic and unique voice is means I can exer­cise the free­dom to not go along with whatever is trendy now and stay focused on my grind and the work that I’m try­ing to do. I also know that say­ing some­thing in music might mean it might not be high­lighted in those main­stream circles so find­ing altern­at­ive out­lets and audi­ences to amp­li­fy the mes­sages that we’re drop­ping and spread the word about what we’re doing. I focus on non-typ­ic­al music out­lets but also lever­age the glob­al Hip Hop com­munity to find the eyes and ears that appre­ci­ate that raw and true Hip Hop sound and lyr­ics. Like-minded people are out there, you just have to find them. I do work in Hip Hop edu­ca­tion and so this type of music also finds recept­ive audi­ences in those types of for­ums as well. And a wise man once said, “Mar­ket and pro­mote, and you gotta hope, that the product is dope” (word to Q‑Tip), so to begin with I always make sure that I put forth dope music with beats and rhymes that people are going to want to listen to. If you have a great product, when the audi­ence hears it, they can­’t help but appre­ci­ate it. I also lean on my net­work of inter­na­tion­al col­lab­or­at­ors to help carry the mes­sages to fans in their areas that would dig it but I oth­er­wise might not be able to reach on my own. So essen­tially build­ing an eco­sys­tem of pro­gress­ive Hip Hop on our own, know­ing that we can­’t count on sup­port from the main­stream. Doing things bey­ond just music like work­shops and pan­els also helps to build that com­munity and work to “try to change the cur­rent situ­ation” besides just drop­ping records. Hope­fully, through all these com­bined efforts a major impact will be felt.

MJ: Can you share with audi­ences and fans what they can expect from Dumi Right in 2022? New music, more col­lab­or­a­tions, and/or oth­er endeavors on the radar?

Dumi: While fin­ish­ing up my next solo album, I ended up ink­ing a deal with a label in the UK to re-issue one of my pri­or albums on lim­ited-edi­tion vinyl. That will drop later this year via Chopped Her­ring Records. I feel like folks that cop vinyl are some of the biggest sup­port­ers and truest fans and of course, that includes many DJs, so I am thrilled that we’re going to be able to make that hap­pen. The biggest news though is the impend­ing launch of my new web­site very soon and a brand-new solo album, Dumi Right — Fore­word to the Future. I’m real amped about this as it has been a long time com­ing but it has some pure heat on it. Guest artists include Chubb Rock, Speech from Arres­ted Devel­op­ment, YZ, El Da Sen­sei, Breez Evah­flow­in’, Kev Brown (on pro­duc­tion), Ems­kee, and more. I had an artist in South Africa draw some ill Afro-Futur­ist­ic art­work. It will drop also on lim­ited vinyl first and then go on all the stream­ing plat­forms there­after. We’re put­ting the fin­ish­ing touches on it and work­ing on the mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion plan.

MJ: Take this time to share any­thing else with the world of Hip Hop…

Dumi: I just served as an exec­ut­ive pro­du­cer and artist on a com­pil­a­tion series, Stop Shoot­ing Vol 1 and 2 that fea­tures emcees and pro­du­cers from all over the world speak­ing out about gun viol­ence and police bru­tal­ity. Lots of excit­ing music on those two volumes includ­ing a new single called “Glob­al Love Warm­ing” that includes a chor­us sung by Aloe Blacc. There are so many great artists on it and they all bring very unique per­spect­ives and styles to the table so it’s refresh­ing to hear…Please sub­scribe to my You­Tube chan­nel at and fol­low me on Ins­tagram, FB, and Twit­ter for all the latest scoop.

Con­nect with Dumi Right

Ins­tagram: @dumiright

Face­book: @dumirightmusic



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MJ Savino

MJ Savino

MJ is Hip Hop Blog­ger, Pub­li­cist, Book­ing Agent, Act­iv­ist, but fan first and fore­most. “Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the cul­ture”!

About MJ Savino

MJ Savino
MJ is Hip Hop Blogger, Publicist, Booking Agent, Activist, but fan first and foremost. "Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the culture"!