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



The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.

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 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"!