MI SUCCESS STORY: SamUiLL KALONJI
SamUiLL Kalonji, is one half of PS The ReBels, an alternative Hip-Hop duo of brothers originally from Nairobi Kenya, and now residing in Los Angeles. The duo strives to highlight the unique sound of their “afro-hop,” and put on captivating live shows. SamuiLL has performed alongside stars such as Grammy Award winners like Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Ziggy Marley, just to name a few.
When he moved to the U.S., SamuiLL knew he wanted to keep his music true to himself and his roots. He made the decision to pursue music and said of his choice to come to MI,
“I chose MI because it is the mecca of the entertainment industry and I wanted to strategically tap into that network. MI seemed to have a good balance of different artists and business professionals pursuing their dreams.”
He enrolled in the Music Business program and after graduating in 2017, he continued his performance work with PS the Rebels. SamuiLL says his stage performances reflect their vast cultural experiences, where they’ve been compared to Fela Kuti meets a modern member of Native Tongues. Their latest release “The Great Migration,” EP was released via Pharoahe Monch’s indie label W.A.R. Media. Since then, it has been featured in publications like AXS, Hip-Hop DX, Afropunk, Dallas Observer, and many others more.
Most recent SamuiLL collaborated on the 2019 GRAMMY nominated album Rebellion Rises by Ziggy Marley. He has also performed alongside Ziggy Marley on the ‘Rebellion Rises Tour,’ exposing his music to many more new fans. Now that his career is steadily taking SamuiLL recognizes the benefits he got from attending MI. He said of what he learned during his time here,
“The most important thing I learned was via the Music Business Program. I learned how to, first, see myself in the eyes of a label executive or A&R, which has given me the confidence to better navigate my professional career realistically! One of the biggest lessons was from Dan Kimpel. He said, ‘You get what you negotiate for.’ Those simple words have made a tremendous positive impact on my professional career since.”