With the release of his hit song ‘Mbagala’, many Tanzanians thought Diamond Platinumz would be a one hit wonder like many other Bongo Flava artists they had seen come then vanish.
Amazingly, he was able to remain in the limelight and won 22 awards in two years, back in 2014 and 2015. The awards won include Channel O Music Video Awards, HiPiPo Music Awards, The Future Africa Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, and many more.
He worked with many artists across the continent and is arguably East Africa’s global music ambassador at the moment.
Before he came to the limelight, the popularity was most enjoyed by Alikiba who was so influential that the President of Tanzania at the time, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, honoured him for his valuable contribution to Tanzanian Music, Arts, and Culture.
In 2011, Alikiba was voted “the most popular artist top selling in East Africa” – Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. But from 2012 to early 2014, (‘co-incidentally’ the period that saw Diamond Platnumz come to the limelight), Alikiba took a break from music as his numerous attempts to get back to his position as number one in the Tanzanian music industry did not work out as planned.
Alikiba however returned with hits in 2014 and 2015 like “Mwana” (which means “Son” and is rumoured to be ‘dedicated’ to Diamond), “Chekecha Cheketua”, and this year, with “Aje” (featuring Nigeria’s foremost rapper, M.I. Abaga).
He won the most awards at the Kilimanjaro Music Awards (2015) overshadowing Diamond who had more nominations than him. If the awards are anything to go by, it could be an indicator that Diamond is losing home crowd. He (Alikiba) recently landed a licensing and distribution deal with Sony Music. He has worked with R. Kelly on the One8 Project.
While both stars are definitely great, their rivalry is an open secret as confirmed by Alikiba himself. The question of who’s better has raged on with the fans taking different sides to the argument. The awards Alikiba won at the Kilimanjaro Awards showed that there was a ‘cold war’ between fans of the artists.
In a poll conducted by MTV, fans preferred Alikiba as the Tanzanian artist with the most hits and musical influence in 2015.
While Diamond seems to have the media advantage, Alikiba is steadily climbing right back up the ladder with hit tracks and there’s nothing slowing him down.
Unless Diamond is able to consistently churn out hits, Alikiba might be on his way to reclaiming his already self-acclaimed title, “the king of Bongo flava”.