“Usimpe roho yako, waza kwanza, wapi tofauti yake naooo…”
The first verse and chorus to a popular tune we once jammed to. I say this presuming you reside on the same part of the earth i do and were born at least 18 years ago. Remember the time nameless was a household name and the clubs played nothing but local music? Remember saving up all your allowance money to attend the chaguo la teeniez awards? Remember the tears we shed as a nation when we lost our great artiste E-sir ? Memories are all we have. Good thing is, its these memories that spark old joys and re-live our younger selves experiences.
What happened to local music. The likes of Jimwat, Klepto, Longombas, Big Pin, Deux Vultures, Czar….and the list goes on. Its a fact that many of these old school artistes are still in the industry and a number even gaining success to a level beyond the country. Still, there’s just something that feels missing. I wonder what this could be? We will close our eyes and take in a deep breath to figure it out, being a matter of high importance.Now breath out….any conclusions yet ? Bingo!! I found it. Authenticity. We lost authenticity to to imitation. Influence from the west really messed up our sound. By the west, i don’t just mean the USA . I’m talking about West Africa too. The constant overplay of Nigerian music in our clubs does nothing but cripple the egos of local artistes. Ogah Ogahh!! This is not right my broddos.
Then there was the death of Kapuka and Genge. In replacement of this emerged a group of aspiring Eminems and Lil Waynes… I don’t think i should criticize this lot. Their followers on Instagram are already doing enough of that. For me, i offer a word of advice. Whether its English or Swahili, do what sounds natural. Thats the success story behind alot of Kenyan rappers. Going on to the Kenyan industry in general, id say theres still alot of great things to note. Artistes like Sauti Sol are worldwide icons, Camp Mulla paved a way for Kenyan english rappers and theres still a sense of pride in local music (though greatly declined).
I respect the evolution of sound and have nothing against the new crop of creatives. As we all know, change is inevitable. Look at Rabbit, Bahati, Kagwe Mungai, Wangeci, Fena Gitu and the infamous Octopizzo. They all are names to reckon and give respect. Even still there’s a lot of miles to cover to catch up from the great slip we had back then. The times when lyrics made sense, the time when a beat touched a part of your soul and the time when you actually felt overwhelmed cause you met a local artiste. Peace im Out..
In Memory some of our greatest Kenyan musicians.