Every passing year Corine (host of The JumpOff, Monday through Thursday 7-10 p.m.) and the Homeboyz Radio crew do a great thing for the Hip Hop (music) industry. They get behind a new crop of artists and do all they can to support them and their music, providing them with as much coverage as possible.
These artists are called “JumpOff Freshmen” and they are vetted through a very thorough process only ensuring that those with great production, creativity (originality), delivery and flow make the cut. The process is so thorough that it was partly responsible for Khaligraph’s rise into fame. Yes, he was part of the very first class of Freshmen back in 2013.
This yea’s class was just recently announced and here’s a breakdown of who is on it and why you need to ensure that you check for these artists.
G’Zay has often been referred to as the Kenyan version of Kanye West. No not the ego and antics but because of his talent. He’s a rapper, super producer and sound engineer. This talented Nairobi-based music guru debuted in the music industry in early 2012 as part of music outfit Wryterz Block.
On stage, G’Zay is an intimate, compelling performer, who has made a name as one of the most energetic upcoming Kenyan artists.
G’Zay as also worked as a producer with some of the biggest African names such as King Kanja, STL, Wondaboy, Silvastone and the late Shrekeezy being the brain behind production of their song DOWN FOR MY CITY.
He mixes in traditional tunes with his own contemporary Afropop rhythms and brings a synthetic feel to his music.
D’Jungle is a rapper under the label 254 CMG (Superprodusir is a founding member) who has previously released a mixtape called THC (Theqa City), produced by Superprodusir in 2015, garnering him popularity amongst fans in Thika and it’s environs. The tape featured hits like “Mbichwa Tu” and “Thika Ruiru” which are fan faves.
His tracks “Ndireda Ithero” featuring Sector and Superprodusir (produced by Superprodusir), Chachisha Kabisa featuring Wakadinali (also part of the Freshmen this year) are garnering lots of traffic and airplay across top urban stations in Nairobi.
D’jungle is currently working on a joint mixtape called “BudBoyz” with Deniro Ule Wah. It doesn’t end there.
D’Jungle is also an aspiring actor with previous theatre works such as “D’jungle D’Movement threatre musical and Idriss the Movie, which premiered earlier this year.
Wakadinali is a crew mae up of Sacr and Domani Munga that records under Big Beats Afrique, the same label that Khaligraph Jones records at in a major way.
The crew started rapping back in 2004 when they were still in class 4 and began making serious music in 2013 when Scar got signed at Bigbeats Afrique, Domani joining him later that year.
The two have just finalized on a mixtape called Ndani Ya Cockpit and are currently working on an album (name undisclozed). They also have a show in Umoja (where Big Beats is located as well) called The Rym Gym that takes place the last Sunday of every month.
Khaligraph Jones believes in their talent so much that he featured them on his “Khaligraph Jones Presents” Cypher which was released at the beginning of last month.
Last but not least, Raj.
Born, Okemwa Rajiv, 22 year old Raj started his music career in 2013 as an independent artiste while pursuing his Economics degree in the University of Nairobi.
He released his first 14 track mixtape, Friday After Class in 2014 under his newly formed production house MusicBank. Raj then created buzz for his career by releasing Hip Hop hit Ndizi Flow which has over 46,000 views on You Tube independently.
To many, Raj was seen as a breath of fresh air since his style, Kisii Flow, was different and distinct in the way he fused his mother tongue Kisii, Swahili and English in his raps.
In Feb 2015, Raj released his club hit Obe Baba. That same month, he signed to Kaka Empire, a management company owned by Hip Hop poet and rapper King Kaka. He left soon after, sighting priority differences with the stable and went back to continue his initial MusicBank dream.
He released Obe Baba Remix with Norway based Kenyan female artiste Stella Mwangi in August.
2015 was quite the good year for Raj since he was contracted by Transcend Media Group for their TV commercial ‘Kuwa True’ that went on national Tv in September 2015. Raj composed and wrote the theme song for the Tv commercial.
His latest release Sawa Sawa (over 43,000 views) is getting regional airplay and also playing on MTV Base.
Well there you have it, Freshmen 2016 AKA Leaders of The New School. Share your thoughts on this year’s class below.