April has been filed with major events even having stars such as AKA, Timaya, Burna Boy and Nneka perform in the country. The Kenyan Hip Hop scene hasn’t been left behind either as many events came up with the aim of growing and progressing the culture. Here’s a wrap up of April’s hottest Hip Hop gigs.
April 8th: Where the Conversation Ends, 254 Battle Rap
Over a period of about 5 years, the conversation has been who is the better rapper off the top between Shahidi Xcalibur and Ojiji? This conversation came about when Ojiji beat Xcalibur at the Nokia Don’t Break the Beat competitions in 2012. This led to a lot of talks where some said that Xcalibur should have won while Ojiji’s fans maintained that he had put up a good fight and therefore deserved to win. Put together by Ondu Streetlawyer and Wise Guy Entertainment, the conversation doesn’t seem to have come to an end, 5 years later, after judges decided that Xcalibur was the better rapper. Judges were rapper Xtatic, who just completed her 5-year deal with Sony Music Group, Mwafreeka and Vee Eye Cee, who have all been heavily involved in influencing Hip Hop culture in Kenya since the era where battle rap was the thing.
April 9th: Blankets and Wine Festival headlined by AKA.
AKA is one of South Africa’s top artists. A Hip Hop artist arguably in his prime, AKA has won several awards and has performed all over the UK and US. He refers to performing outside Africa as “bonuses” because his aim is to be the biggest artist within the continent, more so because many international artists are being heavily influenced by the sounds coming out of Africa. Performing all his fan favorite records, his show was so great that fans asked for an encore. Throughout his set, AKA proved that being on stage is more than just performing the music, it’s also about having fun with the set, charisma and being a great entertainer.
April 20th-21st: Under the Influence (of art)
Now that there’s an ongoing debate about whether to legalize or not, some ‘Hip Hoppers’ decided to take advantage of the 4/20 ‘holiday’ to throw a show dubbed “Under the Influence’. Organize by Vice Life Entertainment and with artists such as TwennyEights, Timmy Blanco, Big Mo’, Shukid and Steph Kapela on the lineup, the show was there to further enforce that the new school Kenyan Hip Hop artists have too much to offer. Plans are in place to have more ‘Under the Influence’ shows.
UnKut the Cypher: March 5th
I’m not only saying this because I hosted this show. I’m saying this because of the feedback from the second season so believe you me, this one is here on a totally unbiased opinion. The second season happened at Dream Lounge and featured an All-Star set from season one.
The All Star Set featured artists who were “fan faves” from season one based on interaction online.
Originally not on the All Star set, DJ Mandy happened to be in the studio while the rest of the artists recorded and although it was decided last minute that she could also flex on the beat, she did a pretty good job at it.
If you haven’t had a chance to bump to the official audio, click here.
Stand by for details on the third season of UnKut, dubbed “QINGS”, happening on June 4th at Turning Tables, Kilimani Plaza. This edition is aimed at celebrating all the women who strive to thrive in this male dominated field that is Hip Hop.