How Kenyan Hip Hop Should Look In 2017

2016 was quite a great year for Hip Hop. We had quite a number of projects come out, the videos were great, there were several Hip Hop shows and endorsements for a couple of artists. Being a new year, there’s so much that we could do to progress the culture and here are some of the things I hope will happen this year.

1. Queens of the mic
Being a game that is so heavily dominated by the fellas, I hope that this year there will be more ladies stepping up to the mic to show that they can compete with the guys on the same level. I look forward to DJ Mandy having more content out. Fifi Mild (who I hosted on UnKut The Cypher) looks like she’s got potential to do so much, all she needs is a little polishing. Tori (she participated in the rap battle held at The Alchemist) also has lots of potentials and I look forward to her work in 2017 and Wawa? She came through and killed it at UnKut The Cypher so there can only be more from her coming this year and trust me, there have been top names calling for her!

2. More Hip Hop shows
Skill Factory, It’s About Time, Mic Robbery are some of the shows that were really strong in supporting the up and coming Hip Hop Artists. This year I hope that there are going to be more shows that will put even more artists on, in a bid to, not only expose them to more fans but also to give them (a little) money for their performance.
It would also be really, really dope if we could have a Hip Hop Festival in Kenya, kinda like what South Africa has done with Back To The City which is one of the biggest ones in Africa.

3. Endorsements
Last year some artists had endorsements. Wangechi signed a deal with EABL, Khaligraph had a deal with Tusker Lite and one with Tusker Lager, which he let me know, are different entities and under BLAZE Kenya, an initiative that encourages the youth in Kenya between 18 and 26 years, King Kaka was involved, Khaligraph and Octopizzo as ambassadors.
Here’s hoping that we see more brands endorsing Hip Hop artists, not only those who are established but also those who are up and coming that they feel can represent their brand well. Bellaire is also in the country looking for a brand ambassador. It wouldn’t be so bad to see a Kenyan Hip Hop name tagged against it just like Rick Ross and DJ Khaled.

4. Support
I’m talking about all aspects. From the fans buying more music, going out to shows to support and not just behind their phone/computer screens, to more airplay both on radio and
TV, live shows incorporating one or 2 artists to do a Hip Hop set, more blogs covering (KE) Hip Hop, etc. There needs to be less talk and more work in 2017. The artists, of course, have to give us something to support so the videos and audios have to be on point!

5. Unity amongst artists
I hope to see artists unite this year. The wall that currently exists between those who are running the game and those who aspire to be in conversations this year, those who plan to launch their careers and those who just can’t wait to catch a big break and they’re hoping that 2017 is it. May no artist be too busy to progress the culture by making time for the future, Amen.

6. Collabs between established artists and those coming up as well as international collabs
See what Cassper Nyovest did with Ragga Ragga? If you don’t know what that is, check it out below! If an already established Hip Hop artist comes out and does the same thing here, uplifting and exposing their fan base to new talent, wouldn’t that be dope? How progressive would that be? It doesn’t even have to be a collabo, it could be mentorship. Just taking talented artists who have no clue what goes on in the game and showing the ropes; what’s hot and what’s not. That would be dope!
In 2016 Khaligraph featured on M.I’s Illegal Music 3 mixtape which was the final tape off the Illegal Music series. This got him quite a bit of traction in West Africa so this year we hope to see more Kenyan artists collaborate across borders; outside of East Africa. It’s time to show that we’re here and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

7. Hip Hop Awards
There were so many award shows last year. Some happened where there were star-studded events and others were online. Here’s hoping that there will be a Hip Hop Award show which will consider all elements of Hip Hop. An award show so dope that, if there were any doubts about whether Kenyan Hip Hop can compete internationally, this would be the answer.
There are so many other things I could include in here but let’s see how many of these will actually come to pass in the shortest period of time. From there, we’ll add some more.

Don’t forget, Hip Hop ni culture ya love!

Lover of Hip Hop, content creator and presenter at Homeboyz Radio, blogger, host of Industry Nite red carpet interviews, podcaster (RK Podcast with Kevin Grands) freelance writer for KenyanVibe.