By Buddha Blaze
The Kenyan music industry has had a fairly interesting run this season with an active calendar of events, launches, corporate endorsements and intrigue. In a balanced view of things the scene has become a lot more professional with practitioners taking it by storm and focusing on things that matter. You can see it in the quality of conversations being held about who is the hottest artist; this has translated into critique of videos and judging of showmanship in performances leading to a new breed of artists that are even hungrier than before. This is good for the Kenyan industry as a whole. It’s bubbling hard.
Many artists are releasing a lot of material in class. Neo soul singer Atemi launched her 2nd album titled Manzili – The State of Life at an exclusive event done by her new record label Taurus Records. Afro fusion artist Dan Aceda also released his album Made In Kenya at a classy event hosted by himself and his newly created music company called the African Bonfire. The song that’s’ causing ripples across the entertainment industry right now is the ‘Ligi Soo’ remix by rapper Rabbit. Rabbit’s released the hit earlier this year but has even made the song ever popular with the remix that features over 7 new and old artists including Chiwawa, Madtraxx, Mejja, Jay A, Lyra Oko, Wangechi, Shikow it really showcases different styles and talents that are in Nairobi.
Watch the video here:
On the DJ front Spark Africa and Roots International have started a weekly hip hop night called Nairobi Hip Hop Rapsody at Choices, Baricho Road that features various hip hop DJs from Kenya and other countries. The reason for this is because Kenya has a lot of hip hop fans but they have nowhere to go to listen to this great music genre. Recently DJs such as Homeboy’s G Money, Blinky Bill from Just A Band, DJ Gapp and DJ Zaq have all rocked the night and it’s receiving major reviews. It’s great that Nairobi hip hop heads now have a true hip hop night where classic and new hip hop can be heard. DJ Big Bear from Boston has been in Nairobi for holiday is gaining lots of fans heads for his old school, new school sets. He has a new night at Mercury ABC Lounge and plays at Frankie’s at Greenhouse, Ngong Road. He also just started on Capital FM.
On the corporate front, Kenyan biggest mobile phone Safaricom has recently launched a nationwide tour called Niko Na Safaricom Live. This is the third one and they have taken a street attitude and even included rappers on the tour. Niko NaSafaricom Live 2013 features rapper Octopizzo, P Unit and Daddy Owen. The other musicians on the tour are Kidum and Gloria Muliro. This is a great opportunity for artists to go around the country showcasing their talents on the big stage which is otherwise just a logistical nightmare if the artists have to do it on their own. Another corporate involved in music is Orange who have just launched a nationwide dance campaign called Beat Ya Street this is to encourage the vast talented dancers to come out and showcase their skills.
It’s a great time for the Kenyan entertainment industry; keep it here to keep getting more updates.
Buddha Blaze is a Hip-Hop and entertainment journalist, cultural historian, event organizer and entertainment stakeholder in Africa. He was the editor of East Africa’s first entertainment magazine, PHAT! Magazine which was instrumental in spearheading a cultural revolution in Kenya and the greater African region. His work as an event organizer reads from being involved in the pan-African Hip hop movement called WAPI, to the poetry movement Slam Africa. He also serves as a consultant for entertainment companies that target Africa and its diaspora. Most of his work can be seen on his blog BUDDHA BLAZE’S WORLD