Yasiin Bey Turns Up The Heat

There was barely any breathing space at the Ebony Lounge on May 28. Every single Hip-hop lover in the city and beyond had scraped, saved and borrowed, differed their local mama mboga debts and asked for advances to make it here.

The reason: Yasiin Bey. The Brooklyn-native was however not the only one pulling music lovers to the venue. It was a line up made in Hip-hop heaven: Wangechi, Xtatic Samz, Bamboo and King Kaka.

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Abbas and Bamboo reuniting for a night (All Photos/Lizzie Farida).

DJs began by amping up the crowd with some hip-hop classics to set the mood for the night. Finally, G-Money handed the stage over to Wangechi, who gave her first performance since her recovery from her tragic road accident. Xtatic Samz took over and was joined by Fena to perform “Jabulani” – a beautiful tribute to all who have left us too soon, and no doubt to Xtatic’s mother who recently passed. Bamboo then went on and free styled to the elation of the crowd. He then called Abbas to the stage and K-South was briefly reunited, busting out old favorites (“Kapuka this” anyone?). King Kaka was next on stage and for his hit “Ligi Soo,” Wangechi joined him to drop her verse. Amos and Josh came up and delivered their powerful vocals to “Promised Land” as well.

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Finally, Yasiin Bey, bringing with him his vintage vector microphone “Ruby,” waved the Kenyan flag high and performed songs from his array of albums, shared anecdotes, dropped some knowledge and basked in the hyped-up mood of the moment. He closed his set by dancing to “Dawn” by Gilbere Forte ft. Tame Impala. He performed for nearly three hours. It was truly an out of this world experience. And it once again showed that Nairobi Hip-Hop Rhapsody and Buddha Blaze always deliver when it comes to bringing local as well as international artists together to share sounds and ideas. It’s truly inspiring.

Check out a selection of pictures from the night:

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Wangechi and King Kaka

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King Kaka together with Amos & Josh

Xtatic

Xtatic Samz

Bamboo showing off his tattoos

Bamboo showing off his tattoos

The man of the hour: Yassin Bey

The man of the hour: Yassin Bey

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I'm a music & culture writer and photographer. Catch up with me on Instagram @muzikiyamtaa.