(Disclaimer: This piece may be a bit technical and groupie-like than creative so bear with me)
I attended a work event sometime back. I deal with artistes so this event was all about music and performing arts. You see, the unpredictable and highly competitive entertainment industry called me serve it after I finished campus and because I needed to pay my bills, I gave in, hihihi! I have relatives and friends who are constantly asking me the kind of work I do. Some feel like I need a ‘real job’ the kind that forbids me from wearing jeans to work. A job that needs me to wear skirt suits (which I don’t own by the way) and the likes. The fact that I write on the side doesn’t make it any better. What is writing anyway? Society is still making creatives apologize for not being doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. and it is unfair. So damn unfair! The joy I derive from music and writing is just enigmatic, trust me. I listen to a diverse range of music genres, from 21 Savage to Jamnazi Band thanks to the kind of work I do, but Hip hop still remains my undisputed favorite. Music is life!
Here is a confession, I have ever cancelled a date to interview a music producer that I have admired for years. I screwed my one of my chances of meeting a Mr. Right…. I know. But calm your tits, I have never regretted that decision. At house parties, you won’t find me at the dance floor or bar or doing certain stuff hehehe! outside. You will find me next to the DJ tryna control the music being played. That’s a bad habit, I know but I am not about to quit it any time soon. I am very anal in the kind of music I listen to, life is too short to tolerate bad music aye? I once asked a DJ in the club to play me AKA’s ‘All Eyes On Me’ version produced by Fahrenheitz and the guy went on to play the original remix. Who even does that?
Anyway where were we? At the event. So, I met a certain bubbly South African chic and I liked her from the minute she said hi. From our conversation I picked that we had one thing in common –our love for South African Hip hop. So she asked me:
“Who is your favorite South African Rapper?”
(Counting my fingers) “AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Emtee, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C…….”
“C’mon! I said one rapper!” She laughed
“I can’t choose. I love them all! (pausing for a second to think) And how the hell could I forget Anatii!”
We cooed in unison at the mention of Anatii. A clear sign of having a massive mutual crush on him. I love Anatii’s eyes, I always have. His beats and lyrics are amazing too! I wanted to proclaim that I would marry him any day, take him to my mama, have his babies and pray to God that they be as beautiful-eyed and talented as him! But because this was a work event, I had to restrain the fisiness in me and focus……focus on his talent because this discussion was about MUSIC, not artistes whose babies you want to have. So I added:
“He is the illest meeeen!”
“Yes he is! Actually, he is one of South Africa’s most sought after producers! I have had the pleasure of working with him!” She remarked boastfully.
Obeee! She has worked with Anatii? My all-time African celebrity crush? My Sexy Chubby? (that’s Anatii’s alter ego). I met a person who has ever seen and worked with Anatii! So that means I have seen and worked with him……by association! Papa God! You are great! I wanted to hug her then address the nation! (Please don’t mind me or roll your eyes or do anything close to that, I can be such a groupie, let me know if there is any award that recognizes groupies) so greatly……restraining myself I asked:
“Wow! Anatii! How was it working with him?”
“Great! He is very talented and professional!”
“Are his eyes that cute…..like they look on the music videos? Why does he always wear sunglasses in his music videos?” (OK I did not ask that question) Instead I went on to tell her how I am such of fan of his music and all that.
She went on to ask me what I thought about the never ending beef between Cassper Nyovest and AKA and I told her that I love them both, and I would only choose one if I had a gun on my head. I went on to tell her that beefing is standard procedure in Hip hop culture. And that this was not RnB or Bongo where it’s all about love, mara ooh heartbreak, mara ooh Exes. This is Hip hop and in Hip hop we keep it real! Keep it fresh! Keep it certified! Keep it gangster! Hohoho! I am such a Hip hop head. We analyzed the albums of both artistes and while she was not an album kind of fan, I told her that I loved AKA’s ‘Levels’ Album and Cassper’s ‘Tsholofelo’ (she corrected my pronunciation) album.
We talked about Emtee and the record label he is signed to, Ambitiouz Entertainment. Unlike Kenya, record labels are a big deal in South Africa and yours truly here, makes time from her busy schedule to follow up on all the udaku that happens in South African record labels. Please don’t even judge, it comes with being a fan. Most Kenyan artistes are independent and royalties are paid directly to artistes through collective management organizations (CMOs). This SA chic told me that in her country, royalties are paid from CMOs through the record labels and because they have strict copyright laws and the media plays quite a lot of local content, record labels are pretty much a big deal. So last year, a number of signees like B3nchMarQ, Fifi Cooper and A-Reece bitterly walked away from Ambitiouz Entertainment, with some complaining that the label was favoring Emtee a lot and others complaining of financial disagreements among other issues. I followed that story like I was getting paid! This chic and I dissected this record label drama, yaani uchambuzi maalum, better than the political analysts on Kenyan news programmes and I enjoyed that discussion immensely (weird things fascinate me). Fun fact, Ambitiouz Entertainment also boasts of having a female music producer, Miss Pru Dj (Lord! I am such a fan). She is a super diverse music producer who also doubles up as a DJ. My favorite track produced by her is, ‘Ameni’ featuring Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, Fifi Cooper, A-Reece & B3nchMarQ. A song in which I don’t understand shit but it speaks to me, I can’t explain. I hope to meet a female music producer in Kenya, if at all we have any. Please tell me you know of a Kenyan female music producer, please…..
We went on to talk about Nadia Nakai and her new release ‘Naaa Meeaan’ in which she has featured Cassper Nyovest. Nadia is one heluva of a rapper with super legit bars. We gushed over Kwesta’s new song ‘Spirit’ featuring Wale, I don’t understand what he means but I get good vibes from it. You can’t talk about South African Hip hop and fail to mention Nasty C, everyone who’s heard Particula knows him right? So we discussed his album ‘Bad Hair’ and I was quick to point out my favorite song from this album, ‘Hell Naw’ you should try this track on a bad day, it works! Trust me. At some point we talked about AKA and Anatii’s past beef and how we were relieved when they made up and got back to studio to release more jams. These two were born to work together, have you heard ‘The Saga’ or ‘Don’t Forget To Pray’ or ‘10 Fingers’ or ‘Angels?’ Certified ma fren! My favorite line in all these jams has to be Anatii’s intro in ‘The Saga’:
These niggas ain’t down to earth they better come back down,
Heard they be taking shots need more rounds,
Done with the rands and nairas
Tryna loose pounds,
Yeah I’ll be in the gym working out
Dope huh? We finalized our South African Hip hop segment by discussing songs from other artistes like Yanga, K.O., Okmalumkoolkat (what a name, she corrected my pronunciation anyway), Da L.E.S, Ricky Rick and Khuli Chana. Khuli’s easy flow is quite something. After a long talk of bragging on how we knew so much about South African Hip hop, I asked this lady:
“So which Kenyan artistes do you love?” How stupid of me to assume that she loves Kenyan songs like I love her people’s Hip hop.
“Uuumh! Sauti Sol.”
“Wow! I love them too, any others?” I asked impatiently.
“Pretty much Sauti Sol.”
(Feeling so disappointed) “Just them? What about Kagwe Mungai? Or Victoria Kimani? Or Naiboi? Or King Kaka?”
“Avril? Or Maybe Khaligraph Jones? He is the OG! The real OG! Like certified OG!” I was getting desperate.
“STL? Fena Gitu? Muthoni Drummer Queen? Nyashinski? Wyre? The Kansoul?”
I was so hurt! Yaani all she knew about Kenyan music was Sauti Sol? Just Sauti Sol? She only knew them! Really? Wah! This thing still hurts! I could really use a hug guys! Sambari hold me! I can’t! *crying up careful not to ruin her mascara* I just can’t!
Alafu guys, rumor has it that American rapper Big Sean has cheated on his girlfriend sultry singer Jhene Aiko with former Pussycat Dolls leader, Nicole Scherzinger. Jhene divorced husband Producer Dot Da Genius after it was alleged that she cheated on him with Big Sean. Wueh! People can’t be loyal meeeen! Here is the thing you should cheat on though…..
Cheated on my fears, broke up with my doubts, married to my dreams
Rapper, Record Producer, Record Label CEO