The week that was; “afromuziq-ally” speaking

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It’s been an exciting week in the African Music Scene, with equal measures of celebratory happenings and things that made me as a music lover cringe. You probably had an imaginary “most engaging text conversation” on your phone, whenever your friends were talking about that new IyanyaBow for you” tune, to avoid awkward silence from your end. Don’t this people have work to do? A family to spend time with? Some reading to catch up on?- You wonder. 11 months on and you are not even aware that Iyanya is now a Mavin. We’ve all been there- don’t worry. I got you. I tried summing  up some of the most notable things that took place in Africa’s music scene during this past week, to ensure that you are on the loop with what’s been happening.

Camp Mulla makes a musical come- back

Kenyan fans were treated to one of the most horrible performances of the year, courtesy of Teknomiles. Lucky for him though, the country’s very own; Kansoul, Fena and Camp Mulla made the 4000 bob (40 USD) spent for regular tickets worth it. And yes, you read that right. Camp Mulla made a surprise appearance and performance at the event, and even promised an entire album. I don’t know about you but I simply cannot wait for that one.

Mr.Eazi claims Nigerian artists are copying his style

According to Mr. Eazi, African songs are mostly a merger of  Ghanaian and Nigerian music, a sound that he is a pioneer of. As you probably  guessed, Nigerians went ham on him, to a point that he had to disable the comments feature on his Instagram posts. I’mma sip on my tea and let you decide whether what Eazi claims is true or not. (You can drop me a comment below;-)

Sarkodie dropped “Highest” Album

Just in case you missed it, Reefer Tym claimed that he is better than Sarkodie. To be more precise, that he “is the best and not Sarkodie”.  I said what I had to already, so let’s move on… Sarkodie’s album titled “highest” just dropped and has since been dominating iTunes album charts globally. The album is among the top 20 on the iTunes Hip- Hop Rap album charts in UK and US.

Producer Jack Jack on the beat joined Kaka Empire

Jack Jack on the Beat has produced among others; Collo’s Bazokizo,  Sema Ng’wee by Fena and Femi One’s Tippy Toe featuring Kristoff. Jack says that joining the label is the best decision he has made this year. According to him, “At some point in life, one realizes that you need to join a winning team.”

Another Mdee joins the music industry

Remember Namtero Mdee? She used to host Straight up Live on Kenya’s KTN TV. It’s impossible to forget the girl. Well, she’s back. And this time, as an an artist. A gospel artist. She now joins her sisters Vanessa Mdee and Marianne Mdee (who uses the stage name Mimi Mars) in the music industry. Check out her debut song and let me know what you think about it.

 

Coke Studio Africa is back

This is where the best of African Music happens. Live performances, music blends and exclusive access to your favorite stars…I live for this. This year, the show has merged with Coke Studio South Africa. Some of the artists that will be making a debut to the show include Rayvanny, Nasty C, Jah Prayzah, Runtown, Khaligraph Jones, Mafikizolo among others. It’s like attending a concert by your favorite stars and not having to pay a dime for it. What more could I ask for?

Is there anything that I missed which should have been on my highlights? Do let me know via the comments section below. (As well as what stood out for you the most in everything that’s listed here).

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Picture Source: Web

 

 

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STL’s Unconventional International Music Success

 

Kenya’s Stella Mwangi’s (STL) “Work” was chosen to be the official trailer soundtrack to the movie “A BadMoms Christmas”, which will hit theaters on November 3rd. The girl hasn’t even recovered from the song being used as the campaign theme soundtrack for Tommy Hilfiger’s Summer/ Spring line 2017. Or the same song being featured on BET‘s hit series Being Mary Jane‘s Season 4. Did I mention it being the official theme song for Reebok Classics ‘Free Your Style” 2017 campaign?…And that the beats to her song “Set it off” was also featured on the second season of HBO‘s TV Series “Insecure“? (I know! I’m jealous too).

With piracy being the major challenge that it is for artists, there’s very little hope (if any) left for album sales as a source or revenue. Those that are a step ahead are exploring alternative ways to earn from their music. In Nigeria, ring-back tones are making Nigerian artists millionaires. In Tanzania and Uganda, local artists plan for self titled concerts where they are the main acts and fans actually show up. Some of these concerts are even sold out. Try that in Kenya and tell me how it goes. No, actually- don’t. (I’d hate to be the reason for your career misfortunes.) Unless there’s an international act headlining the concert, you can only depend on a few family members and a handful of friends to show up. (And maybe your friends’ friends’- who have probably been promised free booze or a free to and from ride home). It could be a cultural thing- where we just don’t have it in us to support our very own or maybe I am wrong- (which I honestly hope I am).

If STL’s international success this year is anything to go by, it’s about time Kenyan artists start exploring different avenues to earn from their music. We’ve had endless battles between artists and MCSK over “insulting” royalties .While the system needs a change, artists need to be creative and open enough to see what else  can earn them what they deserve. What really works for you as an individual? (Because hey! just because Avril was a brand ambassador to Oriflame doesn’t guarantee that you will score a brand endorsement deal yourself. Or because Diamond Platnumz has a “Peanuts” business you can succeed by launching your own).

If you are an artist reading this, you’re a creative, I will leave it to you.

 

 

Reefer Tym better than Sarkodie?

In a pinned Tweet on his profile, Reefer Tym claims that Sarkodie isn’t the best, he is.

One of the qualities needed to succeed as a Hip Hop artist………scratch that. One of the qualities needed to succeed in any kind of industry is confidence. And needless to say, Reefer Tym has that. I have sampled his songs and I have to admit that they guy is quite something.

It however takes more consistently excellent content for me (and the rest of music lovers) to be able to judge whether he is better than Sarkodie or not. I say more consistently excellent content because  it’s common to have insanely talented artists break into the industry with such amazing jams, only to disappear after their first release (or second if they’re able to get that far), which cancels their previous acquired “artist” title.

I however look forward to hearing more from Reefer Tym and I will definitely be back once I have enough content from him to judge whether he is better than Sarkodie or not. He will have to back up the claim.

But for now, get to sample his music and let me know what you think about it on the comments section below.

 

 

New Age Hip Hop in Kenya; Camp Mulla Returns

Camp Mulla
Kenyan New Age Hip Hop Music Group- Camp Mulla

 

The cool cats- Camp Mulla are back! Well, not yet officially.  But they did announce their return as a music group at Tekno Miles’ Concert that went down on 9th September in NairobiKenya. And if that’s not enough, they have an upcoming album that we can look forward to. An entire freaking album.

Y’all don’t even understand how excited I am. In fact, I take that back. I’m not excited…Ecstatic best explains the rush that I’m getting by just thinking about their return.Yeah! Yeah! They did try to launch solo music careers, then we had the Cosmic Homies,  but  let’s be real. These kids were the real deal with entire crew together.  And lest we forget…at a time when there wasn’t much hope for Kenyan music, at least not beyond the country’s borders.  That said, as you might have figured already, I’m putting all my money on them. Their comeback to be more precise.  I’m sure they still got it in them.

As we await this historic return, let’s take a trip down memory lane to reminisce on some of my personal favorites from the music group.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be shy..Do leave a comment letting me know which is/ was your favorite Camp Mulla song.

 

Picture source: Web

A letter to M.I Abaga: The take home

As promised earlier this week, I finally got to watch the Loose Talk Podcast that featured M.I Abaga on what had all started off with an open letter to him from Pulse Writer, AOT2 . The discussion was centered on among others;  M.I’s Chairman Album, the switch in his rapping style, his take over as the CEO of Chocolate City and the role of entertainment journalists in pushing African art forward- 2 hours, 46 minutes and 15 seconds. (I know!- too long for a YouTube Video). But I can promise you this;  every minute of watching was worth my time (and will be yours too-if you haven’t watched it yet). Especially if you are a Hip Hop artist, enthusiast or entertainment journalist. I got upset, had my mouth wide open in disbelief , was laughing at some point, nodding  my head in agreement and sometimes, cringing  and hoping someone eventually takes back their words. Everything that you could possibly experience as you interact with great media coverage of arts.  Without fear of contradiction, this was definitely one of the most historic conversations about music that has ever happened- hands down.

10 crucial things that I picked up on;

  1. Entertainment journalists (EJs- for the sake of the rest of this article) recreate what is happening at every moment. We tell it like it is, even when the person we are writing about will not necessarily like what we have to say.
  2. A better part of EJs that came before and even those that are there today have failed. We need to have hard hitting journalism (even in entertainment) that’s not just gossip.
  3.  As an EJ, if I dismiss 10 of your songs that I think are whack, that doesn’t take away from you the fact that you are a great artist.
  4. Positive or negative reviews, it adds to an artist’s numbers.
  5.  Media has an important role to play in pushing arts and entertainment forward. It’s not just a matter of getting the job done. Get your facts right. Don’t just chase views.
  6. As an EJ, if you have the platform and contacts, use them both responsibly.
  7.  Build relationships with artists, understand their journey and how they view things. That way, you are able to write from an informed place and well rounded article.
  8.  If you are writing a review,  make sure that your critic covers the expanse of an artist- talk of the good, the bad and the ugly. Be balanced.
  9.  Make a clear distinction when you are giving a fact and when you are giving an opinion.
  10.  Artists have to keep changing and evolving with their music, in order to survive, which sometimes alienates some core fans.

In the words of M.I, “let journalists and artists work together to push art to greater heights. We are the hope for Africa. It’s not artists V/S journalists.”

(Referring to Osagie and AOT2) M.I also said that this was the greatest podcast they had ever done in their lives. I absolutely agree, not for entertainment value, but for the issues that were tackled. This was a great first step towards a culture change in Africa’s Music Industry as a whole.

New African Dance Music Video Alert: D’Prince Ft. Wizkid

 

Straight from Mavin Records is artist D’Prince with this high energy dance song, So Nice. And while he might have had to slow down due to health concerns, Wizkid continuously proves that  he is a legend when it comes to elevating African Music, which is what he does on this track. A celebration of that African sauce and culture through music and dance, that makes us so unique as a continent. This is a definate club banger.

What do you think about it?