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.
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 Nairobi–Kenya. 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.
Like I said before on my previous article, I love M.I. But…I am going to be as unbiased as I possibly can on this particular subject. M.I joined the music scene in the early 2000s. Through his easy going with a heavily- loaded- punchlines kind of rap technique, the music scene and especially HipHop was revolutionized. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in M.I’s flow and the content that feeds his music, contrary to what we were used to from him before. And probably why some of us are too hard on him.Trust, once you have experienced such a kind of musical prowess, there is no going back. You just cannot settle for less. Sample “The Chairman” and tell me if you’ve listened to anything as phenomenal.
Here’s where I disagree with M.I. As an entertainment journalist, I am allowed to analyze and give my honest opinion about an artist and\or their work, whether positive or negative. Did M.I have the right to respond to the criticism? ABSOLUTELY. However, not with insults aimed at the writer and certainly not by discrediting him for doing his job and very much so within his right.
I do agree that it’s common for most entertainment journalists to dwell more on the negative aspects of things as opposed to the positive, just like M. I pointed out. “Bad News makes for good news”- sadly. But try this; balance. Celebrate artists and give credit where it’s due and yet still, call them out on what you think isn’t right.
As for artists, much as you want to be acknowledged for your good work, you need to be open to negative criticism as well. Decide on what you want to pick and learn from and what to ignore.
It’s a mutually beneficial relationship (between journalists and artists) that when properly nurtured will arts and entertainment the lift that they both need.(Don’t get it twisted- I’m not talking about kissing a**)
A moment of silence for Diamond Platnumz‘ transition from broke and skinny to the fly superstar that he is today.
If at all there’s anything you should learn from Diamond is that with hard work, consistency and a never giving up spirit, you can be whoever you want to be. His journey should inspire you enough to keep going, irrespective of where you are and how far from your dreams you seem to be. Enjoy this throwback set with Diamond’s songs.
Also, let me know which among these is your favorite.
Then came “A letter to M.I“. Dope song, minimal instrumentals that rightfully channel all the attention to the sick bars; such an incredible listen. The song pays homage to Nigerian rapper MI for being such an iconic artist who was at some point considered to be a “rap god”. All this in 50 seconds before isht takes a real turn and gets into how M.I had lost his “mojo” over time, failing to deliver to his fans the kind of amazing music that they were previously accustomed to from him.
Disclaimer Alert: I LOVE M.I. But I do need to give credit where it’s due. A letter to MI is one of the most amazing HipHop songs that I have heard in such a long time. The lyrics are well thought of and the creativity that puts together an entire story through a rap song is definitely something that more HipHop artists should learn to do.
However, if you are a creative, then you better than anyone else know that sometimes you hit a plateau that has you revolving around the same ideas. Other times, you give up everything that you can for your craft, until you have nothing left to give. The result; exhaustion and possible depression. Nothing as horrible as feeling defeated in something that you love. That my friends is when you need to stop and just breath.
It’s OK to take a step back. It wouldn’t be a first. Nyashinski, Alikiba and Mafikizolo all did. They came back with such a big bang we almost forgot about everyone else in the game. If anything, a break (no matter how long) is the best possible time to re- evaluate, think about why you fell in love with your art, what worked, what did not work and how to do it even better.
So much as I miss M.I’s contribution to the music industry, give the guy a break. It might just be what he needs to get that charm back.
No artist has embraced their being African as wholesomely and beautifully as Yemi Alade has. If at all I was to explain to someone that had no idea what African Music is all about, she would be whom I would point out to. Yemi is the best representation of modern Africa’s amazingly diverse culture and sells the continent to the world like no one else does.
This girl has studied the art of branding like her life depends on it. Case in point; V.Money brilliantly blends her Swahili roots with different contemporary influences to create progressive Bongo Flava– a sound that is uniquely hers. She is anything but boring with expressive signature looks that reveal her bigger than life personality, making her a gem in the entertainment industry.
From TV personality and blogger, to being one of the most sought out publicists in Africa, Anyiko is a living example of just how far passion can take you. She is the girl to go to for some exclusive tea on what’s popping, the person to talk to if you need a hook up with the creme de la creme of Africa and the only one you should be talking to if you’re looking for good press that will take your career to a whole new level.
Feel free to add on to the list of people that you think ought to have been mentioned on this list.
Been a while since I posted but then again, you know how fate always gets a way to bring back people to their first love?….so here I am. I missed blogging, sharing my love for Urban African Music with the world but most importantly, I missed the feeling that comes with doing what I love.
So I stop what I am doing and move closer to my speakers and boy oh boy…..if all covers sounded as good as this one did, no one would ever bother to listen to original songs. I honestly cannot remember just how many times I played this cover over and over again.
And just when I was about to break my repeat button (literally), I knew I had to find other covers done by this particular guy, Gael Will. Lo and behold, that was when I found Davido’s “If” cover. I’m not trying to shade anyone but I honestly think that Gael’s version sounds waaaay better than Davido‘s. The original is OK but listening to the cover made me realize that it’s what I ought to have been listening to all along. You just cannot go back and listen to any other version of the song once you hear Gael’s.
Gael’s exceptionally powerful vocals, passion for the music and the fresh vibe that he adds onto a song is honestly a complete package that most artists only dream to have. And while he is still an upcoming artist that I think could do even better with a management team that believes in him and invests in his talent even more, maybe just focusing on doing covers could take him further (musically speaking), my thoughts though.
Here are some of the other covers that he has done, do check them out and tell me which ones are your favorites and also which other songs you would like to see him cover and hopefully he will…see what I did there? ;-0
Esther Nabatanzi is a Ugandan singer, vocalist and performer. A journey that started out with her singing in the church choir, before joining Uganda’s Ejazz Band as a lead singer and then venturing into a solo music career, the former Tusker Project Fame contestant remains to be one among the very few that make something of themselves after participating in music contest shows. An accountant by day and musician by night, Esther who is a Makerere University Graduate with a Bachelors in Business Administration is a gem to watch out for, with the perfect honey voice that would have you want to listen to her all day, every day!
I got the rare chance to interview her and this is how it all went down….
How was the transition from singing in the church choir to secular music and did you get any back lash for it?
I can’t say that it was a transition really because all I do is sing inspirational music, that may not necessarily be gospel nor evil. I am simply an artist that wants to inspire.While judgement about what I do is inevitable, I haven’t received any backlash from the church- though I am not sure what they (the church) thinks about my music.
What influenced the decision to move from singing in a band to going solo?
I felt like venturing into a solo career would help me build a stronger brand. Also, it is a lot easier to promote an individual other than an entire band. That said though, I still am part of a band with whom I still do live performances with.
Besides building a stronger brand as a solo artist, what other notable differences are there between being a solo artist and being part of a band?
Being a solo artist means you can ably compete in the industry and can be ranked accordingly depending on your individual strengths and weaknesses, other than as a group. Also, you have no choice but to be more keen on your work, as your success or failure all depend on you as an individual rather than shared responsibilities that may sometimes contribute to one being a bit laid back.
How do you strike a balance between being an accountant and an artist without neglecting or putting too much effort on one?
It’s only weekends and evening hours after 5PM when I do music, the rest of the time, I am an accountant. I however have to work extra harder than an artist that does music full time.
You style of music is majorly RNB and mostly on love, why so and not on any other genre or topic?
I am currently working on my first album, which has love as it’s major theme.The album however consists of other genres of music including Zouk and Reggae. Other topics shall be covered in the next album. It’s all part of a bigger strategy.
How did you choose love as a theme for your first album….why not anything else?
Love is a topic people can easily relate to. Everybody has been loved or faced challenges in love. All other values such as respect, kindness, integrity are as a result of love. Love is everything and it was a perfect way to introduce myself to the world.
You got 2 nominations at this year’s Club Music Video Awards and though you did not win, it’s a major milestone considering you only started singing professionally as a solo artist in 2016. How do you think the nomination will impact your music career or has it done that already?
It was an eye opener. I realized that people are watching me. This means a lot to any upcoming artist. I am more motivated and focused now.
Tubaale and Gwenafunye are currently doing so well. How do you ensure that you don’t get too comfortable with current success so that you are always on top of your game?
I never get too comfortable with anything because successful people keep improving themselves to become better persons. I am definitely not where I want to be so I have to keep working harder.
I listen to your music and can’t help but think of Naava while at it. You guys sound so much alike. Do you ever get that?
Oh yeah. Especially with my first single Gwenafunye. People thought it was Naava’s song. I am however OK with as for first songs people will compare you to existing artists, but this slowly fades with subsequent songs and then they start to see the distinguishing factors between you as artists.
So far, it has been all solo projects you have ventured into…any upcoming music collaborations we should look forward to?
I have some collaborations done already, just not yet released…and no, I’m not telling. It’s going to be a surprise. However, collaborations for me are more about me being able to connect with the artist I am collaborating with as opposed to looking at it as a strategy to become famous. There has to be a strong musical connection for me to be able to collaborate with an artist.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
More inspirational music and a lot of music that is straight from the heart.
I think spitting rhymes was one of those things that our forefathers did just after a hunting session, as they carried the day’s meal home. Seriously, think about it…”Yoh! My name is Onkule the great, the man in charge of today’s fate, cause all I do is catch that prey and make sure that my fam is fed”(drops mic)… no?
I don’t know about you but I would personally rather listen to an artist that sings or raps in a language that I don’t understand, but has me getting at least 70% of the words (or at least have me thinking that I am getting it). That for me is way better than someone who sings/ raps in a language that I understand and yet never making sense of what exactly they are singing/ rapping about.
While there are plenty of African Hip Hop artists that I would have on my list, these ones have consistently proven themselves over time, with a unique style that makes them uncontested pace setters.
Besides being effortlessly smooth with his lyrics, K.O is one of the very few artists that I wouldn’t care as much to listen to, because I wouldn’t understand what he would be going on and on about (considering he often raps in his native language). And yet still, I find myself straining to get his flow. They say that music is a universal language, but it takes an exceptionally talented artist to wow a foreign audience.
To be honest, when he first started out, I knew he was good but did not think he would last long in Kenya’s rap scene.
For me, King Kaka lacked that “umph” that made other top rappers in the country (at that point in time) successful.
He has however proven me wrong over and over again and I am glad he did. His poetic style fused with his being a great story teller more than anything else makes him the timeless rapper that would have me tirelessly listen to him all day, any day.
She is bold and embraces her art fully for what it is- a platform to explore and discover. Creativity has a whole new meaning thanks to MDQ, who isn’t just about having great lyrical flow, but making sense with every dropped bar. Certainly a refreshing approach to a genre that was initially used purely reserved for entertainment, especially in Kenya.
Best International Act in the African category at the 2012 BET Awards, Sarkodie has got to be one of the best all time rappers of Africa.
He often raps in his native language (which again would have me thinking I could be doing something more meaningful with my life other than trying to figure out what he could possibly be rapping about).
However, his commanding presence leaves me no choice than to stop whatever it is that I am doing and to pay attention. And here is the thing about Sarkodie, I cannot count the number of times after listening to him I’ve thought “Darn! that was so good I have to listen to it again.”- that ladies and gentlemen is a powerful artist.
I can’t think of anyone’s lyrics that are as fresh and well thought like Joh Makini’s .
He unlike most modern day rappers does conscious music other than strive to be musically correct or sell hype, which constantly has him on my radar and looking forward to what he would have to offer next.
A Hip Hop pioneer that has remained true to what attracted people to his style of music, he doesn’t call himself a Swahili rap king for nothing.
Did your best African rappers make it to my list?
Vote or/and drop me a comment below and let me know.