October 23, 2018

Kenya Music Industry Quickly Becoming a ‘fast food outlet’


There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with fast foods, at least when taken occasionally. Once in a while we have all popped into a fast food joint either as a result of cravings or because the situation allowed. However, fast foods have never and should never replace the healthy meals.Sadly though, this reality is not reciprocated in all aspects of our lives on things we consume. This includes, what we watch, what we read and what we hear. In the later segment falls our music industry and the situation is bittersweet.

Why would one compare fast foods with the local music industry? They share characteristics as simple as that. Your serving of fries and/or burgers, pies etc. lacks depth (nutrition wise), is easy to prepare requiring no much technical skill, has health hazards when one takes for long, is a short term fix and never a memorable meal. When it comes to most of our current local music, it has all the hallmarks of junk food.

To be fair, and to give a holistic judgment of the music industry currently, it has grown tremendously. There is greater ease of entry, there are more players at any levels, it is definitely paying well, artists, music producers, deejays and all others are valuing the need for substantial investment and it shows. A major improvement has been the beat makers and video producers and these deserve all the accolades they can get. So wherein lies the problem? Well, a number of artists and the nursery rhymes they CONSISTENTLY churn out in the name of music.

Kansoul members, Mejja, Madtraxx and Kid Kora
Kansoul members, Mejja, Madtraxx and Kid Kora

Consider the Kansoul group, made up of Kid Kora, Mejja and Madtraxx. Ever since the three came together it has been nothing but a downhill in terms of what they sing/talk/rap/yap. The investment and skill spent in making the beats and the videos is wasted on the best verses these guys give out. Here is a sample;

Coz When It Comes To Instagram I’m An Addict,
Looking Through Your Pictures In This Traffic,
You’ve Got A Fat Ass, I Double Tap That,
A Cute Face, Nice Waist, Thats A Screen,
A Pic Of You In 98 Thats A Throwback,
And I’m Still Looking At You Like I Would Hit That

(part of Kid Kora’s lines in Dabotap)

Ati Broke? I Dont Know The Meaning,
Ati Broke? Me? Mi Know Fix It,
Ni Team Mafisi, Looking For Fisses,
The Kansoul, You Cannot Miss It,
I Like Em If They Gain 2 Inches When They See,
Napenda Wanawake Fire Ka Pirot,
Technique Noma, Kushinda Baba Stiro,
Yaani Ni Show Kwa Six By Four,
Wanasema You’re The Best Yeah, I Know

(Madtraxx lines in Drum)

Twende Juu, Twende Chini,
Ukichoka Shikilia Chini,
Uwe Na Miaka Themanini Ama Arubaini,
Kata Kiuno Kama Una Mashini,
Ni Sisi Tena, Mejja Na Mad-Trizzy,
Combination, Utachizi,
Weka Manzi Poa Ama Nimpeleke Missing,
Ule Dem Ako Na Micro Mini,
Anaku Bamba Piga Kiswahili,
It is really hard to pin point what coming together has added to the individual artists but that’s not for this article to deduce, this group is single handedly becoming the largest purveyor of banality in the current music scene. Them and Jaguar,of Kipepeo, kigeugeu-One Centimeter fame. It is really becoming hard to understand Jaguar’s intention with the frequent repetition of words and phrases in songs already devoid of enough words. Unless irritation is the intention this cannot pass off as a stylistic device only a lame attempt to fill a verse and One Centimeter has reached new lows as is elaborate in his last lines of the song, he sings/raps;

Usiwai Lia, Siku Zote Maishani Mwako,

(Maishani Mwako)

Maishani Mwako,
Wacha Nikulinde, Kila Siku Kama Commando,
Kama Commando,
Kila Siku Commando,
Wacha Nikulinde, Kila Siku Kama Commando,
Kama Commando,
Kila Siku Commando,

It is pretty a long list of artists who give you the impression of either lacking talent, laziness or a total disregard to the intelligence of their listeners or all the above. It is okay for an artist to make a couple of feel good songs but even then they have to show the creativity and effort. The fact that most of these artists are indubitably some of the biggest lights in the region does point out to the mass audience taste, as Eminem sang in Syllables.

It’s not about lyrics anymore, it’s about a hot beat and a catchy hook

If we gotta dumb down our style and ABC it
Then so be it
.Cause nowadays these kids, jeez
Don’t give a shit about lyrics
All they wanna hear is a beat and that’s it
Long as they can go to the club and get blitz
Pick up some chicks and get some digits
And the DJ’s playing them hits
Oh, this my jam, this my shit
We don’t know a word to a verse,
All we know is the chorus
‘Cause the chorus repeats the same four words for us
And the songs ginormous, the whole formula’s switched
‘Cause we don’t know anymore, what are hits
Is it the beat, is it the rap?
Is it a finger snap or the same 808 clap?
It is not about trying to box some artists into a role, it is simply asking that they respect their audience. Everyone on the local scene is investing in content creators, and a number of artists can do with the skills of a songwriter at least then we wouldn’t have to put up with these for long.

And I’m the king, oh yes baby girl you can be my queen

Na mambo bado hapa ni mwanzo

Kwa hivyo ukitupa mbao shauri yako

How does this sound? Me and you me across the globe

How does this sound? Me and you dipped in gold?

How does this sound?  We both grow grey and old

Together we stand, divided we fall



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