Just the other day, I was about to rant on Twitter about how there are insufficient Kenyan albums to enjoy. I was rather disappointed that I had only reviewed three at the time and it would be unfair for me to categorize the best Kenyan album based on three reviews. So, I reached out to my friends who also enjoy music as much as I do. That’s when I was informed Papa Jones and Octopizzo also released their albums recently. So, I got busy this past weekend listening to them. We’ll start with Jones’ album.
Khaligraph Jones aka Papa Jones is an interesting person to talk about. Remember when he broke out with his hit Yego with the American accent then people called him out for faking it because he hails from Kayole? Then he had this scandal where people thought he bleached his skin. He even went further to release a diss track. He also has a record of speaking out when someone pisses him off but he has cooled off nowadays which is good.
Despite his many controversies, he is a great rapper. What I like about him is his unwavering effort to push the Kenyan music industry forward. You can always tell that by his rap flow, music quality and awesome live performances. To him, music is more than just an industry. It’s his way of life. This is truly shown in his recent album, Testimony 1990. Goodness me there is so much to like about this album that I’m angry at myself for not listening to it sooner. Damn you Apple Music. 😒
What I like
Even before you get to listen to the first track, you just know that it will be a typical rap album. Bragging, good life and women are always the topics of discussion in those albums. You can, therefore, understand my shock when I got none of that from Papa Jones. What we get, instead, is an appreciation album.
For Mr. Jones, it has been a steady and tough climb to the top and all he can do is be grateful for the far he has come. Seriously, he is more grateful to God than most gospel artists in Kenya. And yeah, it’s official: I have a problem with the gospel industry. Anyway, I really enjoyed hearing Papa Jones talk about his story to the top and his gratefulness for the whole experience.
It gets even better when he advises the current generation to keep off drugs. Let’s do a quick survey, how many rappers today tell people to keep off drugs? I only know three; J Cole; Octopizzo; and Jones. However, people seem to enjoy the songs that talk about consuming drugs. It’s a great move for influential artists like Khaligraph Jones to be sending a message to the people and say “Hey, that’s not the way”.
Perhaps the best thing I love about the whole record is that he is telling us stories. From how deceiving IG girls can be, to how ungrateful people are after sticking out for them, and how we need to be united as a nation. There is so much discussed in this album that it has made me like Papa Jones even more. This is, by all means, a mature album.
The mature album is accompanied by great production. I find it pointless to talk about the production because he has always been on point. Just know that nothing has changed in this record. Everything is great. The features are also great who stand out in their unique way and don’t dim Jones’ light. You could say they are complementing each other.
What I don’t like
The obvious issue at this point would be the album length. 17 tracks. That’s 5 more than the recommended 12 but I don’t mind it in this album. At no point did I feel like it’s taking longer than expected nor did I feel like I was forcing myself to replay the album. It is a well-paced album; starts off slowly then reaches the optimum in the middle and cools off at the end.
Plus, can we talk about how many times Khaligraph Jones and the features keep on saying OG or Range Rover. If I had a shot for every time those two words were mentioned, I would be looking like this.
Or if I had a dollar for every time they were mentioned.
The funny thing is that he does own a Range Rover. I guess he loves it so much. 🤷♂️
A mature album by an exceptional rapper. This is a classic album by its own rights and should be held up for future generations to come. I had a good time listening to it.
With those remarks, this brings about an important question. Is it good enough to topple MDQ’s She from the top spot? Yes, but not by much. I give it a 9.5/10. Great stuff.
Octopizzo’s album review is next in line. Will it be a worthy contender to Testimony 1990? We shall see.