Welcome to the first music roundup of new Kenyan music. The first of its kind in the country. Why has no one ever thought about this? Anyway, this segment is all about me or Keshie reviewing the latest Kenyan songs that have been released in the past week in one go. What used to happen before was me trying to review every song in their own article but that was exhausting. This new segment will be much easier and I will get a chance to talk about songs in length.
This will also be a weekly segment and we will be giving out scores. I feel it’s time that we acknowledge Kenyan music to more people worldwide. Of course, we are nowhere close to other artists out there but this platform will give artists a chance to strive to be better. The reviews are based on our listening experience, replay value and how we enjoyed it as a whole. Some biases will be there but not all the time.
Whew! Enough chit chat. Let’s do this.
Otile Brown – Nabayet
I have talked about Otile Brown a couple of times in this blog. What I have noticed is that he releases songs that are accompanied by their respective music videos and he moves on to the next one. I’m not kidding. His new songs lose relevance real quick. Take, for example, Dala Dala, the song he did with Ethic Entertainment. Do you hear about it anymore? Nope.
Now we have Nabayet, your typical Bongo-style RnB song. As expected, the song is well-produced and the music video is up to today’s standards. The view count on his YouTube page is also good with 400k views so he’s doing not so bad after all. It’s a good song, yes, but will it be relevant. Otile Brown has been dishing out singles this year and you wouldn’t know half of the songs he has released. That is, unless, you are a huge fan of his music.
One last thing, he doesn’t release these new songs to music streaming platforms. I keep seeing the likes of Ochungulo Family and Chris Kaiga releasing their songs to the platforms capturing a bigger audience. Otile wants me to keep up with him on YouTube. Sorry, for an artist of your caliber, you are lagging behind. Just like that, you’ve lost your replay value.
I’ll give Nabayet a doubtful 8/10.
Ethic Entertainment – Chapa Chapa
So, Figa was taken down from all streaming platforms because of copyright infringement. I wasn’t surprised because I talked about it in my review. But the boys are back with a new single and it’s the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” formula.
This time, we have Swat trying to make us look like we are illiterate in the Sheng language. That’s just about it. Everything else is the same. You know Rekles will do the chorus, we know there will be some women shaking their bums in the music video and that they will give us another club hit.
Long story short, my opinions about Ethic Entertainment remain the same. As long as they aren’t doing anything different to their sound and feel, you’d rather read the Figa review every time they release a new song. At least they release their songs on the relevant streaming platforms.
Mbosso featuring Reekado Banks – Shilingi
Even before I clicked on the video, the description told me what I needed to know about the song. Mbosso is an artist from WCB, Diamond’s Platnumz’ label. Here are a couple of guesses I have for the song; Lizer Classic produced the song, some good music video production, and some alright lyrics. Guess what I got when I finally clicked on the video?
This is another case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Your only hope with such kind of songs is to listen to the lyrics (which are usually great most of the time). I get why bongo artists use the same formula with their songs but sooner or later it will become a nuisance. If the artists could experiment with their sound, they’ll be fine.
As for Shilingi, it’s just okay to me. With the exception of the lyrics, this is your typical Bongo song. What’s even insulting is that this isn’t a Kenyan song but it is trending in Kenya. And as expected, there is always that one person asking people “Wapi likes za Kenya?”
Naiboi ft ExRay, Kristof, Fena, Benzema, Femi One, Mordecai, V6 and Khaligraph Jones – SONDEKA PART 2
I honestly do not know what Naiboi was trying to do with this song. Like I kind of liked Part 1 but I don’t know about this one. Was he appreciating the diversity in the local scene? Because we have Gengetone represented here in the form of ExRay to mainstream hip hop with Khaligraph Jones.
When you have such star power in your song, the results are usually mixed. Some artists outshine the other and the song goes on for too long. And DJ Shiti is there because why not. Uhm, I don’t like the whole song because it drags on after Fena’s verse. That’s a shame because Papa Jones does a great verse. Also, I don’t like how the phrase “Tunasondeka” is looped an infinite number of times. The beats are good though.
I don’t like it but I like some individual verses. A 7.5/10 for me.
VDJ Jones feat Juacali, Swat Ethic and Odi wa Murang’a – Wale Mang’aa
Genge meets Gengetone is the tagline that was used in the music video description. The result? It’s bad. I’ve never been a fan of Gengetone because of its basic premise (more about that here) and this song doesn’t make me like the genre in any way.
Let’s get some good things out of the way. I appreciate how the OGs are willing to collaborate with the new acts. The beats are okay, I guess? And that’s all we have for the good things. Everything else is a point of concern.
The song is a club banger, as the music description suggests. That means there are women twerking somewhere and the artists have some raunchy lyrics. I just don’t like it. To be fair, I don’t go out clubbing. That’s why I’m having a hard time liking it because I can’t relate to it. The song is not meant for casual consumption. Too bad.
Willy Paul – Chuchuma
Well, it is a better song than Lamba Nyonyo. That’s for sure. Now that Willy Paul is a secular artist, we can see him truly stand out. It’s almost as if he wanted to do it for some time now and gospel music wasn’t doing him any favors.
What’s interesting is that his sound hasn’t changed much. Just his lyrical content and some women shaking the bottoms. Is he trying to appease his old audience to appreciate his new ambitions? I guess so and it seems to be working. No doubt that Willy Paul is a big artist in Kenya and his songs do get a lot of attention on social media.
However, the song does nothing for me because I’ve never been a fan of his music. Some things change, like him changing genres, but some things don’t, like me being a “hater”.
And that is a wrap for the inaugural segment of new Kenyan music. Remember that this is a weekly segment so check back next week for new songs to cover (if any). There will also be a global version of this segment which includes new pop, RnB and hip hop songs from around the world. If you like this content, you can read more music content in the blog. You can also subscribe to the weekly newsletter where you’ll be getting notified about new posts every Sunday. Whew! So much for promoting myself. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.