Beat The Cold With This Kenyan Fire
Mikel Ameen – Real Niggaz Kill Themselvez
The World Changer emcee is back following his club banger ‘Give In 2 U’ featuring one of Nairobi’s most sought for artists, Shappaman. On this record, he produces a grungy visual directed by ‘The raw Filmmaker’ tapping into the noir Nairobi night club lifestyle, pouring out soulful bars for the listener. The down-tempo instrumental is befitting of the bouncy cadence Mikel employs for this track as he delves deep into poetic bars that leave one feeling the scars Mikel has endured just to pen such a momentous track. As he switches up the gear for his highly-anticipated 2Hiii2GoHell album, this is a very strong record that may go over listeners heads if they lack the attention required to enjoy this jam.
Shappaman – Take Time
The king of the good vibes gifts us with an Addi-produced tune that is set to get you off your seat just as the previous joint Addi-Shappa record Surfin that continues to mirror Shappa’s wide range as an artist. From the heartfelt melodies, heavy-laid distorted adlibs, and Shappa’s witty casanova flair, it is exciting to see the fresh potential the former Camp Mulla henchman is injecting into his music. Much known for his effortless freestyles, liberated persona, and leader-like bravado, the vulnerable Self reflection in this track seduces one easily and this track should offer more light into more upcoming Shappa music as he finds his voice more as a solo act in this landscape of music today. Addi On the Beats is another sharp shooter on the production credits as the two find chemistry, it wouldn’t be a mismatch to note the Camp-Mulla esque sound redeemed in this jam with the soul-ripping hi-synths. In ultimatum, this track despite Shappa’s new-found nature in minimizing the amount of words on songs letting the music speak for itself, is still a fresh idea and is largely saved by the stellar production arrangement of the songs’ bouncy drums, and polite keys that really give flight to the whole song and makes it sweet to the ear.
We are E11even: Neon Riviera + Rafikii
This is the project Nairoberry never knew it needed. The dynamic duo of producers, singers, rappers, video-directors, graphic designers; Vince Key Boy and Zirra, finally combine to unleash the 22-track album ‘We are E11even’. Swimming against the prevalent contemporary trends of few tracks compiled to produce mix-tapes, and EPs, the team decided to flourish with a very marathon-like project that embodies their outer-body style. Consistent of Kiswahili-usage, detailed attention to vocal performance, rap, auto-tune, rebellious techniques, this record is a feature-less project that is a step towards the future and comes clean with sufficient records for a rave such as static, croony songs such as Ngoja, it definitely has something for everybody. 808’s that slap, hard bass-lines, soft spoken introspective, it’s worth every second and actually strongly steers from the repetitive cycle associated with lengthy projects today.
Beloved B-Sides EP – Kilihippie
Nairobi underground hip hop-soul producer is at it again, this time with a surgical project that calls on Nairobi’s most rapid and fast-growing talent scene. From highlights such as a posthumous track by Nu Nairobi legend Jason Kalinga, alias, J.Kali, to enlisting collaborations such as Franco-rapping Bahati Bookings member Stephan Salon with Cosmic Homies’ angelic Marushka, to a close-out track by the mysterious PK Thande (R.I.Z.E), this project huffed and puffed life into the Nu Nairobi scene just from its edgy track list. Serenaded with lyricism, funk, basslines, sheng, innercity references, samples, and a hybrid of old school and neo sounds, this was the perfect opportunity to shine for newbies The Swamii, Boi Blacc, it was a very cinematic album, lest not singer Leru’s cataclysmic voice reminiscent of a young Erykah Badu.
Muddah – Mdogo mdogo
The Nairobi Youth artist is only getting started in his quest to being regarded as one of Nai’s most solid rappers. The Kangemi-raised act is on to something with his ode to street fashion in the 47 People-produced track. His laid-back rough tone blend well with the subtle production on the beat before all hell breaks loose for the latter part of the song sees Muddah glide with some interesting sheng(urban city slang) lyricism leaving the instrumental crying for more. The grimy fashion also branded on the video is worth a look as the young Nai creatives come alive in some of the freshest looks seen in the city from apparel like Bongosawa.
Steph – Papaya Dreams
Kenyan Afrobeat angel Steph, who is based in Mauritius, may be new to the scene but her first record featuring production from the more accustomed eclectic Kev Beatz is a soothing tune for the girls to whine down, and to get loose to this summer holiday. Her rapping is second to none, and only time is actually in between her and getting her shot to blow already. She is like a young Stella Mwangi, with a little more aggressiveness, and hardly can she leave you room to think she’s not it as soon as she gets a chance to bless the mic. Her sweet but chic charisma could easily skyrocket her to the top of the game with a little consistency. On this particular jam, Kev knocks out the xylophonic riddim for Steph to get in her element and rock the beat to sleep as she professes her love for her man and speaks life into her desired island romance. This is a nice way to get your feet wet during the pre-game, and generally a nice jam for those who appreciate good music.
Saronde – Kilamu ft. Blinky Bill, Iddi Aziz
UK music duo Saronde linked up with 254 electronic music master Blinky Bill and multi-talented cultured Kenyan musician Idd Aziz for the immersive tune Kilamu. If this isn’t the richest sound on the land right now from urban musicians, then we can’t point out anything fresher. From the abstract video portraying the stars in Space, though lacking a Saronde cameo, the jam is a traditional record pointing in an interesting sphere more urban icons can take even at the height of their careers. There is a lot of life in the record’ simplicity, but anything with super producer Blinky never seems to not take off. He does the verses while Iddi’s falsetto vocals get you back to the rooted African culture fast highlighting how much talent the man is just from a couple seconds on a song.