MUSIC: Ibeyi – Stranger/ Lover

Iberia latest video release is of Stranger /Lover this was a stand out track while listening to their album earlier this year. The fine line of being a stranger and lover. The video is simple set against a black background the twins deliver their verses and chorus while masculine hands ruffle their afros.
Watch the video below

Maureen Muthoni

@MISSMUSO

FILM: Idris Elba 007

Just over a year or so #teamidriselba have been vying for him to take on the role of 007 after Daniel Craig, at the start of 2015 Elba made his first response in regards to claims with a funny instagram picture.

On the 1st of September 15 Anthony Horowitz a writer of the Bond novels was quoted saying that Mr Elba was ‘too street’ to play James Bond and moved on to say “Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” twitter soon went into a frenzy and Horowitz later issued an apology but what we love more is Elba’s response (see attached image below). The Definition of a Classic Man.

Only time will tell if Elba will surely take on the role of James Bond, personally am still waiting on Luther to get back on our screens.

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Maureen Muthoni

@MISSMUSO

MUSIC: Artist Overview 'Young Fathers'

LISTEN to their voices raise up as they chant in unison equally blended and tightly weaved relaxed aware not to over shadow their counterpart each has mastered their own art meet Rapper Kayus Bankole, Producer/ Singer Graham ‘G’ Hasting and Singer Alloysious Massaquoi this is ‘Young Fathers’ the Nigerian/Scottish/Liberian trio that is offering something new, different, uncomfortable and most important intelligent “conscious” Hip/Hop more so Pop than Hip at times described as a Psychedelic Hip Hop group they describe themselves as a ‘Pop‘ group marking out their latest release to be filled under Pop/ Rock.

“If you go into the record store, rock and pop has got the biggest section. We wanted to be in there,” says Hastings.

The structure of the group showcases the vast mix and influence drawn from each individual’s background. Their ability to mix heritage and history in short bursts of catchy songs with fast narration; most captivating is Kayus’ poetry like voice that leaves you praying for a few minutes in his embraced “African” accent a mix of pigeon and rap makes his experiences all the more authentic to the ear. ‘G’ adds a soulful raspy mix to the records when he steps in you instantly recognise his vocals listen to ‘Sister‘ (btw I would love to hear G let loose on a cover of No More Drama) a silenced rage pierces through while Alloysious  toys with a number of vocal ranges sings and raps but holds greater strength in telling stories that reflect a life full of adventure and pain so pleasantly presented real, raw but beautifully written etched into your memory.

AK47 take my brethren straight to heaven

Tell the story that I’m living say the words and I am smitten” ‘No Way’, Dead

Young Fathers present strong social commentary a type of Ousmane Sembene production that keeps you thinking it’s not enough to listen, NO! listening is not enough you have to read piecing there sliced up life experiences and lyrical imagery it will all make sense in the morning like a light switch that finally blinks on breaking down the lyrics and still captivated by the build-up of the compositions how elements that one would not readily place together flow so well.

“I always try to visualise us performing, thinking, is this entertaining? Would I be excited by this? Why don’t you write a decent pop song where you say what you need to say and it’s catchy – there’s your protest! You want to involve everyone.”

The groups’ presence in the industry has been greatly recognised over the past two years today they stand as winners of the Scottish Album of the Year 2013 with ‘TAPE TWO’ and Mercury Prize Award Winners 2014 with their LP ‘DEAD’ and currently nominated for another SAY Award 2015 for their ‘DEAD’ LP.

TAPE ONE marked their first release a Mixtape better yet an EP that showcased the bands identity, this their most “Hip Hop” with hints of soul sounding release that features several stand out tracks see Rumbling, Sister and the lead single Deadline heavily laced in deep drums the EP presents poetic lyrics that reach through to Afrobeat Soul and dub reggae sprinkle a handful of self-made music videos this is DIY at its best. This was then followed up with TAPE TWO a softer awakening that saw the group offering a number of ballads. Early 2014 saw the official LP DEAD, a combination and outgrowth from both Tape One & Two.

Early 2015 a tour underway Young Fathers delivered their latest instalment ‘WHITE MEN ARE BLACK MEN TOO’. The premise of the release a starting point to a conversation of race and identity presented in a Pop Album light and breezy with a lasting impact.

All mentioned releases are available online to listen to and also download White Men Are Black Men Too is available for purchase in all major music outlets. This was initially written for publication for a magazine in April 2015.

Maureen Muthoni

@MISSMUSO

REVIEW: Mista Silva 'Let It Off'

Mista Silva

LET IT OFF

April 2015

F2D

There is a very strong Ghanaian,or I should say West African community in London.. a good mixture of British born West Africans that feel strongly connected with their roots, and equally proud to be British. I guess this maybe one of the reasons the Afrobeats sound is so loud in the UK.” Told to OkayAfrica

On my two hour bus journey from work I listen, music keeps me company away from watching video memes that would otherwise have me laughing out loud and I refuse to look crazy on my commute, although it might help brighten dull dragging mornings of zombie faces on their way to and fro work.

Today I choose differently I opt for Represent Radio DJ Neptizzle Ultimate Afro Beat Show that has been staring at me for the past week, Mr Silva makes a guest appears talks through his career and his EP set for release. Self-assured and ready to take on all opportunities he has been working hard on a number of EPs fixed for release throughout the year, this first quarter we are presented with ‘Let It Off’ six tracks, clean production with a strong nod to highlife, you can hear the vast influences that Silva blends into his own style, his lyrics are positive and project a spiritual elevation that is rare to find in music. Silva has also captured a simple formula people are not always interested in LPs but are over single releases that linger along and have no home; this EP offers a great foundation.

‘Let it Off ‘offers some fantastic stand out tracks for example the second single B.A.D(Baddest, Achieving Don) with visuals from Kojey Radical a follow up of Like It ft A.I.M of which was accompanied with some super dope visuals another track is a collaboration with Castro Go Gaga, you will have to move when you hear it.

West African influences on “B.A.D” come within the verses taking inspiration from the language of Ghanaian and West African youth, broken English. By now you should know I really just enjoy blending cultures together in an African way.”

All in all Mista Silva is a breath of fresh air and anyone who can inject a unique sense of style and positive energy has to be celebrated and share with the rest of the world. His latest single ‘Goes Down’ really goes down too (all the puns in the world intended)

Let It Off is available for purchase in all major music outlets.

Maureen Muthoni

@MISSMUSO

5 Reasons why listening to Mr.Vigeti is better than dating your favorite socialite.

Johhny Vigeti is one-third of the Kenyan based rap trio Kalamashaka with a little bit of salt, sauce, and some pepper sprayed on top. He’s also regarded as your popular rapper’s popular rapper in Kenya. He’s the author and originator of killer flows and punchlines. Going forward, who doesn’t know the line,

”…Madoggy za mitaa zingine hazikojoi mtaani hapa.”

which when translated from local slang means that dogs from other neighborhoods aren’t allowed to urinate here.

In the past years, he’s been on a Hiphop Sabbatical due to slightly straying and following a path littered with crime and hard drug abuse. Fortunately, he’s decided to clean up—thanks in part to his superproducer Ken Ring—and has put out a much anticipated 12-track Hiphop & Reggae album project called ‘Mr.Vigeti’ that I’m analyzing on this blog. I will use the term socialite—a celebrated person that spends most of their time attending social functions and events—purely for contrast. Here are my five major rationalizations on why you need look out for this young lion:

  1. Its honest and incredibly tear-jerking.

Spending a weekend with your most revered socialite will leave you with a $15,000 bill. That’s if you’re rich enough to fit this bill on a random 4-day rendezvous’ in Dubai. But not Johnny Vigeti! Just for $0 banging his new album dubbed ‘Mr.Vigeti’ up in your system will leave you tearfully ruminating about your life. As a case in point the track called ‘Mama’ (Swahili for mother) featuring singer Theluji Alicios is an open letter to his mother on the daily struggles he’s undergoing and his path to self-decay and corruption caused by his deep drug abuse and crime in the informal settlements of Dandora. In it he relays his grateful feelings to her for playing her parenting role perfectly well even though he intimates his desire to mend his ways. I found this track to be important because I reckon if you and I want to move forward in our respective establishments then it’s mandatory for us to have an honest re-examination and re-evaluation of our past, perhaps noting the specific concerns we need to resolve.

  1. Compelling personal stories as the new revolution.

Having a revolutionary story line is not always synonymous with an artists’ content bordering around strong political messages and metaphors. It also implies that the artist is letting his fans or other enthusiasts walk with them through the process of personal change by letting them in on their deepest emotions and thoughts. In essence, being truthful and transparent with their fans. And to this end, on the track ‘Siku Moja’ Vigeti vents about being overwhelmed by his drug situation, being in an emotional meltdown which left him extremely distressed to the point of being admitted in a hospital institution. He mashes up of all these revelations with a heavy bass voiced hook that’s supposed to express his confidence with the future.

On the flip side, your dream socialite will suffocate your respiratory system with the i-came-from-the-bottom-now-i-am-at-the-top cliché vibe. Still they never open up to their fans about the disquieting thoughts and blues which they occasionally nurse as a result of their complicated course of life.

  1. Ken Ring’s production is a mini-tour to the Orchestras.

Your choicest ratchets can only bump their posterior ends to monotonous and repetitive Jamaican-Ragga beats. The problem with this format is the fact that when you throw away the visual, the music becomes inconsequential. On the contrary, lending an ear to Ken Ring’s production is like taking a mini-trip to a classical music showcase. The track “Scarface Dream” contains head bobbing instrumentals with heavy snares and layered with some nice strings and violins. Vigeti then jumps in and does the beat justice by delivering solid flows and awesomely attempting to be in synchrony with the snare all through the track. Surprisingly, keeping on the track ‘Cinema Ni Ya Hora’ (Swahili for it’s a horror movie), I didn’t find his hooks that bad. A great way that he deliberately prevented bad hooks from happening on this jam was by using well-seasoned kid rappers known as Wakuu Music and the female R ‘n’ B singer Alicios on the aforementioned jam ‘Mama’.

L-R: Johnny Vigeti and Ken Ring
  1. Let the beat breathe, please.

Inasmuch as spitting venom on instrumentals is exciting and raises the adrenaline for fans, sometimes clogging the beats with too much spit is unnecessary. It hurts the ears while coming across as trashy. And above all it leaves me screaming, “Please let the beat breathe!”. Yes I agree that tracks like ‘Simba’ (Swahili for lion) and ‘Cinema Ni Ya Hora’ demands a thorough walloping of new school emcees through unlimited bullet-like spit, Vigeti however successfully tampers this with easy laid back raps as exemplified by one of my personal best track ‘Mr.Vigeti’.And ah! The pauses in between the guitar note on this track, that’s what I call class. That’s what sets apart an intelligent rapper from other industry noisemakers.

  1. Refreshing Digital Battle Raps

Nairobi’s rap music industry in the recent few weeks was very much lax, boring and was becoming extremely technical in regards to the usual mechanical bubble gum rap music commercialism. It needed some spicing up and judging by Vigeti’s juiced-up-cum- assertive personality, no chicken would have passed untouched by the cock.On the track ‘Simba’ he leaves Khaligraph Jones, Rabbit Kaka Sungura and Octopizzo gasping for air and adds fuel to the fire by threatening to beat them physically if they ever reply. Lyrically, he also hijacks Octopizzo’s geographical territory on the track ‘Kibera’ by choosing to represent it instead of his own hometown Dandora.And keeping in mind that the track ‘Simba’ is continuing to generate listenership and so much online buzz, the golden question would be: Why did Octopizzo, Khaligraph Jones and Rabbit Kaka Sungura fail to segment Vigeti’s fan demographics by replying to this highly esteemed diss track?

I give it a strong seven!

Overall this record raises my hope with Kenyan music production houses and puts a smile on my face knowing that this format can be effectively reproduced through live bands and instrumentation even on international podiums. Ken Ring is definitely a valuable addition to the culture in relation to veteran production wizards like Blinky Bill, Kevin Provoke, Fancy Fingers, Kanyeria, Big Mic, Eric Musyoka, Kagwe Mungai, Atwal Adwok,Timothy Rimbui, Fadhilee Itulya, Kevin Grands and many more.

My verdict on this project is a strong seven out of ten. I reserve the three because further work could be done with high profile artist collaborations, giving fans a bountiful African oriented influence and delving into other meaningful aesthetics that’s less affected by the unsettled environment that the rapper Vigeti is in.Besides, his fans would desire an increasingly progressive sound and image from him since by now, they are a mature, elite and successful middle class in their late 30’s and early 40’s.

What about you? Have you listen to the album?

Kevin Ovita Teddy
Project Coordinator, Wasanii Mtaani/Artists in the Hood

@kevinovitateddy

MUSIC: VIDEOS

Top five current tunes from amazing artist who just happen to be African.

Wanlov the Kubolor – Never Go Change

Corruption is global and Wanlov presents it so simply and purely in this track accompanied by a black and white video. The song is reminiscent of his single Human, heartfelt music with meaning.

Fantasma – Cat and Mouse

The first time I heard this song I was convinced that I had lost it …. its rare to hear ‘Kiswahili Sanifu’ Pure Kiswahili in music, mostly when you were not anticipating it. The single is accompanied by a video of young  ballet dancers who dance within townships, Spoek main aim was to showcase the benefits new skills extended to children living within townships.

Stonebwoy ft DJ Juls – Rudeboi Love

Purely on the strength of the production the next lines can be filled with an in-depth analysis and breakdown of elements that can be picked up but this has to be one of the best collaborations so far in the year, relaxed of the strength of this track Stonebwoy can take the BET INT award not many people within Afrobeats seek to merge a few genres some dub reggae elements shine through.

Burna Boy – Sonke

Anyone who knows me, knows that language is a tool that I greatly admire within music and Burna Boy has also found ways of adding his own swag (that word has been dying out) to his music Sonke does not disappoint, this is definitely one track that will not miss spin on decks this summer.

M.anifest – Forget Dem

Just felt it was nice to share this visual recently M.anifest has realised some fantastic videos but this one stood out mainly because my ultimate #MCM features and I wasn’t expecting it but it was a nice surprise.

Sharing is caring who are you jamming to at the moment.

Maureen Muthoni

@MISSMUSO