African Hip-Hop Radio just recorded its first session in Nairobi, Kenya. On Saturday June 2nd, all hip-hop heads in Nairobi were headed to Westlands to converge at Head Bangers Studio where the first recording of the Nairobi session for Africanhiphopradio.com was taking place.
Representing Africanhiphopradio.com was Yehudi from Baobabconnections.org, who had been in the country for a week to oversee humanitarian affairs. Hip hop activist Buddha Blaze hosted the show produced by leading Kenyan hip-hop producer Ambrose Akwaabi of Mandugu Digital Productions. First in the studio was the man behind Kenya hip-hop fashion, Fundi Frank. We spoke about fashion, the history of hip hop in and the current state of the art. They were joined by a human rights artivist Ndungi Githuku (winner of the Reebok Human Rights Award) who encouraged and gave praise to hip-hop artists in Kenya for using their music to enlighten their peers about their political rights.
Issues regarding hip-hop and its relevance to Kenyan youth were discussed at length. They spoke about the state of insecurity in the country especially parts of Mathare. John Ndichu from Mathare Youth Sports Association (MAYSA) came in and reported that youth in his neighbourhood would better listen to hip-hop artists than listen to the police because they did not trust the latter. Githuku blessed the first session of Africanhiphopradio.com with a beautiful poem ‘If only I could play the Guitar’ while WAPI talent Kevin played the acoustic guitar live. The hottest Kenyan hip-hop kept flowing.
Next in the studio came Wenyeji which consists of two rappers Zaka and Swaleh. They came on the scene with a major hit single; ‘Dandora L.O.V.E.’ a few years back. Wenyeji have just released their debut album; Siku Njema which is on major rotation in Nairobi. Their music got the studio live but it was their freestyles that blew everyone’s minds. They roll with two young upcoming rappers and members of their camp; Samantha and Ciku aged 14 and 16 whose freestyles are not bad at all. Wenyeji were followed by Agano and Labala who form the rap duo; Wakamba Wawili who talked about their new debut album; Tume Survive Kila Vita (We Have Survived All Wars) that drops in August this year.
Seasoned hip-hop producer Chiz 'n Brain who has been on a long pilgrimage to Tanzania was also in the studio promoting some of his new projects. Kenyan hip-hop pioneer Kama of Kalamashaka announced the return of the trio anytime now because they are tired of all the bad music is coming out. He launched his project ‘Chafua Para’ which he is doing with Mashifta rapper Kitu Sewer and left us with an ending quote: “No rules among fools educated in slave schools.” His brother Kaa announced his anti-imperialist video project called Africa Without Borders and an album called Subira.
First lady of Head Bangers studios Yvonne was also in the studio to introduce herself and her music. She was then followed by Gironji who introduced his album Third Word War. The show was capped with an amazing freestyle session.
Africanhiphopradio.com is now officially a Nairobi thing and it will continue making the noise. Watch out for the next show coming out of Nairobi.