All the blame on lewd Kenyan music has been directed to artistes. But where are the producers in this entire melee?
“Magix Enga on the beat.” Music fans have been hearing this tag line on some of the hottest songs by artistes who include Khaligraph Jones, Naiboi, King Kaka and Gabu.
Magix is just not your ordinary music producer. Besides being the magical touch behind the hottest tracks, he’s also the man behind some of the most controversial songs that have either been deleted on digital music platform YouTube or caused a stir on other social sites.
Eight months ago, Magix produced the song Dundaing for rappers King Kaka and Kristoff.
The song’s reception was good and it received more than one million views on YouTube when King Kaka said he had been told to pull down the music video from YouTube, because it “violated community guidelines”.
Magix Enga was not done yet. He went back to studio with rookie artiste Alvindo and the result was the heavily controversial song titled Takataka, produced under Fast Cash Music Group.
Because of its lewd nature, the Kenya Film Classification Board banned it from any form of airplay. Weeks later, he produced yet another controversial song called Boychild for Alvindo and comedian DJ Shiti.
This trail brings forth the question; how do producers or record label owners benefit after producing such songs or working with controversial artistes? How does such content help the business? Also, for what gain is it for managers and publicists who push such kind of music?
Alvindo’s manager KRG The Don owns Fast Cash Music label. He says that it’s all about raising the next generation of artistes, which necessarily doesn’t have to depend on any type of content.
“As a record label, we are responsible in grooming and nurturing the talents. In this, however, we don’t want to look reckless. We encourage the budding artistes better on the content they already have as we try to make them a better artiste.
In the course of this duty, you’ll find the label has attracted some business due to the publicity generated from such songs. The Internet has been very helpful, especially in publicising this content. The end justifies the means,” he tells Spice.
Wesonga Dush is the brain behind Sound 34, the music stable behind divisive songs such as Lamba Lolo and Position by fast-rising boy band Ethic. He says that he associates with such brands as a way of helping them establish themselves as artistes.
“When they (Ethic) came to the studio, they were broke and in need of fame. So, I decided to help them because they had their own content.”
He says after doing a few songs with them he decided not to work with the group any further because the notion put on his label was “misleading”. He cites that many people have assumed that the producer and production house advocates for such content, while it wasn’t the case.
“It has become hard for me getting artistes who were into a different genre or type of music. But all in all, I wish to have a stable that creates good, pure and educative music,” says Dush.
In this breadth, young artistes are sprouting in every corner. Take for example Zzero Sufuri who became an online music sensation after his song Zimenishika gained popularity. The song praises the use of bhang, and so far, the video has more than 660,000 views on YouTube.
Maurice Tha General, an established Kenyan artiste manager and publicist, has worked with the fledging artiste for the past five months and he says all he is in search for is the musician’s growth.
He says: “Zimenishika is just like any other hype song that makes you feel good. Zzero is also a creative and at the same time a good musician who thought out of the box and made an interesting song.
“Listening to the audio gives a different feel, so watching the video with smoke all over, it does not justify that it is all about drug abuse, it was just a prop used and it is done in any other music video.”
Dufla Diligon recently released a song dubbed Kamatako featuring Jussmusic. In itself, the title sounds obscene; a thing Dufla says has led to the song being “misinterpreted” by many people.
“The name Kamatako is not what many think about (implying buttocks). It’s a simple slang from the Luhya community meaning touch. When you actually watch the video and listen to the lyrics, you will get what I mean. I just wanted something that everyone would talk about and I had the urge of adding an artiste vibe to it, which worked quite well,” he says.
Teddy B is also a controversial producer behind some of ‘gospel’ hits, having worked with artistes such as Willy Paul and Bahati. He recently released a song with socialite Vera Sidika.
“We record what we get; we really do not focus much on what the artiste does. So, when we get music that is controversial we do not point fingers,” he says.
Colonel Mustafa is one of the pioneers of Kenyan urban pop music with hits such as Mona Lisa, Katika, Teremka and Kinyaunyau, all released under the Deux Vultures duo.
As a solo artiste, however, he has had his fair share of controversies with songs such as Dodoma Singida and Loboko, whose lyrical content have elicited divided opinions.
He says, “We have to accept what the producers are working on and what the artistes are releasing. It does not matter if they are professional or not. Even during our days, we had controversial music and our lyrics were also quite provoking, but we really enjoyed it.”
Singer Qty Jenifer feels dissatisfied with what some Kenyan producers are doing. She says it has been a few years since she stopped listening to Kenyan music.
“Right now there is no talent in Kenya. Anything that an artiste releases and a producer works on is all about the fame. Producers are hungry for money and whatever comes by they just ride with it.
Artistes also have zero content and being in the music industry for over 10 years, I can never make a comeback because I do not want to be associated with such disgraceful characters,” says Qty.