I am all about the new fresh music and emerging talent. Thought you should know about two of my favourite new Kenyan rappers – one is an old friend and another, well, completely brand new. I’ve known Kevin Grands for about 5 years now. He was one of those very first highly intellectual Twitter friends I had at Twitter’s toddler days. I later discovered that he was a rapper. I’ve followed his fairly underground career all through and seen him come out of his shell of shy rapper to a confident all-rounded artiste. He has self-produced his recent 3-tracked EP (released March 2017).
In Your Section featuring Superprodusir and Poppa Don is a perfect thug-gone-soft jam and a perfect mix of what R&B/hip hop can be defined as. The title track Balance is a show that Kevin has come of age. From his smooth demeanor, the flow to sleek beats – he’s finally got that cross over appeal and cool that every rapper needs.
Pretty Hard – the third is a real life story for many. In the song Kevin raps about the struggles of defining one’s identity, striking family balance and living in a society sometimes devoid of idols to emulate.
And then comes Barak Jacuzzi with his 7-track lit mixtape – The Juice Bar (released February 2017). Tena with Shappaman is a banger and my stand out track! The two friends emit such good vibes I can only compare the song and them to what Diddy and Mase duo were in their legendary collabo days. In the song, Barak even does the Diddy hype man thing, “You’re now tuned in …” Hilarious and too fresh! In this case, Shappaman is Diddy and Barak is Mase. Something like future King and young King of 254 Rap unfolding situation.
I can’t even start to imagine why Barak calls himself Mr. Coco Masta in the song Coco Masta because we all know that D’Banj is the only Coco Master. Nway both the songs Girl and Coco Masta have got that monochrome beat effect and vibe that require attitude and delivery from a rapper and Barak delivers like a pro.
If you’re looking to sample a completely different sound off Kenyan hip hop, I highly recommend Balance EP and a sip at The Juice Bar 🙂
I also wrote about Kevin Grands for Not Just Ok East Africa – read here.