Zoom in to the Ukoo.
You probably have that one person that comes to mind anytime someone mentions something. In high school if someone mentioned food the first person that came to mind was my classmate Levi. He once ate breakfast for nine people and still complained about the quantity of food served. We ate three of those large slices so he ate 36 slices. That’s almost the same number of times bread has been mentioned in the Old Testament.
So when you mention hiphop in Kenya it would be blasphemous not to mention the cradle of the genre in Kenya, Ukoo Flani Maumau. Any rapper worth his salt has to pay tribute to this momentous family. From Zaka & Kah to the lyrical monster Kitu Sewer hiphop found a home in Dandora. Fast forward to 2015 and the number of artists affiliated to Ukoo Flani is bigger than what Asap Mob is to the US music scene in the present day and Wu Tang Clan in the 90s.
Two weeks ago, Ukoo Flani members, R.I.C released the video to the track Zoom Zoom. I can’t hide my excitement because I’m a groupie to the music these guys churn out. I’m from the ‘This is real hiphop school of thought’ and this track doesn’t disappoint. It maintains the simple hiphop beats the group got us accustomed to in the 90s. If you never heard those beats, it’s a beat that allows an artist to express their art without shouting over the beat. The lyricism is equally impressive. It’s an old school flow that tells a story. Essentially, hiphop should be able to paint a picture in the listener’s mind and Zoom Zoom uses positive lyrics to communicate the ability of the artists as well as highlight difference situations in the industry and society. The ability to blend English and Kiswahili on the track is done effortlessly. This was a well thought out track that the artists actually took time to write and push each other bar for bar.
The video took me back to the days of Pesa, pombe, siasa na wanawake which should be ranked as one of Kenya’s hiphop classics. It’s a simplistic video that doesn’t rely so much on a mirage of opulence that has become the trend in most hiphop music videos. The video is also unique in that it didn’t employ the bleaching effect where it’s barely possible to tell who is in a video because of too many after effects.
My overall verdict? You need to stop what you’re doing, log in to YouTube (Yes, I use my account on YouTube, it customizes my music) and press play. This track won’t make you twerk or Ita a waiter but it’ll definitely have feeling some type of way. Ukoo Flani haven’t paid me but when something brings back all those good memories from when Djs weren’t afraid of social media making life a living hell for them.This is your time to redeem your hiphop card and I’ll give you a free pass even if you claim your best Kenyan hiphop artist is Mejja or Young Thug globally. This is the remedy you need.