HIP THURSDAYS:’ISSUES-KANTAI’

kantai3Talent is very debatable. Talent is basically nascent and hasn’t been nurtured into what we call skill. Now skill is something on a different ball game. When people say you’re skilled at any trade you ply, get the paper towels out and let out that tear of honour. Am I skilled? Hell yes! I’ve been spotting skill ever since I was in two different life forms. How do you think I spotted my parents?

You may have heard of Kantai at one point in your life. I don’t think he made it to Jam-a-delic or Rap em back in the days but if he was actively involved in the music scene at the time he definitely would be. I would have many issues if I didn’t cover Issues by Chris Kentadda. Issues is one of those tracks that puts you in the zone. Remember when Kanye made the shift from producing to rapping and hit us with tracks like slow jams? That’s issues.

The wordplay on this track takes you on a trip. I’d look for something to trash on this jam but Kentadda made his debut on the Kenyan music scene he dropped with a bang. At the time, rapping in English was still creeping into the industry and then came this cool cat that didn’t struggle to put his words together. A good track has everything to do with relevance and he made a track that is timeless. He wrote a track that speaks to the mind, heart and soul.

I think I’ve mentioned it before that an MC should be able to paint a picture in your mind and Kantai effortlessly does that. He tackles issues that humans go through on a daily basis and uses first person speech to talk to the listener and God. At the time of release, we probably didn’t pay attention to the lyrics when he mentioned his drinking struggles.

The melody and harmonization of the beat makes the production flawless. The producer sampled a beat that complements Kentadda’s style of rapping. This is one of those tracks that exhibits the chemistry between a producer and an artist. The kind we saw between DMX and Swiss Beatz or Dr. Dre and Eminem.

What is my personal take on the track? Kantai is what Kenyan hip hop needed when he released Issues. He came through with a new style and made rapping cool again. It wasn’t about booty butt cheeks and how plastered you’d feel in the morning. He’d revived the Kalamashaka in us with a new flow that appealed to a wider audience.

The topical nature of the track is what makes it a Kenyan hip hop classic. You may dispute it but what are opinions anyway? I’m not a rapper but I’m sure if Dr. Dre made the Chronic and he can’t write to cash his own checks, I can rap for a living. I’d get Kantai in the booth and do a remake of Issues. It would be like Detox from Dre only that it’d actually be released.

What Kantai brought into Kenyan hip hop is STL and we should never forget that. Kantai made us love STL so if I can revive the cat’s career and get him on the road again, I would do it in a heart beat. Ok, not one heart beat literally because I have to write, review and download Acapella to record myself.

Kantai shouldn’t go through what we see most Kenyan artists going through. He should be able to get his career back on track and producers he made hot should reach out. We don’t want to fundraise for a legend. We want the cat to live like a legend and know we appreciate what he brought into the music industry. If you’ve worked with Kantai and haven’t reached out, you’ve got issues that can’t be absorbed by a tissue.

Yours,

Ted Pot.

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