Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Slipping and Sliding into Senselessness...

One of Kenya's premiere hip hop artistes was in NY for a while and I culled his latest offering from Mocha's blog. Here is the video...

After watching that video, it took me a few minutes to arrange my thoughts in a manner that could be expressed without invectives.

My first question is are Bamboo and Attitude making music for Kenyans or for Americans? The title of the song is "snitch". Please someone out there tell me what the average Kenyan knows about snitches and the stop snitching, stop lying philosophy promoted by the hip hop community that is allowing criminals unfettered freedom in the black community in America? Let's assume that Bamboo and Attitude wrote this song for Kenyans. We all know about the Kenyan police, Bamboo may have spent sometime in Kariobangi South but I assure you that after a few backshots from some starved chaps in remand and "assisting" with investigations at the local Police Station not only will he sign on the dotted line, he will draw it and print out the paper gladly.

Then there is the use of the n word. I will say it out loud, nigga. For the life of me I don't understand why anyone who has a functioning brain and self respect would use it. I have heard the weak arguements behind it. "Oh it isn't the same as the one that ends with er", "using it that way takes power away from it" and "the other person know it isn't an insult." That is a whole load of bullshit, and anyone who thinks like that isn't thinking. When people of other races here black people calling themselves that they think you are not a "nigga" but a "nigger", and all that word connotes; dumb, self-destructive, self loathing and lazy. Why is it that we rarely hear or see other races referring to themselves with negative epithets, I don't see Jews running around calling themselves kikes, caucasians reffering to themselves as crackers, Asians calling themselves gooks and Latinos calling themselves wetbacks.
That word has a long history for African Americans so at the end of the day it is theirs to grapple with, but what gets to me is when I hear Kenyans using that word to refer to each other. If you look into history our heritage and that of black people here in the States is very different, even though we may not be able to trace our direct lineage; if you paid attention in African history you should be able to trace your tribes lineage a few hundred years into the past. So why spit on it? This is in no way me looking down on black people here who lost their heritage via slavery but that is one sad facet brought up by using that word. I have seen bloggers I know use that word in conversation and blogging and let's just say that I respect them a whole lot less for not being able to see and reason past the hype and culture. Just because you hear people on the street saying it and rappers screaming it doesn't at all make it acceptable. Why in that case don't these same Kenyans decide to empower racial epithets used by Indians and Caucasians in Africa to belittle Africans. Why not start calling yourselves "monkees," since many white folk refer to Africans under them and in general as uncivilised lazy monkeys? You don't see black South Africans calling themselves kafirs, so why call each other nigga? It's about time we learnt to respect ourselves as black people.

Anyway let me get back on topic. If we are talking about street cred and fake gangstas, who is Bamboo to tell people about that? I doubt that boy even has a ticket for jaywalking to his name, let alone a felony. How can her rap about studio gangstas, when he is one himself. The he goes on to rap about broke ass MCs. I know music gurus like Msanii are better versed to answer this, how many cds has Bamboo sold? I doubt he has even hit stainless steel let alone gold record sales.

Let me be honest, Bamboo has loads of talent but as the commerical used to go, "power without control is useless." One can still make hard core, underground rap in Kenya and still have an edge ie Mwafrika, Muki Garang, Ukoo Fulani etc; without aping U.S lyrics and style. If Bamboo wants to make money and fame, he should make music about Kenya for Kenyans. It's that simple.

Oh by the way, the chorus of that song sucks!

Ps: The Drama post series will resume later.


egm said...

Stainless Steel: 10 nil!

Amen to the whole issue on the "N" word. Like you, I fail to understand why black folk insist on using it. There was an episode of the District where some white man wanted to shoot the black cop while calling him nigger. His partner, a white woman, almost bashed the man's head. Then when they were back in their cruiser heading out, black cop puts on the radio, and a rap song comes on full of nigga this nigga that, and he was bobbing his head to it. White woman asks him, "Back there I was ready to bash that man's head for calling you nigger, and now here you are dancing to a song full of the same word?" His response? We own the word. So we can use it. I don't expect you to understand. You know what? I didn't understand it either.

acolyte said...

I think I know how the partner must have felt. Black folk here have a warped way of justifying the use of that word but it appalls me when fellow Kenyans blindly go with the flow.

Unyc said...

I feel u on the nigga word. Cant believe pple actually gv a difference as 'er'...its all the same damn it.
Bamboo is a flimsy artiste coz all he does is emulate The Game, Nas and others. As 4 attitude no comment. Listen 2 his music in Myspace.
Remember 'Compe' by Bamboo right b4 he got saved? Its going 2 be used in sme hollywood movie and his getting paid Shs.4 Million!
Hope that gvs him an insight on what type of music 2 do.
Ukoo Flani are the realest hiphop artistes we hv! Wengine ni maclone.

Chatterly said...

I saw that clip some time back...i must say i wasnt amused at all. copycating from top to bottom-whatever happened to originality:-(

mocha said...


Aki hapo you have dinyad that point.

I have Bamboo's "Binti" song on mp3 and when I saw this song I was like...AAAIIII!!!! Sawa, you can flow, but who are you singing for? Kwani it took NY to backslide a jamaa!!!

Aco...applause to you!

OOHHH...I was here too!!!

modoathii said...

you said it. dude. you said it.

about bamboo and copycatting, even the beat is a ripp off...that's from a bongo track 'kimya kimya'. nilidhani ame-improve kumbe he's losing it. i agree with unyc on ukoo flani...

keep it real.

Archer said...

Booking my top 10 spot. Off to read.

Archer said...

Although I haven't heard the Bamboo track yet, for sure he's gone downhill since his days as part of K South. About some Kenyan rappers thinking they're American now, all you have to do is listen to this group called Baseline, of which Attitude was a member and Bamboo did a couple of collabos. I don't even think their album was launched in Kenya, or if it did, it must have been a major flop coz these wannabes thought they'd impress Kenyans with their fake accents and imitation of American rappers. While Bamboo has gone downhill, his former mate Abbas Kubaff a.k.a Jerry Doobies has gone from strength to strength. I see Bamboo trying to get back with Abbas in future.

N.W said...

You are very right Archer about Doobies. I watched him perform(he also requested to shoot his video) at WAPI last saturday, he has a new song out and its better than his last. Talks about the realities of an artist trying to make it in the Kenyan music industry. I won't waste my energy talking about Bamboo. Kapuka na Genge kwangu ni makelele tupu.

Prousette said...

Watching that clip you cannot tell anything Kenyan about those dudes washindwe! Copycatting all over the place will do nothing for their careers.

I do not think the "N" word adds any "homeliness" to a statement. It is a derogative term period.

bomseh said...

Nigger is Nigga is Nigger.
is kumbafu and pumbavu different just coz of the spelling? i know kibaki thinks(knows) that kubaff is different from p(k)umbav(f)u.

on local music, i like the ones in swa and sheng. something i can't get elsewhere. that is why i choose to call it local.

Ichiena said...

even from a business point of view, it makes no sense. Thought to succeed you need to find your niche or create one and exploit it. They have a niche already. Why they choose not to exploit it only they know. Do they think such a song can even be entered in any awards eg MTV under African Diaspora?

Udi said...

I hate kenyan kapuka. Coz its nonsense. My post about this is in draft mode. Wacha I fika home leo, and try and finish it.

The truth said...

thought bambooo was saved .what happened to him

No rhyme No reason said...

Artists like Attitude and Bamboo are totally lost. Bamboo had a thing going when he did ' Nairoberry" but now this crap!!!

As for Attitude.... why bother rant on him.

aegeus said...

He has a liberal sprinkling of the N word all over the last bit of the song. He got mad rapping skills but like you say he needs direction. The chorus sounds like they both wanted their rapping heard over each other - compe ama nini? He should go back to his roots.

Milonare said...

The Epitome of Kenyan rap for me is Jua Cali... Unique style, refreshing, flowing and well thought out lyrics!

The guy that does US style but still rocks is Jahmani for his flawless use of Swa and Sheng...

Bamboo is a talent when he does swa rap, otherwise he's just a sell-out...

msanii said...

Will not co-sign the usage of the word Nigga...

I believe the market these two are aiming for is AMERICAN(however misguided ..the abudance of average ass emcee's is HUGE in America)
but this track is tad bit uncreative, with attitude I could see the usage of Nigga figuring he was born and raised here...

On the flipside though I as Kenyan can see why others will be put off and will not touch the material... but at the same time I hope its CONTENT that putting YOU off not the medium.

lol Aco the soundscan numbers are not in yet...

@Mil.. nice to see you back..I could swear jua cali said he does not do RAP.

m said...

K-South was just the bomb. The flow and the lyrics ...

How the mighty have fallen!

coldtusker said...

Bw. Aco Get serious and wacha these sideposts... spend more time on the story... part 4...


mama shady said...

sigh, kenyans, ebu we stop trying to be other people. read an article in focus on africa and a guy was more or less hating on the fact that kenyans lack an identity. i was annoyed at what he said, but peeps like bamboo are the ones who chafua us jina. anywho,'I doubt he has even hit stainless steel'...i died!

Acolyte said...

@ unyc
I think Bamboo has alot of talent but I think that track as ill advised and in bad taste.
@ chatterly
Seems originality died in the case of this track.
@ Mocha
I think Bamboo is trying to break into the NY mc market. I wish him all the best but he shouldnt try and sell this music to Kenyans.
@ modoathii
Damn! Now that is just cold, I do hope he as acknowledged the original beatmakers.
@ Archer
I guess the two of them are going in diff directions.
@ n.w
I will look out for that video on youtube when it comes out.
@ prou
I agree with your sentiments on that word.
@ bomseh
Lol a fool is a fool by any other name huh?
@ ichiena
One thing for sure I know is that we wont be seeing that song on the source awards any time soon.
@ udi
I am looking out for that post with baited breath!
@ the truth
Well he still says he is saved but I dont know what that means in his case.
@ no rhyme
I have always wondered how Attitude makes his money.
@ aegeus
Bamboo does have talent, that I will not refuse but as you said, he needs to focus.
@ Milo
I am Jua Cali fan for life too!He keeps it real!
@ Msanii
Let's hope Bamboo comes up with something better for wanainchi at the end of the day. Very few foreign MCs have broken into the American market, I wonder If Bamboo will manage.
@ M
Sad state of affairs.
@ coldtusker
Things are unfolding in real time, what I am doing is watching from the sidelines.
@ mama shady
I disagree with that dude, we have more that one identity as Kenyans due to our multifaceted society. but I agree Bamboo has dissed us big time!

Anonymous said...

Thanx Aco for enlightening those 'wannabes'. Oh first things first , it's POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL!
As for Bamboo, I listened to a track where he's used The Game's -It's OK( One Blood), I almost fell off my seat...it's a lot of balderdash about local music. Then he hooks up with one Attitude ( US/Kenyan wannabe, Lord save us from such guys !) I can't believe that Mercy Myra dates such a guy, for what ? 'Bring, bring'? It's such a mismatch like Bobby( but Attitude doesn't match the exploits of Bobby B at his best, as for his other life... and Whitney ( we all know what happened).
Let Bamboo listen to Abbas 'Kubaff', Ukoo Fulani/Mau Mau-Wenyeji( man have you listened to their Mizani track ? Too deadly !Oh and when in Nairobi he might want to visit WAPI which has become an exposition for underground artistes !
Guess that's all for my lamentations *****$$$$!!!

Girl next door said...

I'm with you on using the word "nigga." The whole gangsta image has been over-glamorized and it makes no sense for those who aren't part of that world to embrace it wholeheartedly: it's dangerous and hard.

I'm also eagerly waiting for part 4!

Josh said...

I talked to some Kenyan producer here in the states and this was their take. Akon is successful. Akon didn't do Senegalese music. He did his thing. If Bamboo is feeling like selling music to Americans instead of Kenyans. Well and good. If he hits, all Kenyans will still want to identify with him as their son.

At the end you know what? I agree with that. Every artist has the right to choose their own path, whether good or bad. Don't like their music, then don't buy it.

acolyte said...

@ Josh
If you listen to Akon's early songs ie Belly dancer, you will notice that there is an African influence to them. It is that unique style that sells his music, even if it is a bit more Americanised now it is still uniquely Akon. Bamboo's music has been unique but he threw away his style to be Americanised and as a result this track is nothing to write home about.
At the end of the day he can choose to be a grade A Kenyan MC or a grade C Wannabe MC. It's his choice at the end of the day.

kjkogi said...

No offence but where the hell do you get so much time to hate on a NIGGA like that? Yes I said it. Deal with it. If the song does not please you then clearly it wasn't made for you. All you had to do is find another kenyan song that you like. Move on and stop wasting your time hating on NIGGAS making money. The jokes on you now.

Acolyte said...

@ kjkogi
If I was really hating on Bamboo why then would I refer to his talent time and again? Why would I simply refer to this song as a step in the wrong direction and not as the death of his career?
You speak of bamboo making money. Please show me the figures of his record sales and such? The most succesful Kenyan artistes are those who have an original style that reflects who they are, not those who ape the American style. If Bamboo wants to make music for Americans he can do so but at the end of the day, America isnt the most receptive market when it comes to foreign artistes esp those who do music American style.
Plus I am entitled to my own opinion, that is why it is my blog.
ps: You choose to call Bamboo a nigga. Most probably you are a nigger in your own head, because instead of thinking clearly, you reason like one.
Next time read, read again and then comment!

kjkogi said...

Seriously. Spend this time thinking of how to make money or actually making some. This is too much time spent on the wrong reasons. First of all this guy does not care about you. He's all about hustling than music. It's a business for him. Am sure you have one too. Wonna get back to it? Someone else out there likes the music. Ain't got that much time anyway to spend on this.

Acolyte said...

@ kjkogi
First things first. Who tells you that I am not making any money? Second of all who tells you I am not thinking of ways to make money?
Third you need to read Msanii's comment if you are talking about the track,hustling and making money. Fourth, you are the one who is wasting time on this post when everyone else has moved on. My blog, my opinion; you don't like it? MOVE ON!!!

Anonymous said...

mazee mazee. Ati Kenyan. My foot. I live in Stato and I don't think i'd like to be caught dead walking with Bamboo and his fake-twang friend. Seriously, the song is plain crap and does nothing to project Kenya into the international scene. Alafu the video is WHACKK! DAMN! Ata Kenyan underground Mc's do better.

Anonymous said...

I give props to these kats for "Trying hard", it takes guts & courage to "rap/perform/" whether you suck or not!

Now the Major Differences btwn Bamboo/Attitude with an "average kenyan Mc":

1.Confidence- Have self Believe.

2.Arrogance - Only worked in Kenya, not in the USA. The LA rugby performance/show was a good example and their downfall.

3.Networking - working with the right folks,some kenyan DVD documentary is actually what put them on the MAP.......period!

Back to your Qns!

Is Bamboo making music for Kenyans?

Nope! the new songs are trying penetrate into the competitive US mainstream hiphop market.good luck!

Use of the Nigga Word? Gikuyu please! What he outta say!

I do agree the boy can recite a rap? Bila shida!
But can you relate to his Rap?