“How much a Dollar cost?” Our no-holds-barred correspondent, Doug L Fresh, questions this age-old adage as he delves into the innovation he sees in global hip hop and wonders why our local version lacks in creativity, originality and drive…
“How much does your Dollar cost?”
Asks Kendrick Lamar, in his new album, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly.’ Although it was used in a different context, take it this way; how much does a dollar cost to Kendrick? Will he continue to get rich while making his fans cough up the dough, or will he give up the dollar in order to make his fans happy?
Kendrick gave his fans a free show this week in LA, so we kinda know the answer to that now. He did it at the back of a moving truck, which just proves that K Dot is the koolest rapper since Kool G Rap. Check it out here:
Having seen all that, I had to turn my attention to Kenyan hip hop musicians. How much does a dollar cost to them? What are they willing to give up in order to gain riches?
Have they given up their class? Because there is so much shade being thrown around you’d think they’re recording under palm trees. Why all the diss tracks? What are the subliminal shots going to achieve? Somebody please explain.
Have they given up innovation? Because there is so much similarity to the Western rappers; if it’s not American accents, they have overly imitated their clothing; if not that, it’s their focus on always shining on IG and Twitter for their fans and ‘haters’. Most of whom, allow me to add, are imaginary.
When’s the last time you saw a truly impactful hip hop video? One that put our minds to work and made our hearts smile? One that did not necessarily employ the kawaida trap beats or rapping styles popularized by Western rappers? What about our hip hop culture, huh? Is it not time to make our stuff popular instead?
I would like to appreciate Kenyan artistes who have been so unapologetically authentic, thus earning international recognition. I was over the moon when Rabbit rapped in his eccentric Kiswahili flow on The Lonely Island’s ‘Spin The Globe.’ The vid was shot in Nairobi and had me like, ‘damn, these are the same guys who made the banger “I just had sex”’, no pun intended.
To the other rappers, I appreciate what you’re already doing. But you could do better; Please find fresh and innovative ways of putting your country on the map. Use your influence; you are already popular and you could do so much with that. Hip Hop is and has always been about social commentary. Why aren’t you addressing issues that affect us? The scandals involving our leaders? The corruption? I may not know much about the business of music but it is not a secret that some of the most corrupt politicians have contracted these musicians for campaigns and the like before.
It is fine to make a living, and it is fine to take up these contracts. However, are you going to give up the greater purpose you are meant to serve just for the money?