Photo Credits: ghettoradio.co.ke
In hip hop, controversy sells. In recent years, the Kenyan hip hop scene has undergone a metamorphosis with old hands like Nonini, Jua Cali, Abaas and Bamboo being phased out by more commercially viable artistes like Rabbit, Octopizzo and Khaligraph Jones. However, while the former group was more about making music, the new group seems hell bent on out doing each other. I recall the days of genge and kapuka. Hip hop was alive back then. Track after track flowed and artistes preferred collabos to beefs and I bet I speak for many of us when I say those were the golden ages of hip hop in Kenya. Whereas beefs are essential to hip hop as they stir things up and churn out more music, there is a limit to how far these go. Most hip hop beefs are pointless. In January 2009, Rick Ross started a feud with 50 Cent because he supposedly looked at him the wrong way at the BET awards. How credible a reason that is to beef over is open to discussion.
Closer home, the two ‘it’ rappers in the game, Octopizzo and Khaligraph Jones have been battling it out with both artistes throwing barbs at each other on social media and interviews and releasing diss tracks. Their feud stems from their WAPI days when the two were just budding rappers out to make a name for themselves. After a twist of events, Octo made it big and became the darling boy of hip hop with his hits becoming major street anthems. People fawned over the humble kibera boy and when he went out against rap legend Abaas, his fame was cemented. But hip hop is an ever changing genre. Fans get bored quickly. People got used to Octopizzo and his bling and shiny outfits, which were once his selling feature, led him to be labeled by many as cocky and monotonous. Khaligraph’s entry into the scene, albeit late, came as a welcome relief to the legions of hip hop fans who felt the top spot was vacant. He was quickly crowned and of course, this did not settle well with Octo who at an interview criticised him and made fun of his accent. Since then, the two have been at each other.
Beefs are supposed to be a lyrical battle. Thus, they can only be used to determine the better rapper if the battles remains lyrical. When the battle escalates to personal jibes, they lose their credibility and become pointless quarrels which fans quickly get bored of. If Octo and Khali want to outdo each other, let them fight with the pen. Let them release tracks, not necessarily attacking each other, so we can use them to rank them. I’ll gag on the next diss track exemplifying a rapper’s slickness. Every rapper thinks he’s the best. Thus, it is only the fans who can decide who’s iller than who. That said, can the two make their quarrel worthy of our time? Lyrically? Please?