On the 4th of May, Taurus music label signee, Kagwe Mungai, released his debut album ‘Spectrum’. With so many hits under his belt, one would think this was just another compilation album with two or three bonus tracks thrown in to sweeten the deal as is so common in Kenya. When the tracklist was released, however, consumers were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of new content with some previous hits thrown in, which makes perfect business sense. After sitting with the album for almost a week now these are some of the standout tracks and how we feel about them.
This is an introspective track and such songs don’t really do well in the Kenyan market. But the message and subject matter the ‘Kama kawaida’ hitmaker intends to pass across is too important to be just swept under the rug. From the onset, one can tell this is probably going to be a deep track, a lot of seemingly personal topics are touched on in this track. These issues range from his appreciation for his mother’s efforts to provide for him to his emotional growth after a break up with a previous lover and finally his take on toxic masculinity and how such societal constraints should be done away with for the elevation of the modern man. An issue which is rarely spoken of by African men and clearly shows Kagwe’s intent to put some substance back into music whilst pushing the envelope which he also does on another track ‘Boys don’t cry’ still within the album.
As the title suggests, this is a gospel song and features Mr.Seed. The song starts off with a sample of an old gospel song, this again shows Kagwe’s non-conforming artistry as he also produced the song on top of performing (talk about a renaissance man). The song basically appreciates the role of God in his life and admonishes respect for the almighty. Mr.Seed surprisingly blends well with Kagwe on this track which continues secular artists’ streak of beating gospel artists at their own game. This seems to be the breakout song of the album and has been getting heavy rotation on air.
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Kagwe is known as quite the ladies’ man and has carved a lane for himself when it comes to serenading females. This track is signature Kagwe, the smooth beat allows the crooner to create a relaxing vibe, singing to the women, something he’s well accustomed to by now. He celebrates his love interest, pointing out her various traits, using well-established names such as Wangari Maathai and Rihanna to pass across his analogy. This is a great love song sure to be a staple in a lot of couples’ playlists.
In his first effort, Kagwe perfectly balances every aspect of the album. The number of songs is just enough to keep the listener interested, he caters to everyone from the males to the females and even throws in something for the older generations. His commitment to staying true to his craft, however, is what stands out most as he doesn’t compromise his creativity to appeal to the masses. All these make ‘Spectrum‘ a groundbreaking project with high replay value.