Kenyan Musical Gems Under the Radar

Mixtapes have not traditionally been well appreciated in Kenya. This has however significantly changed over the course of time, both in terms of rollout and content, thanks to great projects that had to walk so that others could run. This basically means these complete bodies of work took some hits during their time of release and went under the radar a little too fast for our liking. Well, we decided to show love to some of our favourite hidden gems in the hope that the Kenyan market has evolved enough to catch up to the brilliance of these mixtapes.

Man-made machine

Shortly after the announcement of the dissolution of Camp Mulla, Taio dropped this masterpiece in June 2014. The 6 track mixtape quickly sailed under the radar afterwards. Whether this was because the sonic quality of the project was too futuristic or not is unknown, its general quality, however, could not be denied then and cannot be denied now. Taio, the soft-spoken rapper-cum-producer had already built a reputation as quite the lyricist. This project just acted as proof of the vast skill set he possessed. His ability to flawlessly float in, out, above and around a majorly experimental hip hop production acted as proof of that.

Quick Hunn’t

A collaborative project consisting of Shukid, Kavuela and Gnx (before the name change to Kevin Grands). This was the first compilation mixtape by the ID37 music label. GnX and Shukid have always had a great working relationship, similar to what ‘watch the throne’ Jay-Z and Kanye had, the addition of the equally talented Kavuela formed a formidable trio. This was evident in songs like ‘Apex’ and ‘Kaulizwa toka wapi’ where their styles of rap seamlessly complimented each other and noticeably elevated the quality of each of their bars’ throughout the whole mixtape.

Don’t consume if seal is broken

Released on 2nd December 2016 by Wangechi, this project is mostly known for its association to the ‘here is to us’ campaign sponsored by Tusker. This however barely scratches the surface of the impeccable musical content within the mixtape. With the help of Taio, Didge and 125, the ‘Sana sana’ hitmaker was able to put together an amazing body of work. Her flow, delivery, singing were all at their best. Her diversity and growth being perfectly epitomized in this project. With songs like ‘Aint it funny’, she made clear her intent to snatch the rap crown.

These mixtapes have all aged well and despite the fact that they did not get the love they deserved at the time of release. The artists were able to create timeless pieces of art, a feat not easy to achieve especially in the current music climate.




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