Kenyans have peculiar habits or so Michael Joseph observed. This would have to be one of those habits. Because let us face it, us Kenyans always cry and belly-ache about our comedians, our artists and even our politicians lacking substance in their content.
Kenyan comedians are always mocked for only having ethnic jokes about ethnic stereotypes. We lampoon musicians for not having quality content, especially now that Gengeton is a thing. We also complain and cuss our politicians for being airheaded social bombs. Thing is, we still book those same comedians, we flock to the Gengeton music videos and we vote in the clowns who vie for political office.
Today we will talk about Kenyans and the musical hypocrisy.
Kenyans love trash music.
Take the case of Eric Wainaina. Homie releases splendid music; beautifully composed and with a ton of content that is thoughtfully put together. He recently released Gegenwind which is a project that is so wonderfully done, it showcases his years dedicated to bettering his craft. Eric Wainaina can only garner one thousand views in six days.
Meanwhile, Ethic releases a song that is poorly produced and edited. That song will garner damn near half a million views within a 6 day period. And the radio airplay will be immense. As for the clubs, they will play their songs till you’re familiar with the tough Sheng lingo. Why is that? What are the differences between the two songs? Well, we have already highlighted one difference, production quality. Why? Eric Wainaina releases international standard music. Ethic, as an example of Gengeton artists, release locally oriented and directed music.
Then there is the content. Eric Wainaina touches on subject matter that is of interest and note to the international community, Ethic release music that is of interest to Kenyans. Tanzanians aren’t into it nor are Ugandans. But Kenyans gobble this
shit up. And true to form, the more vulgar the Kenyan songs, the more beloved they are by the Kenyan audience.
You have to wonder why Kenyans complain about the type of content they consume but they do not support the artists who do have awesome music. It has to make you pause for thought. And when you do, it makes you wonder why Kenyans are like this.
And even when we look at music videos, you realize that the cheaper the video, the more beloved it is by Kenyans. The same Kenyans who then begin to lampoon artists like Timmy T Dat whose strategy is to exclusively cater to the local market by shooting sexually explicit and suggestive videos. Meanwhile, they refuse to support the music videos put out by the very same guys killing themselves and racking up debt to ensure it is quality. Ethic releases songs shot on cellphone cameras (and we aren’t talking about the latest iPhone either) and they quickly gain millions of views on YouTube.
At this point, Kenyans just have to accept who we are, a people who have low disgust levels: encouraging the output of what other societies would consider low brow content.