Nonini might not be an active artist at the moment but he is definitely right on the money with the recent advice he gave to Kenya’s current crop of artists especially those making music of the Gengeton genre. He has drawn from his past experience as a controversial rapper to warn them of what might lie ahead of them if they don’t pay attention to history.
You see, during his heydays, Nonini was the veritable bad boy. He would release songs that though today seem timid, were considered lascivious and risque for their rime. And as a result, every Nonini song enjoyed the organic marketing of controversies.
Everyone had an opinion on them. Everyone had a comment to make about his songs and would want to share it as loudly as they could. As a result, Nonini’s songs would go viral before that meant anything outside of the medical field.
And the homie enjoyed every minute of it. He was among the first artists to be called to foreign countries regularly to perform. He would tour Australia, America, Europe and the Middle East, performing for youngins who wanted a piece of Kenyan culture. It can be argued that he and his Calif Records groups far outstripped the performances Ogopa DJs artists got but by his own admission, he realized the flaw in his plan when Jua Kali became a star. You see, Jua Cali and indeed, most of the Ogopa DJ acts would get endorsements.
And that is why when Nonini advised the young Gengeton acts, he knows more than anyone about that hidden pitfall.
And it exists because Kenyans (especially co-operations) are hypocrites. Kenyans want to be entertained by some of the most controversial songs. That is why Diamond and his WCB artists are a hit. But they do not want to be informed about their doublespeak.
And this is something that is going to harm Kenyan artists of the Gengeton variety. The same companies that demand their songs be played during sponsored tours or during roadshows shy away from placing their brands next to these artists.
And that means that Gengeton acts need to look at the game from a longevity lens. They need to decide how it is they intend to monetize their brands. Because the most lucrative model in Kenya involves product endorsements. That would mean that like Nonini said, young artists coming out at the moment might overtake and outshine the Gengeton acts financially because they will be able to align their acts with corporates.
And that is nothing else, is food for thought.
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July 31, 2020
July 31, 2020