Say what you want but anyone who is into Hip Hop will tell you that Julius Owino, better known as Juliani is one of the best Kenyan lyricists ever. Actually, he’s the best, there is no debate about that.
Also read: Why Juliani quit the gospel music industry!
In his heyday, he treated us to some of the best Kenyan songs that you will ever listen to. His wordplay, rhymes and flow were on point and you just wanted to keep listening to him as he did his thing.
Although he identified as a gospel artist after leaving Kalamashaka and Mau Mau he would make songs that address social injustices or the plight of his community and deliver it in an impeccable way.
Although he has won many accolades for the role that he has played in the local entertainment industry, I don’t think he is given enough credit and I hope you will allow me to explain my reasoning.
You see, many Kenyans generally don’t appreciate Hip Hop. A good number would rather listen to club bangers than music from an artist like Juliani that will leave you scratching your head. It’s the sad truth.
To make matters worse, Juliani identified as a gospel artists at a time when rapping God’s word was seen as going against the norm. So here is an artist who has a small following and it is lessened because he is seen as a rebel.
So this left Juliani underappreciated and as much as he tried to penetrate the local music industry, I feel he did not and it is largely because of the aforementioned reasons.
On the brighter side though, we can say that he influenced more artists to start doing gospel rap. When the history of Kenyan gospel rap is written, he should be given a whole chapter. Just saying.