31 May 2018

Kenya: Celeb Buzz - Kenya's Queen of Rap Is Not Yet Born...or Is She?

opinion

I laughed so hard when Msupa S said she was Kenya's queen of rap, and then I realised she was right.

In fact, she brought some humour to my life on a day which my face had been colonised by frowns.

It was a day when I had spotted a friend who owed me money sipping Johnnie Walker with so much glee like an 18th century sailor who had just discovered a hidden treasure chest.

Imagine the kind of anger that would consume you if you saw your debtor sipping Johnnie Walker.

Especially if they lied they didn't have a penny and begged for an extended grace period.

NOT NORMAL BEER

If it was a bottle of normal beer, you could excuse them but Johnnie Walker? No way. If the person was in a group, you could also console yourself by assuming the whole crew contributed to buy the bottle. The guy was alone.

I appreciate the fact that Msupa S aka Sandra Chebet made me laugh and forget about all that. Many of us had our chins on the floor when she made those outrageous claims during a TV interview.

Even the interviewer laughed. To be honest, I was holding out an admittedly unreasonable amount of hope that what she was doing was an elaborate work of comedy.

WEIRD

We all had a valid reason to be amused. She sounded weird.

There is a certain sound everyone expects from a rapper, a sound full of smooth punch lines and hardcore verses. Msupa S sounded nothing like that. A couple of Kenyans even joked that she rapped like Eko Dydda's sons.

If you haven't heard Eko Dydda's sons rapping, you should. Or maybe you shouldn't.

If you choose to do so, you might get annoyed, which is not the best emotion to channel to kids who are clearly trying their best. You won't help but wonder whether they are the kind of children

whose parents force them into the same career path that they are in.

However, as people continued to make fun of Msupa S, she cared less. She was fiery in her interviews, grabbing everyone's attention in the process. She continued calling out other female rappers, claiming they had nothing on her. The confidence was staggering. Eventually, her instant clout caught the attention of Khaligraph who featured her in the song "Watajua Hawajui".

MADE HER SHINE

The American-sounding Kayole native cannot be commended enough for giving Msupa S leeway to shine.

It was the ultimate slap in the face to everyone who thought she was a joke. She had now morphed from a wannabe star to a true star. Still, detractors described the song as though it was the musical equivalent of an Adam Sandler movie: very popular, somehow hilarious, but not very good.

Despite the criticism, the fact remained - she made it. But did the song and the attention alone deem her worthy to be crowned queen? Not really.

The real reason why Msupa S has a legitimate claim to the throne is because there is no competition. While the "King of rap' title has been constantly fought for, the 'Queen of rap' title has been always vacant for anyone to take.

There are no contenders. Femi One shifted to Kapuka while MDQ is more of an artsy trouper who created her own genre. Kush Tracey isn't being taken seriously anymore whereas Njeri seems to have quit music to focus on being a full time slay queen.

LACKS THE NUMBERS

Petra could have been a contender but she lacks the numbers. People just don't see her as a celebrity. You can't be a queen if you have no subjects to rule you know.

This situation reminds me of when Nicki Minaj blew up in 2010. There was no one to challenge her. Every other talented female rapper was still bubbling under.

She released the album Pink Friday, which debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 charts and stayed there for 73 consecutive weeks. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it sold a whopping 2 million copies.

Could she have hit such numbers if she had had serious completion? It's highly unlikely.

For the longest time, Nicki stayed on top. Dej Loaf and Remy looked like they could dethrone her but they failed. Cardi B seems to be the only one who has managed to outperform Nicki.

Msupa S might have been blessed with the Minaj set of circumstances. She has conveniently blown up when there is no one to give her sleepless nights.

That doesn't mean she is a terrible rapper who had greatness thrust upon her instead of achieving it. Despite the fact that half the people who know her don't like her, her music is memorable, believable, and heartfelt. She just needs a little more polishing and she'll be the real deal.

I can bet that Msupa S will never be acclaimed for her lyricism and nothing that she ever does will prompt a re-evaluation of that, but if she keeps up fiery personality, she can easily bumble and grumble her way into hip hop immortality.

Someday soon, all the people who neglect to acknowledge her today will be singing her praises in retrospect.

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