The world has two types of people: Messi and Ronaldo, Ali Kiba and Diamond, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, the rest and Khaligraph Jones.
The first group creates agreement.
The second group cannot unite a room; they divide opinion.
Whatever you think about Khaligraph Jones, whatever journey he has taken you through – excellent songs, excellent songwriting, some really not sensible lines and his “chochas” – you must agree with me that no artist has flown the Kenyan flag as high as him.
He knocks a new level with Khali Cartel 3, a series that follows the Hopsin Ill Mind sequel, only that Khali uses a mix of talent, introducing new players in the industry while digging in the past to unearth some of the best of the past.
The song is set in the court, and this rings another comparison with Hospin who shot the Ill Mind of Hopsin 8 in the courtroom. The comparisons don’t end there, as Khali Cartel 3 also taps into the question of artist royalties to create a debate on the complicated relationship between artists, producers, promoters and, and quite shamefully, the MCSK.
We need to note that MCSK paid Khaligraph, the biggest artist brand in Kenya, so much money that he must have had to top up to afford diapers.
The song has two ladies and Bey T goes first, a relatively unknown talent but with easy flow and punchlines. The other lady is Silverstone and she tells you Nakuru is not only famous for cat meat. The way “anawasha kindukulu” tell you she’s badass.
But the climax of the song is Rekles, a guy who reminds me of E-Sir in every way; the way he stands out in every crowd he hangs around with, the way he does his bandana and local boy vybe. Rekles is the face of Ethic but we have never had him rap for two minutes straight.
Forget the flow and listen to his street vybe; he speaks about insecurity, poverty and the way artists suffer in the hands of MCSK, guys who don’t know a thing about music. Rekles doesn’t chest thumb (because he does not need to), he never says he is the best (he does not need to) and he calls out the bad guys in kenya’s music industry.
People have made noise about Gengetone, the new music sensation in Kenya that features The Sailors, Ethic, Ochunglo Family and many more. They say the kids sing about sex, use dirty language and their songs are not creative enough (mark you the same people saying that grew up singing along to Nonini’s We kam and Nyundo by Flexx).
Rekles debunks that and flows in a conscious style that opens you into his world of creativity and masterful songwriting.
You have to wait for close to nine minutes before Chiwawa steps up and remind you why we made so much noise about him in the past. If we were to find an equal for Chiwawa in the American rap scene, he would be The Game. You can tell from the respect he gets from Khaligraph.
Chiwawa delivers the best line: “Kwanza kabla mambo yote/wacha kwanza nishukuru/kwa hii nafasi nimepata ya kuweka akili huru”. He delivers the second best line too, giving us a glimpse into his disappearance from the music scene: “Nimegive up talanta afadhali ata kuwa pedi/kukaa bila janta inaezafanya ata msee adedi/….wanataka kuninyonya masikini nirudi ocha”.
(not so much into ranking but the other mentionable line comes from Rekles, “na raundi hii kukuwa fisi gumu juu wanafuata maganji/…lullaby huku mtaa hukuwa ni sauti ya risasi).
Credit goes to Khaligraph for his work ethic, concern for artist welfare and focus on uniting local musicians. We can say small fights made the worse of the previous generation of rappers; Abbas, Chiwawa and crew. This new direction could get our music outside our ghettos and follow the route of Bongo.
I would be happy to see Kitu Sewer in Khali Cartel 4.
Song Rating: 9.0/10.