Thursday, January 16, 2014

California Estate: Home of Genge music

California estate or Calif as it is popularly referred to has produced top entertainers in the local showbiz industry. It’s in this hood that Genge music was born and popularized by Nonini and Jua Cali. Genge is a genre of hip hop that is infused with traditional and dancehall music styles. Clemo coined the name Genge music. Some of the artiste who have passed through California to become superstars include Nonini, Flexx, Jua Cali and Jimw@t .

Clemo: Producer and Founder of Calif Records

Calif Record label was founded in 2000 by Clement Rapudo or Clemo as he is popularly known and his childhood friend Jua Cali. The studio was a rudimentary affair but went on to destabilize the status quo held by the big players to become one of the most successful record stable in East Africa. Clemo has worked with the likes of Nonini (before he ditched Calif Records), Mejja, Ratatat, Jua Kali, Jimwat among other superstars. Calif record label is situated in California estate.

Nonini: The Godfather of Genge

Calif has churned some of the illest Genge artists in Kenya. Hubert Nakitare aka Nonini played a pivotal role in popularizing Genge music earning him the moniker “the Godfather of Genge”. Nonini controversial lyrics that were laced with explicit content acted as the springboard that elevated him to national attention. Manzi wa Nairobi, that glorified the beauty of the Nairobi damsel, was an instant hit in the East African region. One of the most controversial song to hit our then conservative airwaves was We kamu. Some media houses banned the song making it even more popular. Nonini went to sever his music umbilical cord with Calif record label where he was signed to start his own outfit. He has released back to back hits and worked with the finest artists in Kenya and the wider East Africa region. The Godfather of Genge is the highest earning artist through royalties exceeding the one million mark according the Music Society of Kenya.

Jua Cali: Genge proponent
Genge music is synonymous with Paul Julius Nunda aka Jua Cali who teamed up with the talented producer Clemo to establish Calif records in 2000. The rapper was born and raised up in California estate where his music career began and has flourished. Jua Cali successes on the microphone saw him become the first Kenyan artists to get endorsement deals worth millions of shillings with Motorola, Orange Mobile among many other companies. The California based superstar has also won many awards including the Kisima Music Awards, Chagua La Teeniez Awards and Pearl of Africa Music Awards. The Kwaheri hit maker has the three albums under his name: Juacali Sekta, Ngeli ya Genge and TuGenge Yajayo.


He may not be originally from California estate but he found fame from this hood. Jimw@t recorded his debut single in Calif Record label while he was still in high school. His hit single under eighteen saw him bag the coveted Chaguo La Teeniez Awards in 2006. Kitu kidogo that castigates corruption in the Kenya Police force was another hit produced in California by Calif records. The genge rapper has taken a long hiatus probably due to his fight with alcoholism.

Mejja: California hit maker
His comical lyrics with an easy to follow storyline has made Mejja a household name in the local showbiz scene. Mejja came to Nairobi to grow his music career and his first stop was California estate where he met Clemo. The Calif founder embraced the lad from Thika and it turned out to be one of the best decision he has ever made. Mejja has churned some of the most requested songs in Kenya. His hit single Jana Kuliendaje saw him clinch the Chaguo La Teeniez award.

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