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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dandora Hood: The birthplace of Kenyan Hip Hop

Dandora, or D as it is popularly known, is home to the largest dumpsite in Kenya and is reputed as a criminal haven. On the flipside D is the birthplace of Kenya Hip Hop music having churned the illest emcees to date. Kalamashaka came and completely revolutionized the local showbiz scene. The hood was the epicenter of conscious ghetto gospel that saw many upcoming artistes trouping to the estate to horn their lyrical skills. The following are the celebrities who have emerged from the hood of Dandora.
Kalamashaka The illest lyrical pioneers of Kenyan hip hop emerged from crime prone hood of D. The Kshaka trio consisting of Johnny Vigetti, Kama and Roba rhymes touched on drugs, gang violence, police brutality and unemployment. Tafsiri Hii was one of the biggest hit that topped the charts for weeks and catapulted the Ghetto boys to national fame. Kshaka soon after released Songa hapa that cemented their status as the best hip hop group to have ever emerged from Africa. The lethal hip hop gurus went ahead to record Fanya Mambo in New York that received international acclaim affording them an opportunity to tour Europe and Africa. Kalamashaka was touted by Snoop Dogg has the hottest rap group From Africa ever. Kshaka have since gone separate ways with one member struggling with drugs.
Mc Kah: Chip of the old Block His socially conscious rhymes that tackle moral decay and corruption that afflict the common man have catapulted MC Kah to international stardom. The lyrical whizz kid has pelted hit after hit with Dandora L.O.V.E that he collaborated with Zakah receiving massive airplay in the wider East African region. The gifted rapper lyrical wizardry saw him featured in Kilio cha Haki –a human rights album among other luminaries from Dandora. Kah has been one of the few hip hop acts to have performed in Europe. Kah is the younger brother to Kamah of Kshaka.
Gidi Gidi and Maji Maji: Simply Unbwogable The duo of GidiGidi MajiMaji mesmerized us with danceable party anthems in their native Luo language with a few English and Swahili lines thrown in. Fusing hip hop with local African rhythm was a new phenomenon that the two popular eccentric rappers perfected. Unbwogable remains one of the biggest hit and most popular album GidiGidi MajiMaji ever produced. The song went on to be used by Kenya former president Mwai Kibaki during the 2002 general election campaigns that he won with a landslide. Their third album Many faces was released by South African renowned Gallo Records in 2003. That same year the duo won two Kisima Music Awards. The group with roots in Dandora toured Europe and the USA before they went separate ways. Currently MajiMaji heads Ghetto Radio while Gidi Gidi is a presenter with Radio Jambo Breakfast Show.
Kitu Sewer: Music with a Difference Kitu Sewer is one lethal hip hop act whose songs revolve around politics, drugs and corruption. Like most Ukooflani artistes from Dandora his lyrics have deeper meaning that any ghetto lad can relate too. His delivery is almost poetic with witty satirical lines that laugh at the greed of politician. Kitu Sewer and Gwiji then known as Mashifta bombarded us with lyrical conscious hits like Pombe, siasa na wanawake (Alcohol, Politics and women) and Majambazi. Kitu Sewer is on overdrive as he continues to record more conscious music.
Abass Kubaff: Dandora product He may have set the record for the shortest lived marriage to Baby Gangsta in the local showbiz industry but his hip hop career is one of the longest and most decorated. The talented rapper has curtained raised for Coolio, Maxi Priest and the Lost Boyz in the 90s. Abbas who traces his hip hop roots to Dandora before he moved to Ksouth is not new to controversy. His beef with Chiwawa set the local entertainment scene ablaze that culminated in a head to head rap battle that was keenly followed by thousands. He was featured in Toklezea by Chantelle and he did a good job at it as the song became an instant hit.
Labalaa: Still going strong Alcohol nearly destroyed his once glamorous career. Labalaa is one of the most celebrated hip hop star whose career was nurtured in expansive crime infested Dandora estate. The Wakamba wawili member had it all: fame, fortune and time to indulge in natty shenanigans after his highly rated Hip Hop Halisi on NTV came to an end. He was to later retrace his footstep and has been clean for over one year. His drugs problems aside, Labalaa has over the years quenched the thirst of hip hop lovers with conscious lyrics typical of artistes from Dandora. Hip Hop heads are eagerly awaiting the release of Labalaa album.
Juliani: Dandora finest export The finest export from Dandora is the multi-talented Juliani who crossed from the crowded secular to gospel music when the genre was still at its nascent stage. He is a top performer whose live performances are second to none. The dreadlocked artiste lyrical content has deeper meaning and the rhyming is that of a top act. Juliani can attribute his career grouth to Ukoo flani Mau Mau where he started out. He has remained consistent over the years and he doesn’t seem to slow down.
BlackGzas Dadi He is a breed of hip hop artistes from the hood of Dandora who have defied all odds to remain relevant in the local music scene. He has worked with artists from Tanzania, Rwanda and France. The African Rise Up video-an initiative of artists from East Africa and France-is testimony enough of his talent and dynamism. BlackGzas is currently based in Arusha where he continues to represent Dandoraville and Kenya.

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