I’ve always been a big fan of Juliani. I respect his flow that is outstandingly unique. He has had a way with words from his early days as a young rapper with Ukoo Flani. He lived in the Civil Servants estate near Kariobangi South where I used to live. He had a rhyme school in a small hotel in the hood. I remember once taking a trip to Ukoo Flani’s Dandora base just to meet Juliani in person and hang out with the Ukoo Flani crew.
Then he gave his life to Christ and I was elated. That a soldier who had earned the respect of the hip-hop world across the region would now use his talent and influence to spread the message of Christ. And he did, he never disappointed. “Jesusnosis” featuring Gaza was the first song he released when he got saved and it was a runaway hit. He did another mixtape which was also well received. To cut the long story short, Juliani is one of the finest rappers the +254 has ever produced. He is smart both in business and music and I respect his hustle.
Juliani has had his fair share of controversy in the recent past but I have always not commented because I believe that the grace of our God is still able to restore him and lift him up from his failures. But when he recently called out three secular rappers on Twitter and claimed to be the king of Kenya’s rap scene, I was a bit shocked and for a moment, I thought that he was joking. When he went ahead and recorded a diss track in response to Khaligraph, my jaw hit the floor. I felt that he had gone overboard and had abdicated his mandate as a mentor in hip hop circles and waded right into the murky waters of mediocrity. Here are a few reasons why I think Juliani should not beef with anyone or do a diss tracks.
Juliani is supposed to be a mentor
Juliani has an incredible rags to riches story. He has been able to make the arduous transition from the smelly fly infested streets of Dandora to the so-called leafy suburbs. He has been a successful rapper bagging several awards and releasing tunes that are considered hip hop classics. He has achieved that through his talent. Instead of expending his energies in trying to fight for a nonexistent throne, he should have been more concerned by how he needs to take Kenya’s music to the next level. Juliani should have continued to focus on the next generation of MC’s who will live after he is gone just like he had been doing with his countrywide tour where he would make songs with upcoming artistes from different provinces in Kenya. No-one can stay in the limelight forever and legends are judged by how well they mentor others to be better than them.
Juliani joined the industry when Khali was probably in primary school. The age difference alone should have stopped him from stooping low to battle a rapper who probably considered him to be a big brother. He should have concentrated his efforts on reaching out to Khaligraph and others, taking them by the hand and leading them into the promised land of milk and honey. I expected Juliani the businessman to link up Khaligraph and others with his connections and to usher them into the board rooms so that they can also make more money with a healthy commission being swung Juliani’s way. The last thing I expected to see was a big brother picking a fight in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
The Bible says, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. As such, I expected a lot more from Juliani. It might seem like I’m being intentionally hard on the man, but yes, his position in the industry and his stature as a rapper doesn’t allow him to behave in certain ways.
While controversy can sometimes get you attention, it is invariably destructive in the long run. A long-sighted man doesn’t trade a bowl of soup for his birthright. A wise rapper doesn’t trade reputation for a few retweets and the prospect of generating a trending topic.
If Jesus didn’t mentor His disciples, the gospel would have died with him. Yet 2000 years later, His message still impacts the world in more ways than one. Juliani, what will people say about you when you are gone?
He is Christian
While Juliani says that he is not a gospel rapper, there is no denying that after his salvation, his message was consistent with the Bible. However, along the way, Juliani changed. But that is not the focus of this article.
How can a Christian beef with secular artists? How can one be part of God’s army but still take part in civilian affairs? Well, my message can be dismissed as that of a writer but let’s look at what the Bible says:
“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” 2 Timothy 2:4:
Without sounding judgmental, I don’t think that calling out other rappers and challenging them on who is the king lines up with the message in the above verse. As Christians, we are called to be the salt of the world i.e. to heal and preserve. We are called upon to be the light of the world. That means to illuminate all dark areas of the world around us.
And this demonic doctrine of claiming that your vocation and your calling are separate is non-biblical. Being a Christian is not like wearing an apron which you then remove and the end of the day when you are done being one. It is a lifestyle, everything we do should bring glory to God. When we rap, it should be for his glory alone. When I write, it should be for his glory alone. The carpenter, the engineer, the driver etc who believes in God must carry out their duties as unto the Lord.
There is no way one can claim to be representing this light when you go out of your way and court beef from secular acts who are minding their own business. It’s non-Christ-like.
While the beef was started by Juliani, Khaligraph went ahead and released a diss track. What I expected from Juliani was much more mature content and a wiser response that would have shown who the bigger man was. He had the perfect opportunity to differentiate between light and darkness but what He did was utterly shocking. In fact, judging from the skills alone, the younger man proved to be light years ahead of Juliani.
Fixing the name of Christ after a 3 minute session of self-exaltation was the saddest bit of it all. There is no way you can introduce anyone to Christ through such means. What actually happened was that Christ’s name was dragged into disrepute.
While it might look all rosy when we start some online debate with the objective of creating a buzz about a course or a plan we have, we must consider the consequences of our actions. There is no way we can abandon wisdom by the roadside and go about picking unnecessary fights that do not advance the cause of the faith we believe in.
Well, some have said that this whole thing was a ‘clever’ attempt by Juliani to revive his career, but to me, it was a sad display of a lack of wisdom on Juliani’s part that might cost him more in the long run.
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