Rigga’s “Urban Prayers” is the Album of the year


Yes. I know the Groove Awards are yet to go down this Saturday (1st June). But I already have my verdict. Rigga has to take this one home. He is facing stiff competition from Mercy Wairegi and Jemimah Thiongo, with their albums “Nuru” and “Penya” respectively, who are household names in the gospel industry. But I believe Rigga holds his own as the only nominee in the category who offers a wholesome album and there are five reasons why I think he should win.

      1. 1. Consistency: from the first to the last song, you can see how each track fits under the album theme. Rigga has an audience of one as he let’s us in to his prayer closet. He opens with a celebration of the freedom he has to talk to God in “Let’s Talk Everyday”. We see him express his struggles with purity in “Ring Finger” and not knowing how to pray in “What’s My Line”, all songs in the 14 track offering consistent to the theme. I gave a listen to some songs in the other albums and none can match this overarching theme in every song.


      1. 2. Creativity: Props to Rigga on getting a great team behind him on this project. The production is great and you get the sense that the songs were not just thrown together. Save for some tracks, the vocals blend well with the production. He also has great features, such as the one with Kato Change that easily stands out as he voices out his love for the continent.


      1. 3. Delivery: Rigga can definitely hold his own when it comes to lyricism. Switching from spitting in English and Kiswahili easily, his delivery does not disappoint. He is a good story teller and has clear lyrics that will not go over your head. Listen to this from his first single “Sina Chorus”:“Pata shahada, lipa mshahara / mkwanja isikuwe lengo langu kuu,
        Nakusikiza nisivunjike guu / Nimekosa bus fare inabidi kaguu,
        Ni nini nitado, ni nini nitafanya / Nikishinda rat race bado mi ni panya,
        Staki huzuni nakulia / Nifunze tafadhali nisifunzwe na dunia”


      1. 4. Versatility: One thing you will notice in this project is that Rigga experiments with different styles. He not only raps, but also sings while taking us to Jamaica in “Fruit”. With the wide range of music styles in this project, you are sure to find something you will love.He even does a spoken word piece called “Nataka Wisdom” with memorable lines such as “Natamani kukujua, si ki-JuaCali / Nikutambue vi-Mejja” (the Genge reference is super!)


    1. 5. Design: I am a sucker for great design. Rigga is too I bet. With killer photography from Joe Makeni’s Front lite and creative design from Bupe’s Quite Obvious, you can see that Rigga took time to create his album art. It’s quite obvious. One addition on the credits that I loved were the bible verses he added on the track descriptions. Referring to the verses as I listened to the songs made me feel like I was going on this journey with Rigga that with every beat, I felt the heart of the message in each song.


As much as this album deserves this award, we all know the popularity card may work against Rigga. Being nominated in the same category as Jemimah and Wairegi means he comes in as the underdog. Not mentioning he is the only hip hop act in the group (I don’t think BMF are a hip hop group… but that’s another story). You can vote and see the whole nominee list here. The real verdict will come in on Saturday. Till then, I will keep my fingers crossed  on one hand while voting with my other hand. Please do yourself a favour and get the album. You can also follow Rigga on twitter.

UPDATE: If you’d like to get yourself a copy of the album, visit MoMoviez at Prestige Mall, Ngong Road if you’re in Kenya, or download it from iTunes here.

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