Music is not only a source of entertainment, but for many youths, it speaks to a world they identify with, and hope to thrive in.
Over the years, there have been many Kenyan artists who have come and gone, however, some of the most popular tracks sadly perpetuate rape culture with their lewd lyrics and exploitative videos. In the year 2019, the term ‘rape culture’ has come to the fore with the rise of gengetone, however, rape culture and its promotion have always been present in Kenya’s music scene. As domestic violence cases rise, popular culture and music in particular now have a vital role to play in steering conversations on the complex male-female relationships in the millennial age.
Here are seven Kenyan tracks that have perpetuated rape culture:
1.Mtoto Mzuri – Nonini ft Bobby Mapesa
The clever twosome is known for their lyrical prowess. Nonini and Mapesa have long been mainstays in the industry known to express dirty content with great mastery. The track ‘Mtoto Mzuri’ is a display of their skill and wit, as they toe the line to sanitize their lyrics just enough to make it palatable for national broadcast. The Blue Zebra production contains some lyrics which perpetuate rape culture, as Nonini praises a young girl for her sexual know-how. The visuals directed by the legendary Tedd Josiah conveyed what the lyrics did not. For anyone doubting if this track is raunchy, watch the video and confirm your suspicions.
2.Under 18 – Jimwat
There is much to say about this track. Jimwat sings of a sexual encounter with a young girl below the age of 18, which later lands him in trouble with the law. The track is simple, but the most surprising part of it is just how Jimwat finessed the topic of underage sex, tip-toeing around the subject matter; all while still remaining on beat.
3. Pandana – Ethic Entertainment
This track went viral immediately it dropped. For the fast-rising foursome, the track was an instant success due in part to its catchy lyrics and racy visuals. However, a closer look at the lyrics reveals that they do allude to rape. Aptly dubbed ‘Pandana’, the track is all about sex and based on the lyrics it does not matter whether or not it is consensual. Some of the controversial rhymes from the track read, ” ninayo bas Tunabakana,hapo nyuma na sidika Mnafanana,
maana kila day bana Unaitangaza,katangaze basi baby Si hupandana, panda panda Si hupandana, katangaze basi baby.”
4. Kuta Vitu – Nonini feat Gdruff
Godfather of Genge Nonini reveals a raw, unabashed side of himself in this collaboration with Gdruff. The 4-minute track is explicit and even advises men to have their way with women, concent not needed. In the startling lyrics Hubert Nakitare sings, “kama ukona manzi jamaa usisleki, na uchague mwenye akona hagaa, akizubaa drink yake mwaga ndani viagra, zikimbamba si unajua mnamalizia wapi? ”
5. Kamata Dame – Juacali feat Pilipili
Beatmaker Clemo delivered on the iconic beat for ‘Kamata Dame’. The collaboration between Calif Records finest Juacali and Pilipili has stood the test of time, winning over crowds for decades. However, it is difficult to deny that this release does promote the objectification of women. Some of the most daming lyrics see Juacali rap, “Mkono zangu zinaniwasha nashindwa tashika manzi mgani hapa ndani, Nikiona huyu namtaka, Nikiangalia huyu wa kwanza namwacha, Leo wako wengi kushinda machali kwa hivyo lazima nitoke na ka wa nne, Huku nikiwadanganya hakuna yule nampenda kushinda mwengine, Nipelekeni basi kwa dance floor nikazitoke.”
6. War Song- F.B.I
True to hip hop a diss track allows artists to go all in, no holds barred. And in this collaborative release, the artists Wodhes, Chiwawa, Bamboo, MC Sharon, DJ Loop speak their peace, and spit some deadly bars. But it seems that out of the group Bamboo may have taken things too far. Incorporating some highly violent lyrics, the ‘Too Much Potential’ rapper even sings of gang rapping Suzanne Gachukia formerly known as Kibukosia. Needless to say, the track was very disturbing.
7. You Guy- P.Unit
The story of the 2012 release ‘You Guy’ has made the rounds on the internet. In the track, the lyrics state “Mi ni mgenge napitanga na zile ziko maji zimebleaki… ” and after a tweep made this realisation, one of Kenyans favorite party tracks was the center of controversy for the P.Unit crew.
Not only did these tracks advocate for underage sex, gang rape but also the use of date-rape drugs and much more. Rape culture has been a large part of Kenyan music before Ethic’s ‘Tarimbo’, maybe we all just ignored it.