Reinvention is real. They started from way back now they are here.
However, artists like Nelly the Goon, Benzema alias Alejandro and Chris Kaiga were in the game before the Gengetone wave. They were doing different types of music, playing different roles in the music scene and the artists we know now are the revamped versions.
The Gengetone wave has caught on in a way no one thought was possible and the artists are making a name for themselves with their viral hits.
A Twitter thread by one Kimanzi shed light on how most artists who are now categorised as gengetone artists started out.
“Alejandro chief inspector…nipple zako nazinyonya kama…”
Before Ochungulo family Benzema was a serious EDM/House producer and Dj with Lectronica Circle, dating back to 6 years ago. Yes they did EDM in Kenya but you know how the market here. Here’s their work back then. pic.twitter.com/oPTIRy0Hlp
— Kimanzi®™ (@Kimanzi_) November 20, 2019
Six years ago, top gengetone star Benzema aka Alejandro who is part of the hitmaking group Ohungulo family was an EDM music producer who worked with the Electronic music group Letronica Circle. Unfortunately, the EDM wave never caught on in Kenya as the rest of the world and thus their work didn’t become as popular.
One of the most popular songs that Benzema worked on with the Letronica Circle was an upbeat song titled ‘Kenya’ with Vanessa Vonroe.
Nelly The Goon
Nelly the Goon also from the group Ochungulo Family who are known for hits like ‘Krimino’, ‘Na Iwake’ and ‘Kaa Na Mama Yako’ was an upcoming hip hop star about three years ago. He was spitting rhymes in English, not sheng as we know him today. He was part of a group called Kwenye Hii Masaa (K.H.M) alongside Chris Kaiga, Stevie Dondada and Rojay.
Nelly showcased his rapping prowess in a number of songs including in a song titled ‘Everyday’ which stars Chris Kaiga in the video.
Chris Kaiga is currently one of the new age artists who are ruling the airwaves, his hit songs include ‘Niko On’ and ‘Zimenice’. He too, rebranded from being a hip hop head to the artist we know him today. As part of the Kwenye Hii Masaa group, they recorded numerous songs which are still available online to listen, they include, ‘Niko Wera’ and ‘Nashikisha.’
Speaking to The Sauce, the dreadlocked hitmaker expressed his displeasure in being categorised as a Gengetone artist saying music is called Debe which is a fusion of sheng, ‘boujie’ beats and conceptual videos.
Another artist who has gone on to rebrand himself is Odi wa Murang’a who is currently part of the group Bondoocks gang. Many years ago, before his voice broke and got the deep voice we know him to have, he was making music in English, not sheng.
It is safe to say, these youngins ruling the airwaves have come along way to become the stars they are today.