It all started with a tweet. Scratch that. It was a picture (at least that is what I first saw) and the philosophers were absolutely right, in all actuality; a picture speaks a thousand words. And so the readings begun and within no time, the interpretations followed suit. Three artists were chilling. Formerly sworn enemies; the picture got people talking. Wondering if the overstretched ‘beef’ had finally been buried. Why do people bury beef by the way? We don’t encourage wastage of food, especially something as priced as meet, from where I hail.
Anyway, the picture of Octopizzo, Rabbit (is he still called that?) and K. Jonez got tongues wagging and within no time, the debate commenced – who is King? In all fairness (and laziness) I don’t know how Juliani got in the middle of all this. I just remember seeing a Tweet from people like Sampao of how J was better than all the 3 combined. Whether it was such talks that got Juliani’s attention and hence a personal invitation to join the debate, I can’t tell. I was not consulted. “Why should you be consulted?”, you may ask. Well, I like debates on who is the greatest especially when it comes to Kenyan music. The last list we did, here were our top five (don’t give me that look son, please).
Quick enough, a hashtag had been formed (gotta give it to the digital government on this. At least we have witnessed one success; we are officially a hashtag country). #WhoIsKing. The tweets started flooding the TL, faster than his excellency could summon the courage to declare Waiguru not being his girlfriend. Faster than Imperial Bank’s scheme could be resolved. I tell you what, it was even faster than Nyamweya’s summon to the CID for questioning. I was appalled (hope we still say that) and perplexed. A series of short videos from Juliani soon surfaced on the TL, challenging the trio, who he christened the HipHopBoyz band, for a battle. To use a twitter term, it was LIT! Bruh. Scared of witnessing another ‘twitter fingers’ phenomenon (thank you Aubrey for the phrase, we see you 6 god) fans started rallying behind their favorite rapper, psyching them up to hit the booth. The question was, who would dare do it first.
Guns were drawn, battle-lines marked. It was all Syria up in Nairobi.
In the world of MCing and the culture of Hip Hop music, competition is highly eminent and fear is a strongly bound anathema. It is part of the culture. Therefore, it’s not unusual to witness artists/rappers/ going in at each other. Most of the time, it’s never personal, just boys being boys and hoping to be initiated into manhood. Through the microphone. In some if not most cases, it is about street credential and that highly sought after respect. With that said, let us erase all these reasoning that ooh, Juliani is a gospel act and thus should not be beefing with secular artists. It’s all about skills here. and talent is God given, last I checked. Known to never shy away from beefs, K.Jonez was the first to release an official diss track in relation to this. Ironically, he claimed it was not a diss to the trio, while declaring that he had been crowned by the streets. The rest, he stressed, were just hyped by their friends.
King Khali: Nov. 11th
Seemingly reading from Drake’s guidebook, he went all back to back on them and released the second diss.
King Khali 2: The Debate Ends Here. Nov 13th.
Ironically (again) it was the start of the responses.
Juliani accepted the invite and stepped on the booth. Asking for the Lord’s forgiveness in advance. J was not shy to name names.
Lord Forgive Me: Nov 14th.
Sensing that people are not all about tweeting, Kaka Sungura followed suit. Interestingly, as if to warn his peers that he is willing to go all the way, he stated that this was just the beginning.
Kionjo: Nov. 16th.
In a surprising twist of events, Khaligraph’s friend and longtime collaborator Ace Tha Don joined the hooha with a scathing diss which, according to the YouTube description states that is directed at Papa Jones. Friends turned foes? I’ll not be surprised. Pac and Biggie were ones friends too. Ace may be unknown to the mainstream listeners as compared to the other four but those familiar with the Hip Hop scene in Kenya will tell you that he is one of the elite MCs in the 254. The only artist in Kenya spitting in Spanish so far breh!
Kings: 16th Nov.
As of the time of publishing, Octopizzo had not yet dropped his contribution. but we can never underestimate the self proclaimed Number 8’s finest. He came up as a cypher/battle artist just so you know. We will update it here once he does.
And we promised you updates! We are here to pay the debt.
Kayvo KForce has, according to his own words, just stepped in to Kill A King! From one of the most slept on rappers in Kenya, comes the most lethal response thus far. With a laid back delivery and his signature ‘cool, calm, collected’ flow. Namba Nane’s Kayvo has just added a different perspective to this. Likewise to Ace, he is one of Khaligraph’s friends and this is the best case of keeping it real with your boys. Amusingly, he gets the approval of non other than Octopizzo as seen on the YouTube comment section.
Killa A King: 17th Nov.
Side note, Smallz Lethal’s diss doesn’t qualify to be mentioned in this series. no offense brother Smallz. Afro-cinema continues shortly…
So, this brings us to the debate; who is the Kenyan Hip Hop King really? Who has the bars, the skills and deserves the crown? Let the crowning begin.