As we’ve mentioned before, this year is turning out to be a big one for musical collaborations across Africa. Kenyan artists have not been left out but have contributed some interesting collabos so far. With this trend going on, it is difficult not to start dreaming up some potential collaborations that would make so much sense. This compilation of fantasy collaborations between Kenyan artists and other artists from around the continent is such an exercise, but with a twist.
Instead of listing the most predictable picks of potential collaborators, we’ve matched our Kenyan artists mostly with lesser known or out-of-view artists that need to be on your radar. So here it is, 10 out-of-the-box collaborations we’d like to see come true:
Angel Mutoni & Wangechi
Angel Mutoni is one of Rwanda’s fastest rising rappers /singer-songwriters/poets and has already made significant waves with her 8-track EP entitled Rise as well as two mixtapes entitled Epidemic of Words Vol. 1 and Epidemic of Words Vol. 2. Much like Wangechi, she has carved out a niche for herself in the male dominated circles of local hip-hop. With Wangechi set to finally release her long-delayed debut album soon, it would be more than a pleasant surprise to discover Angel Mutoni featured somewhere in there, even as a bonus track.
A-Pass & Redsan
Few East African dancehall artists can boast having working relationships with the big stars in Jamaica. Uganda’s A-Pass and our very own Redsan have been there, done that and wear the T-shirt on a regular basis. Redsan had Demarco on his ridiculously popular Badder Than Most remix while A-Pass recently featured Konshens in his Gamululu remix. Perhaps it’s about time the two brought their various styles together and crafted a truly localized dancehall hit.
Blitz the Ambassador & Trabolee
Both Blitz the Ambassador and Trabolee are accomplished lyricists in their own right. They’ve both released two very unusual albums. On Native Sun, Blitz the Ambassador paid a perfect tribute to Africa and draws connections with the all the genres the continent has given birth to – hip hop, funk, afrobeat, you name it. Trabolee’s All Roads Lead Home tackled heavy themes with a touch of existential curiosity, deservedly earning its place as one of the best Kenyan albums of 2015. These two rappers occupy the right kind of head space to bless us with one of the most fire hip hop tracks we’ve heard in a while.
Dee Moneey & Octopizzo
These are two extremely versatile artists, ready to bend to the direction of the most popular sounds of the moment, which currently happens to be trap music. Ghana’s up and coming rapper Dee Moneey has recently switched his style from his usual afrobeats offerings to more trap heavy sounds with great results. Finish Line, his collaboration with Sarkodie and J Town blew up to the extent of getting heavyweights like Ice Prince and M.anifest on the remix. Octopizzo started to ride the trap wave with Nini and has never looked back since.
Faarrow & Muthoni the Drummer Queen
Faarrow are an awesome Canadian singer/songwriter duo composed of two sisters originally born in Somalia but relocated to Canada as refugees. They determinedly forged a music career in the United States despite cultural hurdles and label challenges. They’ve released a couple of great covers (this Goyte cover plus this Fugees – Sia mashup) and original material in the duration and are set to drop a major label debut album.
Like a majority of the Somali community in the diaspora, they have developed a relationship with Kenya. They hopped down to shoot a music video for Say My Name in and around Nairobi, a city whose attitudes are understood extremely well by Muthoni the Drummer Queen. A collaboration between these two sets of artists would be a fitting metaphor for the long-standing, constantly evolving state of Kenya-Somalia relations. Perhaps a Nai Ni Ya Who – Say My Name mashup, yes?
Emtee & Khaligraph Jones
South African hip hop has really taken off. The leading artists over there are harnessing the addictive qualities of trap or other sub-genres originating from America and fusing them with lyrical delivery and content packaged for local audiences. Among the artists to keep an eye out for is Emtee, who finally caught the break of his six year old career with his massive hit Roll Up, complete with a remix featuring Wizkid and AKA. Emtee would make an noteworthy pairing with Khaligraph Jones who has also been churning out some palatable trap-based material.
Jaleel & TAIO
Ogopa’s sister record label in Namibia, Ogopa Butterfly, is in a very interesting place musically. Listening to some of their artists is like stumbling upon a time capsule full of what Kenyan music used to sound like a few years back when Camp Mulla blew up. Overall, Namibian urban music is far from dull. It has become a space for unique takes on hip hop, afro-house, dancehall, R&B and afro-fusion done in a style you’ve probably never heard before. Listen to Sally Boss Madam, LMPC, Chikune, Promise or Tswazis for context.
Jaleel, one of Ogopa Butterfly’s latest signings, is another artist who represents the fresh and new sounds coming out of Namibia. His breakout single entitled Hood Party effortlessly sashays back and forth between today’s and 2000s hip hop. His second single under Ogopa, Deuces, actually sounds like a previously unreleased Camp Mulla track, which is probably why he’d make music magic with any ex-Camp Mulla member, particularly TAIO.
Patoranking & The Kansoul
When it comes to addictive beats and supercatchy hooks, The Kansoul is the group that has constantly delivered ever since Nyongwa right up to their latest head-and-shoulder bobbing track Mabega. They have the creative process an artist like Patoranking understands only too well. Besides, it seems like dancefloors have not yet gotten over his moster track My Woman, My Everything and won’t be doing so anytime soon.
Somi & Mayonde
Amazing vocal abilities. Inspired song-writing. Innovative musical approaches. All these qualities are mutually shared by these two amazing artists. Somi’s debut album If The Rains Come First instantly shot up world music charts. Her second critically accalimed album The Lagos Music Salon features the likes of Common and Angelique Kidjo. Mayonde has maintained her high standards even before changing her stage name from Diana Nduba. Her excellent debut album Magic In The Air was without a doubt Kenya’s best album of 2015. Wouldn’t it be awesome to witness these two talents on the same track?
Songhoy Blues & Kato Change
What would happen if Kato Change’s exceptional guitar skills came face to face with the psychedelic rock of Malian band Songhoy Blues? Probably a soundclash of some sort, but an epic one indeed. This is probably the most unlikely pairing in this list but an open minded approach could lead to something special. Who knows? Will we ever know?
THE BOTTOM LINE
Do any of these fantasy collaborations make sense or would they be disastrous? Feel free to use the comments section.