If someone were to mention Akothee in your presence, it is highly likely that the first thing that would pop in your mind is her claim that she currently is Kenya’s richest musician. This could be a good thing, depending on how you look at it. After all, a viable music career involves much more than just making good music – a brand has to be created, several products around the brand have to be developed and finally both the brand and the related products are vigorously marketed.
When it comes to Akothee though, it is a case of the products (ie. the actual music) not growing at par with the brand. Identifying the standouts from the 8 singles she has released so far is a pretty daunting task. Why? Simply because none of those tracks really distinguishes itself from the rest . There is a certain problematic sameness about all of them. The most obvious pick would be My Sweet Love, her recent collabo with Tanzanian crooner Diamond released earlier this year, but if the last time you listened to it was in February when it was on heavy rotation, you are likely not to remember what it actually sounded like, let alone why it stood out. You know it was good but everything else is a blur.
Her latest track, Give It To Me featuring Nigeria’s Flavour, is very likely to fall victim to the same problem. Under the hood, Masterkraft, one of Flavour’s regular producers, is responsible for the beats. The message is not entirely clear on this one, but what’s for sure is that it’s about shaking booty and spending nairas. Masterkraft demonstrates his top notch production and comes through with super-clean and agreeable afrobeats. Combining that beat with a fully functional Flavour in his element results in Akothee being relegated to the sidelines, the same thing that happened in My Sweet Love when she played vocal sidekick to Diamond.
The music video is derived from Godfather Productions’ template concept for East African artists, which means you have probably watched this video before under a different name. Akothee’s dancing is probably the only bonus of the visuals, and she really can dance. The music video completes the production circle for what can be considered yet another standard “fast food” Afropop song. It sounds and looks so damn good but it wears off as soon as silence or the next song in your playlist kicks in.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There’s lots to admire about Akothee’s ethic of settling for nothing but high quality music and video production outfits for her songs. Her collaboration choices so far have probably been as good as you can get from East and West Africa. However, what her brand is aching for right now is a career-defining song that will stand out from her material so far, command a longer shelf life and remind us that Akothee is more than just “the richest musician in Kenya.”