Kaka EmpireDir. Kevin Bosco Jnr
A lot of interesting moves are being made by the Provoke/Kaka Empire label who clearly want to be on record as the first to come up with certain formats or set new standards. Well, another statement of intent comes with the release of a remix to Rabbit’s Ligi Soo. This is no ordinary remix. It could as well be the the longest posse cut we’ve seen in the Kenyan hip-hop/urban music scene so far. This remix lines up nine other artists alongside Kaka Sungura, rapping or singing (for 11 good minutes) about the central theme of being way above the rest in their industry.
Even before listening to the track, the line-up looks diverse and unpredictable enough to make the remix interesting. On the other hand, a debate on the selection and whether it could have been fine-tuned deserves an entire article all together. However, the reality is that it is really tricky for artists to align their projects and schedules to do a normal two or three artist remix let alone something this big.
Getting down to the production itself, this is a remix of two halves which starts off with the male artists doing their thing (Jay A, Mejja, Chiwawa, Madtraxx and Rabbit) followed by the femcees ( Petra, Shikow FemOne, Razz and Wangechi) with Lyra Aoko providing vocals and a sung verse that gives this remix a different flavour from the original anthem.
With a line-up this huge, one would obviously expect each of those artists to deliver their A-Game because, as posse cuts go, everyone will want to know who killed it the most and who got murdered on their own remix. The results are mixed for Ligi Soo (Remix). A majority of the verses are simply lukewarm with Jay A, Madtraxx, Razz and Wangechi delivering just the bare minimums. I wonder why the line-up was this huge and the majority did not deliver, kinda beats the logic of having a such lengthy track, no? Mejja’s verse has a shaky start but is salvaged by the last few bars while Chiwawa and Rabbit maintain their good lyrical form. Unexpectedly, the best verses come from the femcees’ side. Petra’s flow is the most enjoyable – this sort of beat is made for her style and she demonstrates this well. Surprise, surprise, the best verse comes from teen rapper Shikow FemOne. It is a witty verse full of thought-out pieces of metaphors and wordplay that makes me wish she had gotten some more bars out on this.
The obvious challenge for the artists here was that the verses had to be short which meant they had to go hard from the very first lines. And even with the brevity, the remix is still very long at 11 minutes (Will TV shows have to split this remix into a “male” remix and a “female” remix version to fit the track in their playlists?). This makes me wonder whether the remix line-up was too crammed for some of the artists to make a proper impact. However, the example of Rick Ross’ one bar intro in Kanye West’s Monster being among the best lines of the whole damn song disproves that theory. The music video was directed by Kevin Bosco Jnr. and shot on location at Nairobi’s Lord Erroll Gourmet Restaurant.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This latest effort by Kaka Empire shows, the limits this label is willing to go to set themselves way above the rest. Their strategy of being ground breaking is working very well for them so far.