Nick Mutuma ft. Lyra Aoko – 254 Anthem

Ulopa; 2013

Nick Mutuma delivers a badly received party tune. But is it really as bad as we have been made to believe or is this just another case of peculiar Kenyan habits?

So, Nick Mutuma of the Shuga fame has made his musical debut courtesy of his first single, 254 Anthem, featuring inaugural Samsung Ziki Star Lyra Aoko. Right out of the box, this song is packaged to fit in with all the party staples that never fail to get on club tracklists, their most common ingredients being: forgettable lyrics and nice enough hooks backed up by great sounding beats. The logic is simple – nobody would normally bend over to a song about fish farming methods in Kisii at 1AM on a Saturday morning, ESPECIALLY after the DJ plays P. Unit’s You Guy. That is not how things work in the 254!

However, not everything goes according to plan around here when it comes to the reception of such songs. Apparently, quite a number of people have contributed to the idea of absolutely disliking this song and an even larger crowd has agreed with them for the purpose of creating yet another trending topic (Kenyans love trending topics, duh). Their justification comes in Nick’s delivery of a couple of rather forgettable verses, with the exception of the “Pockets full of money, call me Mike Sonko” line, followed by an auto-tuned bridge which somehow manages to briefly improve his lyrical content.

This is by no means an anthem, but calling it a disaster would be hasty judgment. On the upside, Lyra Aoko does not disappoint on this one. Her vocal presence is felt throughout the track’s chorus and hooks. The main highlight is Ulopa’s bounce-y beats that can definitely get any number of heads bobbing in a way that makes me think of A$AP Rocky’s Fuckin’ Problems. That beat is probably the reason why you will continue to hear this tune in the clubs and at your neighbour’s house party for a while.

[lightbox link=””]Nick n Lyra[/lightbox]

Andrew Macharia directs the music video in which Mutuma drives a BMW through the Thika Superhighway and Nairobi’s CBD on his way to a celeb-filled party, peppered with shots of some of Nairobi’s land marks and the rooftop shots that have become an industry standard nowadays. Macharia has come up with a satisfactory video which does justice to the song.

The Bottom Line

If it quacks like a duck it probably is a duck, but an ugly duckling could as well be a black swan. This right here is a party song in every sense of the word. The only way to determine whether this fact justifies some of the weak lyrical content is by tossing a coin.