Dir. A. Macharia
Octopizzo’s rise to the top of the local hip-hop circles has been remarkable. You simply cannot take that away from him. He has come from peddling mixtapes while based in the slums of Kibera to being one of the top-selling artists in the country across platforms such as mdundo.com. In addition to this, his impressive business acumen has led to his owning a very successful clothing line and other business ventures in the alcohol and contraceptives industry (don’t those two things go well together or what?). He has managed to grow a loyal youth fan-base and also pulls in the corporate crowd who are always ready to gobble up such inspiring rags-to-riches stories. He has perfected the art of making hit songs by his selection of extremely infectious beats and really high production value music videos which lay a firm foundation for his verses made up of mostly straightforward rhyme schemes that are easy to recall.
It is also impossible to ignore the other side of the spectrum – hip hop purists who believe that the rapper has lost/is losing touch with those things that made him stand out as such a formidable performer and rapper from way back in the mixtape and battle rap days, much like the story of one 50 Cent. His latest music video release, which dropped a few hours ago entitled Nini! will no doubt be a source of further debate on that topic.
Nini!! essentially goes further then the direction in which Octopizzo’s previous track Stay So Fly was headed. This is a full blown trap-style production, complete with the sort of turnt up beats and super-heavy basslines you’d expect to hear in a Rick Ross, Gucci Mane or Ace Hood track. Lyrically, Octopizzo also adopts the materialist “cars, money, girls” type of content that usually comes along with this type of music. His main message, however is for all those running around with his name in their mouths to shut it and make some money instead: “Emcee, unajaribu kujicompare na me, let’s see…” His verses have some promising intent but still end up being lukewarm overall and falling short of the extreme braggadocio that is required to make such songs entertaining. There are some note worthy bars peppered throughout the track, especially on the second verse which has a very funny reference to weed: “Octopizzo, jina gani hizo?/Oct-ombitho, bhangi gani hiyo?” It is those head-bobbing beats that hold this track together and make it worth the listen.
The video, directed by Andrew Macharia and shot mostly on location at the 88 MPH Garage (the home of Mdundo), also ensures that it takes complete advantage of current trends, complete with the twerking video vixens (just in time to take advantage of the all the attention on the subject occasioned by the Miley Cyrus saga and some of the people we have decided to call socialites lately). Well, there’s also a cameo appearance by Lady Karun, perhaps returning the favour after Octopizzo appeared in her Ladybug series. It finishes off with a 20 second WTF moment consisting of flashing images, bringing to mind Kanye West’s All Of The Lights music video.
There are two ways of looking at this new release. You could see this track as a manifestation of Octo’s business mind at work. It has often been said that the rap game resembles the crack game – business strategies and decisions have to made. He noticed a gap in the local market – no one produces this kind of music and yet we consume copious amounts of it brought to us by foreigners such as the Maybach Music Group, for example. He read the signs, stepped up and served us with a local helping of rap music based on the American trap-rap style which many people love to listen to. Now, that is a trend setter right there. Kudos. On the other hand, we must also ask ourselves if this is the beginning of a new wave of the so-called “ignorant rap/trap music” which will sweep over the local hip hop scene as we now know it. If so, is it a good thing? Let’s talk about that another day, for now it’s a wait and see.