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Sample Sunday: Kus-Ma ft. Kanja - How High ·

Bottomline Kenya

Sub-Sahara Records; 2013

Dir. Kevin Bosco Junior

Even before the Camp Mulla crew went all out on solo projects, their talismanic producer Kus-Ma had already been hard at work testing the waters with two singles off his upcoming J’s & Purple EP as well as  featuring with Collo on a single by labelmate (and girlfriend) Tiri. His third single off that EP, How High, is the subject for this week’s sample feature.

With all the trademarks of a Kus-Ma production and featuring rapper Kanja, How High samples portions of the late Notorious B.I.G’s 1994 monster hit Big Poppa by plucking two signature lines from Biggie’s verses: “Money, hoes and clothes, all a nigga knows…” and “Living better now, Gucci sweater now…” The track follows the same content as that in Big Poppa leading a life of excess at the top of the musical pile after a hustle that has paid off.

A similar, more direct approach had been used earlier in Jammie Foxx’s Living Better Now featuring Rick Ross back in 2010. Kus-Ma instead gives the sample a more relaxed feel with some supressed reverb effects and lets his beat grab most of the attention, which works out well for him in the end.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Kus-Ma stands on his own as a producer, let alone the rapping bit. His style has become one of the most quickly recognised ones around. It would be interesting to hear him churning out a beat for someone outside the Sub-Saharan stable who can take him out of his comfort zone.

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