Hip hop/spoken word artist Trabolee made a significant mark earlier this year with his debut album All Roads Lead Home, no doubt Kenya’s most lyrically potent album of 2015. His pen remains as sharp as ever in his latest showing entitled MBEx3, a release by a newly formed music producer collective called Producers on the Road. MBEx3 sees Trabolee unite with his long-time collaborator Juke Myster and Amo Kamili.
As the title (derived from “Mbe” a sheng word meaning “ahead of the curve”) suggests, MBEx3 is a track that makes an immediate statement with its beats even before the verses kick in. Producers on the Road and Buff Beats’ simple but immaculately layered production gives birth to a euphoric beat and bassline combination that screams “Turnt Up!!” and triggers head-bobbing automatically.
Lyrically, the trio of rappers deliver the goods with the aplomb and braggadocio such a turnt up beat requires. Trabolee drops a smooth, rythmic verse about staying on top of the game. Amo Kamili is all about the previous night’s shenanigans, building up to a two bar punchline about socialites and breaking beds. Juke Myster delivers one of the sweetest verses about marijuana since Ladybud’s Wipe Me Down.
The music video, directed by Abstract Omega, stays with the euphoric mood of the track depicting a crazy night out on the town with the boys, complete with creepy clown and skull face paint. What stands out is Abstract Omega’s technique of maintaining a black-and-white theme, utilizing everything at his disposal to achieve this, curbs, signposts, passing and parked cars etc.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is one of the standout hip hop tracks of this year and one of the few that achieve a balance of good production and solid lyrical content.