It is often said that ‘the revolution will not be televised’, well that is no longer a viable truth! The Kenyan youth is slowly but steadily televising this revolution through art; to be precise rhythm and poetry in what is now popularly known as hip hop activism against social and political ills.
RapperJim Nyakundi stage named Smallz Lethal is not new to controversy from his stinging lyrical prowess and virtuoso to his ‘bad boy’ reputation. Born and raised in Bosongo, he is undisputedly the face of Kisii hip hop and rap music having catapulted to national level rap infused in lyrics in his ethnic dialect ekegusii in tracks such as Ebarimo and Lethal which features Sage.
Even though he has been off the musical limelights for a while now, he is back and is definitely set to take his craft to a whole new level with the release of ‘I’m offended’ .
Smallz Lethal is pissed and speaks in the voice of the common ‘mwananchi’ and youth in Kisii County. He shows subtle politeness in holding back his anger by giving the song the title “I’m offended”, but that is far from it, the title is a huge understatement. He leaves no stone unturned.
In this track, he has the anger of a deeply wounded soldier betrayed by the country (read County) he trusted and served diligently and he is not afraid to strike back at his leaders. Produced by K DA GREAT and Mixed & Mastered by Tasla of Red Tape Nation, this quadruple timed track kicks off in a parlando intro he goes; ‘Ah, I’m offended man…ah, put your mouth where your truth is, ah, KRK kama kawa‘. He then takes on verse one in an off beat kick consider his opening lyrics: ‘Oh-ngwae mi natumianga lakini Ongwae pia umetuangushanga…’. He goes on to lament over the sorry state of roads, poor service delivery, the runaway corruption and misappropriation of funds in the County government of Kisii.
His message is simple and clear: We cannot bow down to the people we have employed to do the job. We cannot reward them for doing their jobs and they must do their jobs to the satisfaction of the people. His end-rhyme scheme is superb and choice of words elating giving witty descriptives while sending the message home. Look at these lyrics; ‘Tusianzie mbali, cheki Nyanchwa barabara, aibu kubwa kwa watu wetu wa hapa, connection ya Bosongo town mpaka Suneka na hiyo soko mmekula mpaka mikeka, na hiyo hela si ni fify six million?. ‘
The chorus is well thought out. it echoes the message and the title of the track acting as a tool for emphasis. It goes; ‘Mimi ni Mkenya halisi I am offended, Na mimi kama msanii I am offended and as a chairman of a club, I am offended!’
Above millions of figures that literally do not add up, he goes all ballistic in the second verse. His direct assault tactic is effective consider: ‘ Mbona wananchi mnaabudu mheshimiwa, mheshimiwa hakuna kazi anafanya? anakula tu za Kaunti na mabibi mmeibiwa, mmetii ni kama ni gun mmeshikiwa…’. He questions the integrity of the appointed leaders and champions for projects meant for the youth. His enthusiasm is unrivalled.
He has the tenacity, the right words, and the bravery to name names and state facts and figures without being vulgar or unnecessarily sultry, slutty or flashy with the video which is common with the hip hop genre. Simple video, right message. There are no sacred cows this time. Nobody is spared. Not the media sleeping with the corrupt leaders, not the sloppy governors and their fictitious budgets and tender cartels, and certainly not your local church notorious for receiving blood money from these leaders, monies and assets meant for uplifting the livelihoods of the poor and the youths turning them into private property.
The track is very refreshing and puts out a good case against bad leadership and corruption by pointing out the evil and questioning everything that continues to go wrong.The younger population has shown very little enthusiasm in holding leaders to account.
They have given up on politics and casting their vote because they see very little impact in their own lives. However, one thing that rings out clear in these corona virus pandemic times is that the choice of leaders you have is a matter of life and death and your choice could literally kill you because their decisions can determine if you live or die and that makes our choice of leadership personal. This in turn makes the timing of this protest music perfect and deserving to go viral.
Smallz Lethal delivers a perfect outro in a parlando once again synonymous with the hip hop genre. He goes: ‘Put your mouth where your truth is au sio? Kila siku mzee, najua siku moja labda sitakua lakini kutokee wengine na wengine na wengine watu wa kusema ukweli man, everytime kazi ifanyike bwana, serve the youth, serve the people when you are given that power!’ as the track echoes into a fine.
This track is the truth. Excellent!! ; *****
WATCH ‘IM OFFENDED HERE:
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