Last Sunday...that was the day that AY threw the gauntlet and dared all MC’s in the region with a bold statement. What’s this am going on about? During the M-Net Big Brother evictions, AY performed on stage while cladded in a t- shirt that boldly proclaimed, “I Run East Africa.” Is AY the King of East Africa? Really?
Well, I wouldn’t blame AY for proclaiming himself the undisputed King of East Africa, especially as he is probably the only artist who thought about it in the first place. The title was up for grabs anyway. Of course, there are a couple of artists who can openly dispute this move by the Bongo guru, possibly the likes of MwanaFA, Professor J, Fid Q, Ngwair...(notice, no Kenyan MC mentioned). Whatever the case, or opinion, I’m with AY on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Kenyan music, but look at the titles we give ourselves, ahem, Jua – King wa Genge, Nonini – Godfather wa Genge, Collo – King wa Rap... these are what I would refer to as “mini titles.”
Possibly, the only Kenyan musician who has not dubbed himself with any of these random titles is Redsan. He’s also the only one who can be bold enough to make such a proclamation – at least from a dancehall perspective that is. And yet, even calling him a Kenyan artist seems a bit demeaning coz he’s got such an international outlook to his music and business.
Ok, maybe if we weren’t to look at it from a purely Kenyan perspective (courtesy of the intensifying Genge-Bongo rivalry) we’d see things entirely different.
East Africa is made up of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda (and lately Rwanda...but they’re yet to make any impact musically speaking). These countries in the region happen to have different kinds of music... let’s call them genres. These different genres have their ‘kingpins.’ So, can AY justify his claim of running East Africa? I think he can. One; he’s a great MC. Two; he’s got the hits to prove it. Three; he’s got a series regional hit collaborations under his belt. Four; the title was up for grabs, and well, he grabbed it. All AY can wait for is the MTV MAMA Awards to crown him as the president of the region.