Gengetone will soon fade, watch this space
Kenya Music industry is dead. From the time Kenyans took a sharp turn and started embracing hype, and what has come to be famously known as Gengetone, I knew that was suicidal and real music will take years before making a comeback. This kind of music will never penetrate past the Kenyan boarders, you can take this to the bank. The young self-branded Ghetto (slum) boys have not understood what it should take to build a lasting career in music. It’s more than getting 7,000 likes on a post and 25,000 followers on Instagram. It’s more than getting a million views on YouTube, much as it counts when assessing successful music projects.
My article does not support the moral policeman Dr. Ezekiel Mutua’s weekly press releases banning this kind of music, neither is it crucifying the music content but it is entirely based on how long and how far this music tone can take us. Sexual content has proven to sell, and all these Gengetone hits in one way or the other circulate around sex, alcohol, weed and party life. Any new artist that comes to the industry, tries to play around these topics. No creativity at all.
From personal experience, one can easily get tired of these kinds of music, the noisy, the lyrics, the visual production are something one cannot grow to like them for a long time. Kenyans will soon be tired and long before they realize, they’ll be dead, never to rise again. The media industry which was forced to embrace the music because of hype will also stop playing.
I remember last year, I used to listen to them a lot, but the last few months every time YouTube auto-plays the Gengetone, I grab my remote and skip them so quickly. That is exactly what will happen to many other people, and the hype they rely on will soon fade. I’ve never been a fan of Tanzania’s Bongo star, Diamond, but to honestly speak, that man built a career by growing with the audience who’ve supported him all through. He never relied on going-viral to be famous or to hit, he is working so hard to establish a permanent career in music and this has paid him off.
Most of these awa upcoming Gengetone artists tumewachocha wakasahau mziki ni kazi buana. SMH
— Mr. Banterbulous (@RamzZy_) November 28, 2019
There are so many activities happening daily on Social Media and anyone who relies on going viral to hit is digging their own grave, Stivo Simple Boy is one of them. The Kibera artist has been receiving so much love on the online space but has this translated to his music sales? Soon everyone will have had enough of him, what will happen? This reminds me of the popular music Twist, that ruled Kenya up until recently when technology took over space, and production as far as music is concerned improved, forcing the low-quality twist, like ‘Safari’ by Daudi Kabaka out of the scene.
Watu wanasema gengetone is just a wave in the Kenyan music industry na itapita tu, wengine wanasema it's here to stay. Can the gengetone artiste hold on the steering for a long time or they'll have to reinvent themselves with time?
— Jambo Africa✋ (@JamboAfricaKE) November 29, 2019
By taking this direction of hype, Kenyan musicians have made a wrong turn which will take them, years before cementing a successful creative space that can hit the entire continent and even extend to the other parts of the world to win international audiences.
I really believed in Elani and Avril, I don’t know who pushed them out of the industry. I tried asking on Twitter someday, but I was bashed and told their time came to an end. So what next for them and other musicians that have been pushed out by the viral boys? Are they going to make a comeback? When and how? What if they don’t come back, and Gengetone dies? We can only say, artists who will remain focused, tune their content to attract sponsorships and win masses, not hype are the ones that will survive.