Audio

Blinky Bill's New Album Shows That There Are No Limits to His Creativity

The prolific Kenyan beatmaker Bill Sellanga is back with his eagerly-awaited debut solo album, Everyone's Just Winging It & Other Fly Tales.

Blinky Bill is not new to the game. As one of the founding members of Kenya's most famous alternative music collective, Just a Band, he already has an extensive body of work under his belt.

In their heyday, Just a Band revolutionized the Kenyan music scene with their genre-bending style and uniquely-produced visual treatments. Their avant-garde approach to music and art led to global recognition, the production of Kenya's first viral video and a direct influence on the next wave of Nairobi's creative daredevils. Now on hiatus, the band members have set out on their own solo endeavors. For Blinky Bill—DJ, rapper and producer extraordinaire—a solo album has been a long time coming.

On Everyone's Just Winging It & Other Fly Tales, Blinky reinvigorates his passion for experimental beat-making. He weaves African rhythms together with electronic cuts, hip-hop and funk in order to attain a hard-hitting, inventive and sublime body of work.


Blinky Bill - Showdown (Official Video) ft. MVROE, Kiwango

Though lengthy, the album title is catchy. It presents the simple idea that no one really has it all figured out, that human beings are moving through life as they cope with the ups and downs of the world we live in.

The album opens with an upbeat, bass-heavy intro titled "Lwanda Magere," an ode to the mighty warrior famous in traditional Luo folklore for having unearthly supernatural powers.

On the next track, Blinky surprisingly leans to the mainstream more than ever,"Continue that way and I think I'll wife it/ I need someone I can face real life with." With its towering horns and heavy percussions, "Atenshan" is a flamboyant centerpiece that will get the dance floor bubbling.

Blinky plays around with his vocals just as much as he does with his beats. He alternates English and Swahili lyrics, while skating between singing and unvarnished rap-talk in a way that does not seem forceful or contrived. He comes across as if he is freestyling the entire time.

On "Bills to Pay" he laments about people owing him money over a tasteful hip-hop production that evokes some '90s nostalgia. The album accelerates once again with the droning and pulsing electronic beats of "Don't Worry," which along with songs like "Feelin' It" and "Atenshan," is one of the louder cuts in the project. These songs jump out of the speakers with a rage that would probably translate spectacularly on the stage.

The album is garnished with a number of impressive and spontaneous collaborations that include Sampa the Great, Petite Noir and Nneka. He also enlists his protégé Sichangi, and Kenyan sensations like Muthoni Drummer Queen and Sage in the 12-track project.

In Nairobi, Blinky is also known for his bold and colorful taste in fashion. His bright-side personality and authentic charm also manifest themselves in his music. He creates vibrant, energetic and groovy soundscapes with fun-loving tracks like "Happy", "Winner" and the album's first single "Showdown"—a deftly-produced banger that is only let down by lackluster guest verses.

It's hard not to be spellbound by Sampa The Great's poetic and thought-provoking delivery on "Let That Go" or the uplifting nature of "Mungu Halali"—a semi-gospel beauty bursting with soulful optimism.

The album takes a socially-conscious turn on "Oh Wah" as Blinky reflects on Kenya's unhealthy politics and the inaction of the government and its citizens to make integral changes. Nneka's plaintive vocals contribute to the striking intimacy of this crucial track.

This album has a sound that is both similar to his older work and a musical representation of a creative evolution. He draws from a range of influences stemming from eras both old and new. For him, the only rule is that there are no rules, and in that sense this makes for a brilliant and comfortable debut.

Listen to Blinky Bill's debut solo album below.


News Brief
Blinky Bill in "Mungu Halali" (Youtube/VEVO)

Watch Blinky Bill's New Music Video For 'Mungu Halali'

The talented Kenyan artist releases the video for the gospel-themed fan favorite.

The soulful and groovy "Mungu Halali" has definitely been one of the most popular songs from Blinky Bill's debut album, Everybody's Just Winging It and Other Fly Tales.

The semi-gospel beauty features talented Kenyan singers Sage, Sara Mitaru , Wambura Mitaru and Lisa Oduor-Noah.

The brand new music video for the single sparks a lot of nostalgia, opening with the words of legendary veteran Kenyan media guru, Leonard Mambo Mbotela, "Je huu ni ungwana?" The heartwarming visuals capture the essence of Nairobi—religion, art, family, hustle and more.

In Photos: Blinky Bill & Coco Em Play the 'OkayAfrica Link Up: Nairobi Party'

"A lot of things in my life inspired 'Mungu Halali'. Like the times when you feel you are not really going to make it and then somehow it happens that you pull through. It's a song of thanksgiving. I have just seen the hand of the good Lord in my life even when I thought that I didn't deserve that shot," says Blinky on e-mail.

Check out Blinky Bill's new music video for "Mungu Halali" featuring Sage, Sara Mitaru , Wambura Mitaru and Lisa Oduor-Noah below.

Read: Blinky Bill's New Album Shows That There Are No Limits to His Creativity

Keep reading...
popular
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Dave's 'Psychodrama' Wins 'Album of the Year' at the 2020 Brit Awards

The British-Nigerian rapper took home the top prize moments after a performance during which he called the British Prime Minister a 'real racist'.

British Nigerian rapper Dave took home the top prize at this year's Brit Awards. His 2019 debut album Psychodrama, which was certified gold in just three months and went on to win last year's Mercury Prize, was awarded "Album of the Year".

However, it was Dave's performance prior to him receiving the award that really stole the show.

According to the BBC, the artist gave a fiery performance of his track "Black" wherein he added a new verse which called out the government and referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "real racist".

Keep reading...
Video
Shirazee. Photo: Tiara Marei. Courtesy of the artist.

Get Into Shirazee & Saint Jhn's Highly-Addictive 'Juju'

The new music video follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans.

Shirazee is back with his latest single "Juju."

The new song sees the Benin-born singer-songwriter linking up with none-other-than Saint Jhn for a highly-addictive tune built on afro-fusion beat work. The striking new music video for "Juju," which was directed by Tiara Marei, follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans, Louisiana.

"This one is special to me 'cause the song was recorded at a time I needed to break a love-spell that I felt was put on me by a serious crush of mine [laughs]," Shirazee tells OkayAfrica. "Shooting this video in New Orleans, a city with historical ties to my Benin, was such a privilege and does so much justice to the song and theme.

"[I'm] looking forward to releasing new music this year and the first of two EPs called LOST is on the way and it's exciting," he adds.

For more on him, revisit our interview with Shirazee on his journey, taking risks and going independent. As you remember, Saint Jhn featured on Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl," one of our favorite songs last year.

Get into Shirazee and Saint Jhn's "Juju" below.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.