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Photo by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

This Is What the Second Edition of the 'Hand-Forged in Kenya' Party Looked Like

It was another epic edition of our party in Nairobi featuring performances from Vallerie Muthoni, Bahati Bookings, Chris Kaiga and more.

OkayAfrica, Bateleur Brewery and The Alchemist Bar joined forces to launch a new live music series, Hand-Forged in Kenya, which is focused on showcasing rising Kenyan talent to fans, both locally and globally.

Curated by our Kenyan-based contributor Camille Storm, the long-awaited second edition took place on Saturday, August 10th at The Alchemist Bar in Nairobi.

Taio kicked off the night on the decks delivering a superb DJ set that got bodies moving on the dance floor almost immediately. By the time Bahati Bookings got on stage, the floor was packed with a curious audience. The budding music collective, consisting of artists Ekumbo, Baraka and DJ Supersun, had all eyes on them as they performed a groovy alternative hip-hop set.


Hand-Forged in Kenya: Vallerie Muthoni www.youtube.com

The crowd went wild once newcomer Chris Kaiga came on stage. The fast-rising rapper got the party really started his dance-ready genge-inspired set and the audience particularly couldn't wait for him to perform his breakout hit song "Zimenice" featuring Tezzla.

Singing sensation Vallerie Muthoni got on stage with her drummer to give an incredibly lively rendition of her Pisces SZN EP that came out earlier this year. One of the highlights was the music video premiere for her single "Spicy SZN" which features rising afro-jazz singer Le Ru and Taio Tripper. It was a beautiful moment when they all united on stage to perform the song while the video premiered on the screen.

Nairobi's finest DJ Mix Master Lenny finished off the night with an incredible set which was based on Kenyan music from different eras. Just like the debut edition, this party went on till the early morning hours.We definitely can't wait to see what the final edition of the year looks like.

All photography by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

Op-Ed
Photography by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Price to Pay: The Complicated Relationship Between Ambitiouz Entertainment and South Africa’s Music Scene

Through all the horror stories shared by artists, it's impossible to overlook Ambitiouz Entertainment's contribution to South African music.

One of the biggest South African songs at the moment boasts a lineup of artists that blend styles for a smooth collaboration. With verses for the heads and a catchy hook for the radio, "Price to Pay" by Miss Pru DJ features the duo Blaq Diamond and Lesotho-born rapper Malome Vector.

A quintessential Ambitiouz Entertainment song, "Price to Pay" feels like 2016/2017 all over again, even if it's for just above five minutes. When Ambitiouz started circa 2015, a majority of its hip-hop artists—Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, FiFi Cooper, and others—were doing trap rap, mostly in native languages. Even A-Reece, who raps almost exclusively in English now, threw a few SePitori phrases in his rhymes. Singles such as "Tshela" and "Smokolo" released by the rapper Priddy Ugly under Ambitiouz were his first experiments with adding native languages in his verses beyond hooks.

While streaming "Price to Pay" and other songs released by Ambitiouz Entertainment, however, one wonders if, years from now, Malome Vector and Blaq Diamond will be sharing horror stories of working with the label, just like many of its previous signings.

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