Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear artiste, here’s why you are ever struggling

PHOTO/FILE  Jua Cali performing in a past event.

PHOTO/FILE Jua Cali performing in a past event. 

By PHILIP MWANIKI

One of the discussion in the industry right now has got to be about one of its biggest names, Jua Cali.

The debate, if I can call it that is whether the cornrowed no drama rapper is down and out.

Has he directed his own fist to his face and knocked himself out?

His new song, “Baba yao” has not been a hit like the rest of his songs which just a few years ago lasted an entire year or more on the charts and in the clubs.

Has the Jua Cali bandwagon found itself in a ditch? I think so.

The man who made Calif records has been on the same sound for years now and the fans have grown tired of it and moved on as is the case with “Baba yao” and its lackluster performance.

Jua Cali is a very talented guy and it is kinda shocking that he made it this far off one style of rapping and probably beat.

All his songs sound the same in an industry where being adventurous pays off.

I have said that he needs a new sound and he needs it critically if he is going to remain relevant in the industry.

He risks moving from “Baba yao” to “Babu yao”.

He is teetering on the edge of oblivion and it is his sound, lyrics, which once sounded fresh now comes off as dull and uninteresting that will poke him and throw him off the edge.

Even the performances are all the same, he starts with “Watuuuu” and then goes on to tell people to “Weka mkono... peleka mbele, nyuma...”

That used to work in 2008 but not any more, in my opinion.

More than once

Here’s another problem that stalks Jua Cali, thanks to his popularity, he has toured virtually everywhere in Kenya.

From Nairobi to Turkana, Nakuru Loitoktok, Kisii to Busia.

What this means is that, a lot of Kenyans have watched him in concert probably more than once and so if they show up for their third instalment and find him doing the same thing, they will get bored.

Touring is a good thing but Kenyan artistes do it wrong. Now, when you are hot, it is imperative you perform in all the places where you will fetch a lot of money and then, as the hype dies down together with your fee, you start venturing out to the rural areas.

What happens today is a Kenyan artiste will earn Sh150,000 in Nairobi today and tomorrow he will be in Kisii doing a show for Sh20,000.

The problem with this is that when you finally die down, you do that simultaneously.

If you are to do all the concerts, at least demand the same amount. The reason for this is to help you fade out with respect.

You see, if you are hot, the “other” markets will always want you so when you are no longer “hot” you can still go there and earn some good money.

It is this reason that gets artistes from the West who last hit five years ago to come to Kenya and we are all happy to see them.

It’s all about strategy and that is one thing that Jua Cali and his ilk need in gallons.

pmwaniki@ke.nationmedia.com