It’s not uncommon for artistes to take a break from their careers. The reasons are as many and varied as there are people in the industry. Some of them decide to make a comeback to the eminence they once rode on. However, as GEORGE D. MWENDWA examined, the task is proving quite difficult.
We take a look at some of the celebrities who had a moment in their career but flickered out along the way, and no form of exertion has been able to revive them to their previous status.
Many artistes have fallen out of the rap scene, including Jimwat, after a long struggle with alcoholism. After rehabilitation, there was a window for him to come back. He accused the new age rappers of “turning hip hop into Lingala” after he left the game under their watch. This led to Jimwat coming up with a diss track dubbed “Blunder”, aiming shots at King Kaka, whom he allegedly denied a collabo when he was still riding high with hits like “Sitoi Kitu Kidogo” and “Under 18”. The “beef” wasn’t strong enough to get him back into the rap game, especially due to the fact that King Kaka never responded.
After his hit collaboration with Cannibal “My City My Town”, his music career took a hard turn and not even stunts like joining “Nairobi Diaries”, which cut quite well into the ratings, worked for his dwindling career. He was known for pulling some of the most captivating celebrity stunts in Kenya’s music history — like cruising in an expensive fleet, to even landing in major fetes with a chopper. His star, however, dropped and despite releasing major projects like “Hamsa Mia” with Dogo Janja, “Mpaka Chini” alongside Nonini and “Kiberiti” alongside Madini Classic, none has reinstated his former glory.
Nazizi, fondly referred to as the First lady of Kenyan hip hop, had her time since the early noughties. She was part of the eminent Kenyan hip hop and reggae group Necessary Noize. “Bless My Room” hit song will still ring a bell to anyone who at least owned a record player back then. After an ugly divorce that threatened her peace and prominence, not much was heard from her until she tried a comeback with singles like “Love Automatic” and “Cheza Chini” (alongside King Kaka and Wyre). They have not been enough to reinstate the massive brand she once relished.
Hits she made consist of “Tonight”, “Missing my Baby” and “Kiboko Changu” featuring Radio & Weasel, among others, still play in old-school editions. She announced her crossover to gospel music after a long hiatus to reconfigure her compass, citing that she was tired with the life she was living. Things on the gospel side have, however, not been as rosy as it was on the other side. She has only released two singles, “My God” and “Jina Lake Yesu”, which have not received the expected thrill. In a recent interview with Buzz, she conversely indicated that this time round it’s not about the money, the shows or even huge reception.
The “Sweet Love” hit maker in the past won top awards, including a MTV MAMA award. But, unlike her husband Nameless, she has been unable to pull a successful comeback, with many citing reasons of change into a camp she’s less familiar with. She saw the light some years back and, after a long lull, hit the spotlight with gospel music. She has released songs like “Sifa”, “My Everything” and “Nifanane na Wewe” which haven’t been enough to revive her career back to the peak she once graced.
“Manzi Wa Nairobi”, released more than 15 years ago, made a big break for him and neither young nor old could avoid his ecstasy. He proved to be a sensational rapper when he also released “Furahi Day”, “Kadhaa”, “Keroro”, “Mtoto Mzuri”, “Wee Kamu” among many others which rented the airwaves for years. He did the “inconsistency mistake” and his audience might have turned unforgiving, since his comeback has not been as tranquil. Despite investing in expensive videos and even ascending to the position of the Chairman of Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) (which he resigned later), none has worked in his favour. He was recently named by Safaricom as its Creative Brand Ambassador. His music, however, hasn’t cut into the ratings yet.
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The rapper had a good run six years ago with hits like “Sarisari”, “Furifuri” and even featuring Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore and Julie Gichuru in the latter’s remix. He is also referred to as the “Asusu” hit maker. He has pretty much faded from the music scene after that. This isn’t for lack of him trying. He actually released singles like “Kijana wa Kayole”, “Kwa Yesu Sawa” and “First Love” featuring Guardian Angel which never received as much oomph as projected. However, his career lost its stride when he was recently exposed in an ugly sex scandal which he owned up to and admitted that his career has been on its knees due to his lifestyle. Perhaps taking advantage of the moment, he has recently released “Sorry” featuring Bahati but it doesn’t have the same star power appeal and it hasn’t really made waves enough for him to revive his career.
Her massive hit over a decade ago “Kuna Dawa”, when record selling was real business, still rents the air in most local stations to date. She has tried to match up the same with a number of recent releases, rebranding and collaborations which haven’t worked in her favour as much. She features Guardian Angel in her latest release dubbed “Ni Wewe” which isn’t getting much of the expected recognition she has been eyeing.
Juacali had a great run in his time with resounding hits like “Kiasi”, “Bidii Yangu”, “Kwaheri” and “Ngeli Ya Genge” among many others. His career took a downturn when he had a long break, which saw a change of the game and his return had to start with a process of learning all over again. He still remains a sang legend in East Africa but none of his recent moves to make a comeback have worked as big as it was in his heydays. He has recently released “Vile Naskia”, “Saf Sana” and “Najitoa” which haven’t had as much reception as he was accustomed to.
Rose Muhando’s name to date goes as one of the greatest gospel artistes Africa ever had. From selling millions of records to packing stadiums, she had the stardom moment. Rose was unable to keep the hot streak since a lot of allegations, including abortion and signing of deals allegedly against her faith, creeped in. These followed her such that she only had short stints on television shows and she completely veered off the music scene. After that, her personal troubles pretty much took over her career, with claims that she lost all her property and was eventually too broke to afford the very basic needs. Her last stint that went viral online was of her being prayed for by a Kenyan pastor with claims that she was possessed. Despite a few collaborations recently, she has never been able to recapture the same amount of success. Her career is still in questionable territory, cementing the idea that she hasn’t come back just yet.