Only Nairobi’s true Hip Hop heads know that Nairobi’s Hip Hop Rapsody has been around for almost 2 years now. It is therefore not surprising that many only got to know that there is a weekly Hip Hop event when they heard of Talib Kweli’s Kenya concert.
The weekly event which started in May 2013 at Choices on Baricho Road to its current venue- Ebony Lounge, has been playing host to different Hip Hop Djs in a bid to change the mis-conceptions that a lot of Kenyans have had about this Genre of music.
Building a community and changing perceptions is no easy task and Buddha Blaze the brains behind the concept is no stranger to Hip Hop or its promotion. I got to meet and work with a lot with him during WAPI (Words And Pictures) early days at the British Council grounds as we were both making our names in our different fields. It was interesting to note that most of the artists who started off on the same platform still work with him to this day. Djs such as DJ Zaq and Hip Hop Mcs such as Big Mic, Octopizzo, Point Blank are some of the notable names that I shared a stage with.
The success that was Talib’s concert was in many ways not just validation to Blaze that he was on the right track in his quest to wean Kenyans into Hip Hop, create and environment where Hip Hop fans can comfortably enjoy the music but it also marked a turning point for the event which is now getting people to sit up and listen.
The concert which was meant to be just an small intimate session between Talib Kweli and Hip Hop fans who frequent the place every Thursday became bigger than Blaze and his team had anticipated with many fans of Talib showing up at the door willing to cough up double the amount online tickets were going for. The media was not left out of this frenzy, something that caused a bit of tension between the organiser and some journalists who wanted media passes to carry out video coverage.
The nature of Rapsody, building a community and fan base. changing perceptions on who can enjoy the music and that artists can make money doing it.
Without even realizing it, Talib Kweli has became rapsody’s biggest ambassador. It is because of him that we can even dare dream of seeing equally famous Hip Hop artists such as Mos Def or Common to mention a few, who hopefully, might grace the event.
The future for Nairobi Hip Hop Rapsody and Hip Hop in Kenya is aiming for the stars and Talib Kweli’s concert was a glimpse of great things to come.