Reel Fake: To Trend Or Not To Trend?

Few things are as fascinating for me as watching musicians create music It’s not all fun. Nothing is as mundane as listening to a producer trying to find the right kick or snare. Except listening to a rapper who keeps forgetting his own bars. And when they finally get it right, listening to the same song over and over again  This might sound like torture. But musicians are extraordinary. The magic produced when they pay attention to each detail and complete a project is a hundred percent worth it Advertising was creatively challenging for me but in a different way than music is for musicians. There was lots more pressure to produce work and a lot less creative space to do it. In marketing, timelines and brand guidelines take precedence over art. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best creatives in advertising. But being creative in such an environment is an extreme sport. One becomes a robot capable of producing efficient art which is compelling to audiences. But one rarely ever gets the chance to do their art their own way. Which  can be extremely frustrating for an artist  Back to music. The Coast is an ideal home for any record company looking for musicians. The people are historically musical and have a deep love for their culture. Inua Entertainment wants unique musical talent. Musicians who are confident enough to be different. Those who are creative enough to take Kenyan culture to the world instead of the other way around  To achieve this, we want to offer the same opportunities to talented artistes in Kwale County which artistes in cities like Nairobi enjoy. Access to professional audio and video production as well as promotion services  Inua Entertainment created a competition called #MicAndABeat to identify the best rappers in Kwale. We figured we would find at least three rappers we liked out of those who registered for the competition to start with. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We found more than ten, many of who we’ve worked with since The quality of music these rappers produce, both in terms of originality and content is surprising to me. Firstly, because I came to Diani with a misplaced Nairobi mentality which assumed that anything outside Nairobi was substandard and to be looked down the nose at. I have quickly been disabused of this notion, at least where Hip Hop is concerned. Secondly, because these young people are constantly creating music - this is exciting for us because we know how hard it is to find people who are truly passionate about what they do. And it also contradicts the blanket statements which claim that millennials are lazy But most importantly, these guys are bringing clean, positive content back into music. They’re young and they love social media just as much as everybody else. But they want their likes, shares and follows to come the old school way - through what they’re most passionate about - honest, hard-hitting, authentic Hip Hop. They’re confident that their talent is good enough to appeal to everybody, not only their peers. So they write accordingly. And they want to be remembered for the impact they make for posterity. Not for how long they can trend on social media  I grew up with parents who enjoyed music. I still remember Franco, Mbilia Bel, Sam Fan Thomas, Johnny Cleg and many others blaring through the house on Saturday afternoons. I’ve been lucky enough to see music evolving through different generations. I remember how much my parents hated the Hip Hop I listened to. It didn’t qualify as music to them. But anybody who knows me knows how much I appreciate authentic Hip Hop, especially from the 90’s. I learned new words because I picked up a dictionary when Nas rapped. I studied culture because WuTang inspired me to. Later, Reggae would make me challenge myself to be better. My parents raised me but music played a big part in it I absolutely hate new school Hip Hop. But that’s just the cycle. It’s the younger generations’ music, not mine. And nothing makes it any less authentic  What really gets to me, though, is that many young people these days will do anything just to be noticed. They make music that is openly vulgar because that is what trends easily. They’re not creative enough to sell a positive message so they fall back on shock value. The problem with this strategy is that even though it might make one a household name, it severely limits them when it comes to branding partnerships, which are a lucrative opportunity for Kenyan musicians  That’s why I’m excited to be working in close proximity with musicians who are bold enough to go in a different direction. Bold enough to depend on sheer talent and hard work over social media clout. Brave enough to leave something uplifting and elevating for future generations instead of immorality and shallowness.  How will children of the future remember their parents? #InuaEntertainment #DianiBeach #KwaleCounty #MicAndABeat #DianiArtFair

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