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Kenyan music videos that stood out

Features
 Nyashinski's Properly video ft Femi One. (Courtesy)

Xbenjoes Kenya says many artistes bash the Nigerian invasion but love and envy their output behind the scenes. Xbenjoes Kenya is a gospel artiste and videographer who has directed hits including Nyongwa, Double Tap, and Irema, 

“This year, what I have seen more is artistes asking for videos that are similar or close to what Nigerian artistes are doing in terms of colour, costume, and set design,” said the man who has dropped an eight-song EP, Thankful.

“Some are going beyond copy-pasting the style 100 per cent!”

Who can blame such artistes, when videos from Nigerian musicians are raking in millions of views globally, and taking over the music scene and international charts?

“The other trend I have seen is artistes trying to make videos with dance choreography with the hope that it will trend and pick up on TikTok,” he said.

This year, we have seen dance videos, watched stories unfold, cried with some artistes, and partied to bangers. Here are pop and rap videos that caught our attention.

Inaweza Haiwezi - Blinky Bill x M.anifest x Khaligraph Jones

The most recent of all entrants, this video explores themes that were popular in the 70s and 80s, especially in film, advertising, and print industries - flowery fonts, bold magazine covers, dark tones, bright colours, and Afrocentric models.

The video is a Just A Band story that could only be said best in the supers used, with albums, Eps, songs, and the titles coming it to make the viewer reminisce about a time past.

The director, Zack Adell, synchronises every scene to its different feel and story, playing on different styles to make the video a film worth your time, especially for auteurs. It is like a music documentary that has been speeded up and features bios, quotes, side notes and lions that roar. Brilliance.

Oversize T-shirt - Matata X Sauti Sol 

Put together Mix Matata’s signature choreographed dance and on-point scene sequence, and Sauti Sol’s experience with vintage themes, and you have a beauty of a video.

Each artiste’s scene blendinto the theme, and into another’s scene seamlessly. It is a director’s nightmare but a viewers’ gem, the video eye-catching from the first scene to the last. 

Kanairo Dating - Mejja 

When one says ‘nimejionea mambo’ in their dating history in this city, this is it. And that is what Mejja knows well, to make the viewer see themselves in his stories.

Directed and shot by 2019 PMVA winner Ricky Bekko, the artistes and videographer cover the full dating experience, with ‘toxic’ girlfriend, those with baby daddy drama, some with weird sexual habits, controlling baes, kienyeji, cheaters and the likes.

According to Bekko, who is Mejja’s regular collaborator, “Mejja writes his song with the story in mind. So h will come to me with an idea about how to approach the video, and I will add a few things to the execution.”

Tom Mboya - Octopizzo 

Dropped on the 53rd anniversary of the great politician and intellect’s assassination, the video is a concoction of Mboya’s speeches, press clippings, colonial footage of marching cops; demonstration in the early years, and Octo putting himself in Mboya’s moments.

It is a celebration of pan-Africanism and features other great politicians and leaders like Milton Obote, Julius Nyerere, Wangari Mathai, Nelson Mandela. It is a conscious, beautiful video to watch.

He raps ‘Minister of justice hakuwia pata haki’ to highlight the never-ending struggle we are in, with the iconic Wimbo wa Historia, written by Enock Ondego, making up the music bed. One thing Number 8 never jokes about is his visuals.

He is always about memorable scenes, whether he is in a summer cabin somewhere in the US, or on the streets of a European city.

Properly – Femi One x Nyanshinski

A video you cannot take your eyes away from. The choreography was on point, the location appropriate for the theme, and the lighting, reflectors and wardrobe were properly thought of. And the two artistes did not hog the exhilarating dancing and camera movements.

They were okay with being extras in their video. A different approach but right for the clubs.

Usiniharibie Mood - Mejja 

Makes two in this list because Mtoto wa Khadija is all about storytelling. The views on his videos (4.4 million for this one), is a testament of an artiste who knows what we want.

According to the Calif ethos, rap the way you speak. And it cuts across to the visuals, which complement what is being said. It is hilarious, true, relatable and easy to understand.

Woman - Otile Brown X Harmonize 

A visual masterpiece from Hanscana, the video is about beautiful women. But we zero in on one who is the centre of attraction for both artistes.

They come to her home separately, but their intentions are different. Besides that story, the video is grounded on rich African colours, beautiful rural landscapes and locations, and the marrying of all of that with modernity; fast cars, grand homes and current fashion styles.

The song qualifies as one of the best from the region this year, and the way they describe a woman is just too flashy.

Mi Amor - Marioo X Jovial

With 20 million views on YouTube, it is safe to say this could be Jovial’s biggest song. 

A consistent singer with the verve and sexiness that makes her more photogenic than others, Jovial went toe to toe with one of East Africa’s hottest singers, and come out smelling of flowers.

Featuring bongo’s rapper, singer, record producer and label honcho Quick Rocka as her love interest, the banger is for the clubs, the radio, your playlist, and on the wedding show.

Friday Feeling - Chimano 

This soul train-themed video will go down as one if not, the boldest videos ever made in the 254.

The cast was selected for obvious reasons, and the boldness in colour tones, wardrobe, make-up and props is a celebration of being bold with life and love choices. 

The beauty of the video, putting the beautiful choreography to the side, is the happiness and joy everyone, including the extras, exudes. It was like a private house party where the guests were sent a password for the door. 

Living Legends – Fena X Xeniah Mannaseh

High tea, a house party, a space with vinyl and awards on the walls, matatu culture, pretty boys and thick ladies, the video is a snapshot of urbane, artsy Nairobi.

The two are celebrating the legends that have walked before them, with posters of BIG and the likes as the establishing shot.

The colour grading and texture are so fine, you can almost touch them. Xeniah looks chic in front of a flower hedge, Fena at home on top of a matatu, the two artistes contrasting their approaches.

Oh yah - Nikita Kering

A PMVA and Afrima winner, this video places Nikita on a different level from many of her contemporaries, especially at such a young age. She looks mature, and quite experienced in love, to be able to walk away from it.

The video is dramatic, eerie, and bold, especially in a culture where deaths are revered. She is deathly dressed, and besides a sleek Mercedes, there is nothing else to distract you from the mini-movie.

Add the well-executed ad-libs, and the song keeps ringing in your head hours after you are done watching it. Amazing.

Nyako - Rosa x Japesa

The video had depth, structure, a singular theme, and an appreciation for the African culture. In fact, the whole song is an African vibe, with instrumentation that blends modern sounds with traditional beats.

The video is beautiful, with beautiful black people full of aura, confidence, and awareness. Clearly an actress, Rosa grabs the viewer with every reaction from her captivating face, every emotion visible.

She incorporates real traditional dancers (Kagan Traditional Dancers) to give the dholuo jam authenticity. Different.

Popstar - Vera Sidika

No video in 2022 dropped with so much hype than this one, simply because she had fooled everyone into believing she had lost her most prized ‘asset'.

Whether the video live to the hype is another matter, but she got everyone interested in seeing what she was rapping about.

Well, it turned out it was all about Gucci, Prada, Range Rovers, and other popstar items in her popstar life. The rapping was not something to write home about, but the video oozed debauchery. 

Living Legends – Fena X Xeniah Mannaseh

High tea, a house party, a space with vinyl and awards on the walls, matatu culture, pretty boys and thick ladies, the video is a snapshot of urbane, artsy Nairobi.

The two are smelling their flowers while they can, while celebrating the legends that have walked before them, with posters of BIG and the likes as the establishing shot. The colour grading and texture are so fine, you can almost touch them.

Xeniah looks chic in front of a flowering hedge, Fena at home on top of a matatu, the two artistes contrasting their approaches.

Oh yah - Nikita Kering

A PMVA and Afrima winner, this video places Nikita on a different level from many of her contemporaries, especially at such a young age. She looks mature, and quite experienced in love, to be able to walk away from it.

The video is dramatic, eerie and bold, especially in a culture where deaths are revered. She is deathly dressed, and besides a sleek Mercedes, there is nothing else to distract you from the mini-movie. 

Add in the well-executed ad-libs, and the song keeps ringing hours after you are done watching it. Amazing.

Nyako - Rosa x Japesa

The video had depth, structure, a singular theme and an appreciation for the African culture. The whole song is an African vibe, with instrumentation that blends modern sounds with traditional beats. 

The video is beautiful, with beautiful black people full of aura, confidence and awareness. An actress, Rosa grabs the viewer with every reaction from her captivating face, every emotion visible.

She incorporates real traditional dancers (Kagan Traditional Dancers) to give the Dholuo jam authenticity. Different.

Popstar - Vera Sidika

No video in 2022 dropped with so much hype than this one, simply because she had fooled everyone into believing she had lost her most prized ‘asset'.

Whether the video lived up to the hype is another matter, but she got everyone interested in seeing what she was rapping about. Well, it turned out it was all about Gucci, Prada, Range Rovers and other popstar items in her popstar life. The rapping was not something to write home about, but the video oozed debauchery. And that is her brand. 

 

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