Hot Takes: KU LO SA Remix, SpotifyKe Brunch , Love Island Returns & More
It shaping up to be an eventful Detty December in pop culture
It shaping up to be an eventful Detty December in pop culture
The year is finally coming to a close and there is no better way to kick off Detty December than to recap the events in pop culture before everything goes gung-ho. As the month is filled with festivities, the celebration is in the air. The month has already started with Morocco breaking the glass ceiling for African football at the World Cup 2022. Morocco being the first Arab country to reach the quarter-finals is a big deal, but I secretly hope for France to win once again.
This week I will be dishing out my Hot Takes on the Spotify KE wrapped event and the massive backlash on influencer culture, because I refuse to believe they ignored inviting artists and chose to handpick influencers. There’s also Love Island South Africa’s comeback which, after last year’s mess, I hope we are going to see a better representation and reflection of a country that is majority black people.
One thing with Kenyan artists is, they are going to release a truckload of music towards the end of the year. 2022 is no different. I guess it’s the partying mood that characterises December. Kenya’s rap trinity Wakadinali recently released the third installation of their ‘Ndani Ya Cockpit’ series. Living up to their name as Kenya’s greatest rap group the project has me in a chokehold. ‘Ndani Ya Cockpit 3: All Grown Up’ is a testament to their effect in Kenya’s Hip Hop industry for more than a decade. Once considered the stars of underground hip-hop, the album features frequent collaborators: Wangechi, HR The Messenger, and long-time producer Ares66.
My favourite part about the project, apart from their unique Hip Hop sound and approach to Drill with songs such as “Balalu,” is how they provide a platform for upcoming underground stars while still working with rap veterans. Unfortunately, some rap fans were disappointed with the third installation of the tape as compared to the previous releases. While some debate on the context of their songs, I highly insist the group can’t sound the same as they did five years ago. They literally have nothing to prove anymore, they are the cardinals of Hip Hop and that’s on period.
As usual, I am dabbling between a million K-Dramas, animations, animes, and YouTube shows. What’s currently been grabbing my grabbing my attention is Netflix’s adult animation ‘Inside Job.’ If you love animations, then this should be on your watchlist. Circling around the life of socially awkward Reagan working at Cognito.Inc who also happens to be a genius, the show brings to life controversial conspiracy theories that are often debated in real life. The gist of the show has to be her dysfunctional workmates who are either doing drugs, getting in trouble, or placing a bet on Reagan’s love life. As much as it’s animated, you still get grounded in reality. Apart from that, I am rewatching the British version of ‘Skins’ and ‘Shameless’
While Kenya’s music industry has been struggling for popularity within the region, Spotify’s entrance into East Africa’s ecosystem might have improved consumption of local content but it doesn’t change the fact Kenyan artists still struggle for recognition. Over the weekend, the streaming platform held the #SpotifyWrappedKe brunch that was meant to celebrate the artists’ work over the year looking back at what songs, artists, albums, and playlists people listened to throughout the year. Sauti Sol, Wakadinali and Buruklyn Boyz boasted accumulating the most streams in 2022. The event was well attended with the theme being dress as your favourite artists. While the brunch was adorned with appearances from A-List artists, it didn’t take time to notice that more influencers rather than artists were in attendance.
The brunch was filled with pomp and artistic aesthetic, it was soon revealed that artists and fans weren’t pleased with the guest list, sparking a debate on Twitter. While most questioned the necessity of inviting influencers, artists echoed the constant ignorance from the platforms in terms of streaming revenue and support as compared to platforms such as Mdundo and Boomplay. It got to the point where fans demanded a boycott of using Spotify. Firstly, needless to say, Spotify Kenya has offered continuous support in the country as compared to other streaming platforms. Compared to previous years there was a 184 percent year-on-year increase in consumption of local music from 2022, an encouraging figure that shows that Kenyans do stream local music. Apart from that Spotify launched various programs such as RADAR and Equal which have seen Kenyan artists: Buruklyn Boyz, Nikita Kering’ and Ssaru grace the coveted covers.
I think what Kenyans should mostly concentrate on is the long-term effect the streaming platform is willing to offer and the continuous support it has offered in pushing Kenyan artists internationally. It is tiring to engage in conversations without prior knowledge of what goes on in the industry and highlight minute problems without offering any solutions. Inviting influencers to the brunch was an incredible marketing move expanding the platform to the creators and their fans and building an ecosystem between artists, creators, and listeners. In any case, let’s be honest, most people hear some songs from the influencers’ TikTok, Reels, and vlogs.
So this past weekend @SpotifyAfrica Kenyan Division(formerly Spotify Kenya) had a #SpotifyWrapped event and they chose to invite just popular people.Where were the artists,label heads,producers etc
The culture of the same 10 content creators working with every brand is shallow!
— Oontz Master (@OneDownLIVE) December 5, 2022
It might seem that Love Island 2022 just ended but Season 9 is weeks away with the premier date being set for 16th January. The announcement which was made on Twitter sparked excitement with its fans eagerly awaiting for the contestants rebeal. Hosted by celebrated entertainment journalist Maya Jama, who is replacing long-time host Laura Whitmore, the series will take place in South Africa and we are ready for new bombshells. The raunchy singletons will be headed to a brand-new villa in heart of the Franschhoek wine valley. This is the second winter series after Paige Turley and Finley Tap won. This year fans will have a double cup enjoyment as there will be two seasons of the show.
While the show is a fan favourite, it received major backlash back in 2021 after failing to represent the diversity of South Africa by selecting too few black contestants. The opening line-up featured just one Black female contestant and only two other Black men. In a country that is 80 percent black, the cast was a disappointment. The winter series has not aired for three years so we definitely expect more improvement in terms of race romance, bromances, and everything.
In this day and age skin colour has become a bigger pandemic than it was before with beauty standards being judged not only online but also in our day-to-day activities. As the show is highly acclaimed, we only hope the directors realise that it is a mirror of the society we live in and the prejudice black people undergo in the entertainment sector and other fields. While the issue might look minute, it is a very big problem especially since South Africa has a tragic history of racism and xenophobia.
— sᴜᴘᴇʀ ᴛᴠ (@superTV247) December 5, 2022
(Written by Nwanneamaka Igwe)
In recent years, the proliferation of Nigerian pop—or Afrobeats, for international purposes—has been unimaginable. With every release, its key players are incessantly redefining the status quo and peeling off all labels as a significant number of tracks garner attention and generate a followership beyond home base. In the usual American fashion of tapping into what’s hot, a slew of big names in the music industry, now more than ever, are seen featuring on the biggest songs emanating from these parts.
From the African perspective, these collaborations push their songs to an audience they may not have imagined reaching. This should enable them to gather even higher streaming numbers and from the business perspective, there is no harm in the move. While a part of me understands that, we have to at least draw the line somewhere. Off the top of my head, the most significant collaboration was from Justin Bieber on the Tems-assisted “Essence” off Wizkid’s ‘Made In Lagos.’ I, like a number of people, was not a fan of that feature. The original song was perfect as is but the feature undeniably drew more attention to the original, so I guess that could slide.
That single decision from Wizkid widened the floodgates we cannot seem to close. Before anyone realised what was going on, Ed Sheeran was on the remix of Fireboy DML’s “Peru.” Like the aforementioned case, the original -going off the numbers I’m seeing on my Spotify’s stats- still did better than the remix. However, we also got Selena Gomez on Rema’s “Calm Down” and Ed Sheeran once again on “For My Hand” off Burna Boy’s ‘Love, Damini’—which is not a remix, but still.
While I’m not a fan of the current pandemic of international features on Afropop hits and I personally do not engage with these songs, I guess I can let it slide? What I cannot stand is a feature from a musician who’s openly shared racist expressions on “KU LO SA,” undeniably the song of the summer 2022 in these parts. Scrolling through my timeline this morning and seeing that video, I had hoped I was dreaming. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Aside from the fact that these sonic pairings are unimpressive, a racist like Camilla Cabello on “KU LO SA” remix—slated for release this Friday—is jarring to say the least. Coming from the currently dissolved pop group, Fifth Harmony, her former bandmate, Normani, shared from personal experience that Camilla was a racist after some racist slurs and derogatory memes resurfaced.
Added to this, Camilla is not necessarily topping any charts in recent times so why would Oxlade tap her, of all people, for this remix remains a mystery. If the intention was to enable the track crossover to Camilla’s audience, I question the decision because I strongly believe you are who you listen to. Goes without saying that her audience should not be the target. The conversation is exhausting because it’s like we’re just letting ANYONE into our home and it’s not a pleasant sight/sound.
— The NATIVE (@NativeMag) December 8, 2022
Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE