In Kenya, as far as music goes, there is some good, some bad and then there is Prezzo’s music. I have been a religious viewer of these music videos and come up with a simple formula that has catapulted many into the spotlight as they seek their fifteen minutes of fame. It is a fool proof way of getting your piece of the Kenyan pie that either involves being the president or ruling the airwaves.
The first step is to get a quirky name. It should be something catchy or stupid that people will remember forever. You can’t survive this industry without a name unless you are Nameless who seems to be doing pretty well. Or if you can’t come up with one, just copy someone else’s. I heard we have a Kenyan Beyonce, Avril and those two idiots who are fighting over the name Czars. Or just go with something with Big or Lil’ to precede your name. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the size to back up that name.
The next step is to come with a nice song. Being Kenyan, it doesn’t really matter what the song is about. But tradition implies that we sing about how we are in a jam, in a club, or hitting on a girl. The beat isn’t important as long as the words rhyme. We can sing along to most Kenyan songs because the next word is so easy to predict. ‘‘Niko kwa club/ama ilikuwa pub?/hatukuwa na time/namadem walikuwa wafine.” I just did that with my eyes closed. Give it the right hook and you have a chart buster that will be played over and over on stations that depress us ‘because life is hard enough’.
Here comes the most important step. The video. Without it, you are nothing. No one will call you a celeb, the tabloids won’t make fun of you and your sister won’t make you a facebook fan page. Here you can go two ways. One is to borrow people’s cars, houses and pools and make it look like you own them. The other is to get your computer-geek friend to add background graphics so you don’t have to beg or borrow. Be smart though. Don’t shoot in front of strangers’ cars. You’ll get sued as some people have learnt the hard way.
Either way, invite all the girls from the estate and eliminate the ones who can’t vibrate their rumps. Of course that’s the whole point of the video. If you can get an Asian or white girl then half the battle is won. In fact it will be an instant hit. Kenyans apparently love some light meat. Ask Redsan.
It’s an extra bonus if you get the wardrobe right. The chains, baggy pants and occasionally flashed cell phone should be able to tell how you grew up on the mean streets of Kileleshwa and how you had to hustle(From your parents). Get some big and rough friends of yours to look like your body guards. Choreography isn’t really a big deal. There will be a few dance moves and if ever in doubt you can just look past the camera to the director for your next move.
The final step is to just completely change your attitude and personality in wait for the big explosion. If you can, constantly repeat to people about how you are a ‘gangsta’ and how you have been an underground musician for years. Drop a lot of names. It’s ok. No one will bother to confirm. Tell people how your music has already exploded somewhere in a Zambian village but forget to tell them that your demo tape there by mistake. An accent is last and you are set. There is your stage. Your fifteen minutes started fourteen and a half minutes ago.