Yesterday we celebrated the life of one of the best rappers Kenya has ever produced. And believe me you, most of us didn’t live at his time but he speaks to us through his music. To those who did live during his time, his memories bring back memories of other artistes who the local industry has lost over the years. Let’s revisit a few.
1. E-Sir Mmari.
Like we said, he is arguably the best rapper Kenya has ever produced. Ever seen a lad whom people don’t argue about his prowess? I mean, everybody who listens to Esir agrees that he was dope. On 15th March 2003, Esir spent the night at his place in the company of his buddies like Big Pin. That night he told them that regardless of their religious affiliations, they needed to go to church, or mosque. The following day he had a show in Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium together with his BFF. On their way back to Nairobi, they caught the glimpse of Lake Elmentaita and, according to Nameless, they took a second to look at it and that was the last conversation they had. The car went off the road and when the driver tried to have it back on track, it rolled. E-sir was no more.
On the same year that the industry had lost Esir, another tragedy struck. Another rapper, K-rupt, who had shot to fame after success of his hits Tukawake, Chacha and Bamba, was shot dead. The rapper was traveling from Nakuru to Nanyuki where he had a show. On reaching Karuga, about seven Kilometres from Nakuru, carjackers told the driver to stop the vehicle. That’s when K-rupt rose and began arguing with them, sure that what they had was a toy-gun. To prove to him that it wasn’t a toy gun they had, they shot at him and ended his life with just one bullet, before dumping his body at Laikipia Forest. He died on the 24th of November 2003 aged 24. Prior to his music stint, he’d been a presenter at Nation FM.
3. Lady S.
Sharon Wangwe was one of the greatest female rappers during her time. With the likes of Choku and Rat-a-tat, she formed a formidable ‘Calif Angels’. Some of her greatest hits were Ukimwona featuring Pilipili which put her at the top of her game. She was the sole breadwinner of her family having lost her dad when she was 17. On Monday 3rd November 2007, Lady S was involved in a road accident along Thika road and died on the spot. She had been preparing for her upcoming international tour, which never came to happen.
4. Mighty King Kong
Paul Imbaya was a reggae artiste who wowed many with his hype and strong music. What made him stand out was the disability he had after suffering severe polio at an early age. Despite the disability, his performances were strong and his songs were loved in Kenya and beyond. He had performed in Uganda, South Africa, Germany and Netherlands. Mighty too was a political man. He was an ardent supporter of ODM and the party had promised to nominate him to parliament after 2007 General Election to represent the disabled. Sadly, on the Christmas Eve Mighty King Kong succumbed to what local media said was poisoning. It being a political year, it made lots of sense, with political animosities especially since he used to adorn Orange colors to show his commitment to ODM.
5. Drygin na Fracaz.
Songs have been done about one of the greatest football team rivalries in the world, but none on Kenyan soil has ever matched ‘Kati ya Man U na Arsenali’. None. The whereabout of these two’s deaths still remain a mystery. It’s said that Drygin died out of drug abuse while the latter engaged in a fight and was killed.
6. Angela Chibalonza.
Angela shall always be remembered for her worship songs and other great hits. Her music cut across all ages. The congolese-born singer used to fuse Kiswahili and her venacular so well, and we sang along. Then one morning at Kinale on the Naivasha-Nairobi highway while returning to Nairobi from a performance at Egerton University in Njoro, she was involved in a road accident that brought her life to an end. On that day, 22nd of September 2008, their car rammed into a lorry and she died alongside her driver-cum-vocalist Nimrod Makori.