Khaligraph Jones, aka Brian Ouko Omollo, aka Ndugu Omollo is arguably the best hip hop artist in Kenya today, pulping every rival to mashed potatoes, but it is only recently that he is beginning to find his strength, and is slowly climbing the steps to his rightful place.
He used to be the best rapper, a battling firespitter, a thousand rhymes per minute, he still is, but that is technique and nothing else, it is only now that he is becoming the hip hop artist, an enviable storyteller, and you don’t have to look far to see.
It has been said before that the mark of a good rapper is the ability to string words together into captivating rhymes, but the mark of a great one is the ability to weave those rhymes into stunning narratives that grip and maintain the listener’s attention through the end of the song. The best hip hop artist is the best storyteller. All legendary hip hop artists are legendary storyteller.
Khaligraph’s versatility is allowing him to walk up those stairs. Chali ya Ghetto was dope, Gaza, targeting Nairobi’s notorious criminal gang – Gaza, released from his Blu Ink Corp, is more. Most rappers would just rage against the beat to pass over a message of “stop the gang violence”, but Khali uses juxtaposition.
The song is a dialogue between two people – a living gang member and a deceased one, with the threat of Hessy – Nairobi’s super cop, in the middle. The living gang member, as most are wont to be, is steeped in anger, crime and violence, spewing threats at Hessy for cutting down the gang friend, and vowing revenge.
But the dead know better. And in slow, introspective storytelling, the dead gang member feeds him with a sober, down-to-earth advice to get off that nonsense ama akule copper. Form ni kureform as Virusi Mbaya Kibera would say.
Great song and great production! This is international. Good job ndugu Omollo.