I just watched the Hip Hop Colony movie by Kenyan director Michael Wanguhu at the Filmfest DC this past weekend. It was a winner of two awards at the H2O(Hip Hop Odyssey) festival in NYC including others. It is good to see that the Kenyan arts scene is beginning to thrive and our pool of artistic talent is being exposed internationally. I must say the film was quite well done, although I feel the visuals were quite poor, but I guess that has to do with budget as video equipment is not cheap. All together it gave a good presentation of the rise of hip hop in Kenya and how it has impacted the country. There was also an interesting aspect in it as to how the commercial music has taken over Kenyan hip hop similar to what happened in U.S.
The artists represented adequately covered the spectrum of urban artists in Kenya and included Nazizi, Kalamashaka, Hardstone, Prezzo and others like Ogopa DJs. I think a tribute to E-Sir should also hav been included as he was one of the better rappers. Bamboo and Harry Kimani were the definite stars of the film as they displayed a natural talent and I would hope the film would give them more exposure to major labels. Nanoma also diplayed his Twista like rapid lyrics.
The film got a good round of applause after the show and I got the feeling that people genuinely liked it as it showed that Africa and Kenya in particular are not just one sided, basket cases but have intelligent people with talent and potential. I think tedd Josiah's quote summed it up. "Kenya is not just about lions, giraffes and fast running men,...it's also about studios and hip hop!"
It was a last minute decision to go and see and I think it was well worth the money. If you have not seen it, I would recommend doing so if you are interested in the Kenyan music scene.
You can find out information on it by visiting. www.hiphopcolony.com
WARNING: It contains scenes foul language and sexually suggestive themes, so be advised.