Gengetone Music is an evolution of different sounds in Kenya. It is a mixture of genge, ghapuka and more sound all formed to represent the modern digital youth. Gengetone has experienced its fair share in the music industry in Kenya. The rise and fall of Gengetone artists is has largely affected the genre. We have seen famous artists split and part ways due to the shaky gengetone industry. But some are still pushing and still believe Gengetone is here to stay. In this article, we analyse the rise and fall of Gengetone.
The Rise and Fall of Gengetone in Kenya
What is Gengetone Music?
Gengetone or Gengeton is a sub-genre of Genge Music and Kapuka music or Boomba music in East Africa, specifically Kenya. It is a Kenyan sound created in 2018, pioneered by legendary artists such as Juacali, Mejja and the new generation artists such as Ethic Entertainment, Sailors, Mbogi Genje, Ochungulo Family and Boondocks Gang to name but a few.
Gengetone artists, music and business
Now we analyse the wide and broad view of how Gengetone has helped artists, musicians and the business aspect of the genre.
Gengetone Artists – Rise
Gengetone artists comprises of young Kenyan artists who believe in their talent and can create something worth listening. Since 2018, we have seen the rise of underground artists who have changed the Gengetone Sounds and even attracted international investors.
Gengetone stars such as Ethic Entertainment started their musical career in 2018, they never knew if they would blow up with their debut song “Lamba Lolo” and be the pioneers of gengetone music. They are considered the godfather of Gengetone Music. When Lamba Lolo was released it was a hit song in the first week.
Gengetone Music – Rise
Gengetone recognized internationally. Recently, streaming platforms such as Spotify and Boomplay music have created a playlists just to recognize the Gengetone sound. The playlists have amassed thousands of listeners worldwide.
Tiktok has also helped push the Gengetone music beyond boundaries. Tiktok challenges are now the way to go, artists create challenges to help push their music. Gengetone artists are now trending on the platform thanks to the Tiktok algorithms. In 2020, songs such as “Utawezana” by Femi One featuring Mejja were trending on the platform. Also in the same year “Bad Manners” Gwaash and K4 Kanali took the top spot. Come forward 2021, Exray, Trio Mio and Ssaru have beaten all odds to make sure gengetone still rules with their new song “Sipagwingi”.
Gengetone Business – Rise
Record labels such as Black Market Africa, have fully established studios to sign and support Gengetone artists and help them grow career wise. Gengetone as an industry has also provided a livelihood to thousands of people. We have producers, artists, vixens and dancers to mention but a few. All the stakeholders involved help push the industry thus growing.
Black Market Records Artists in Kenya
Artists signed under Black Market Africa in Kenya include; Boondocks Gang, Swat of Ethic Entertainment, Mbuzi Gang, Sailors Gang and more
Artists such as Khaligraph Jones, Breeder LW Ndovu Kuu, Arrow Bwoy and KRG the Don currently own studios and they have collaborated with other Gengetone artists to release hit songs. Artists can make money through collaborations, streaming platforms, shows and concerts, promos and many other avenues that come with the music they create. Good music sells.
Digital Rights & music distribution
We have seen new digital content distributors set at the wake of Gengetone music. Home grown companies such as Ngomma V.A.S. Limited and Dapstrem Entertainment have been very helpful in music distribution. Independent artists can now be able to get their music on all digital platforms.
The Fall of Gengetone Music
The fall of Gengetone music has been atrributed by very many challenges. However we can say despite, the challenges Gengetone music is still alive. Gengetone fall started in 2018 through 2019 to 2020 when it was first mentioned gengetone is dead. When the topic ‘Death of Gengetone’ arises many blame the 2020 pandemic while others blame the artists, while others blame the industry itself. It is a mixture o of many things combined. Lets have a look and try analyse the fall of Gengetone.
Many people still feel that the Gengetone music is short-lived due to the vulgar language in the lyrics. Ethic Artist forced to pull down their songs from Youtube is one example. In 2019, Ethic Entertainment had to pull down some of their songs such as “Tarimbo” and “Soko”. Also, due to the vulgar language in Gengetone lyrics, songs receive low airplay on radio stations and TVs.
Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB)
Many blame KFCB for bringing down a thriving industry. The setbacks demotivated artists to release songs due to the fear of their fate. As they say music is an expression and a reflection of the society. KFCB banning Gengetone songs created a hard environment for the industry to grow.
Split of Gengetone artists – Fall
It is romoured Gengetone artists going separate ways has slowly made gengetone to fall. Artists such as Ochungulo Family splitting was trending. The Kansoul going separate ways. Ethic entertainment going solo and also Sailors Gang breaking up. All this combined has made the gengetone hype to slow down. When underground artists see things like this happen, they are demotivated.
Money & Revenue – Fall
As they say, money is the root of all evils; we can say money largely affect the release of songs and music videos. On the other hand money has brought feuds among the artists and their managements. For example; Mwalimu Rachael and Sailors case. Also Gengetone artist Ssaru had her fare share with her former management. Trio Mio with his manager also and many more.
Gengetone rise and fall is all an ideology. Good music sells and there is no bad songs. It all depends with the listener and how the music makes you feel. After all music is the food to the soul. Whether you love gengetone or another genre music unites people. Lets spread the love and unity through music.