“The streets have made me everything I am (not).” Gospel Gangstaz.

It was Symo who introduced me to rap. Christian rap to be specific. I was a soft-ass nigga tryna croon like Boyz 2 Men ‘cause big bro had the Evolution tape. I was a sentimental sucker for Uncle Sam, The Isley Brothers, Jagged Edge, Dru Hill (Sisqo was thuggish in the crew) and I wanted to sing like Wanya of Boyz 2 Men. That was the era of the blues. The dubstep shit niggaz do nowadays don’t relate to me.

I and E2K, another homey from the projects, did our first R&B joint. We took lemon, hot water and shit. Practiced all night. We was like fuck the neighbours, man. We gonna be the shit in this industry. Very few cats were doing R&B back then. I think Didge was coming up. “Kitangoma” remains a classic. Didge (he looks like Donell Jones and and Musiqsoulchild and Bobby V combined), the best Neo-Soul brother there ever was ‘fore Anto Neosoul hit the scene. What happens to good talent? Poor marketing or what? Where is Sage? Harry Kimani? You see, Neo Soul to me is the mellow jazzy version of Hiphop. We need more of those…

So I and Kevo (E2K), we copped Bobby Valentino’s hook and we recorded the joint at Filo’s sitting room. He hadn’t opened a studio then. That was the whackest thing a homey ever did! We quit. My boy E2K was a hustler for real. He had a Kinyozi and a ‘Simu ya Jamii’ booth by the road. We was like brothers. We beefed over chicks. That reminds me of K-Sly. The best ghetto queen I ever boned. Our break-up was so tragic, it was in the news. I have done bad things. She forgave a nigga and 4 years later, she wanted a nigga back. The Stockholm Syndrome. They love those who hurt them. But then, you grow up and you view things differently. So I said no. These are the stories I and Kev reminisce about on some Sundays. He now walks around with some prescriptions (some pop pills he says make him relax. Meth? Coke? Dunno, don’ care.), miraa and weed on occasion. We used to hang at his Barbershop and kick politics before it got burnt down during the 2007 bullshit. In fact I wrote a simple ode way back…

Kevo’s Barbershop

We called it “Base”
Or “Technical Bench”
When Snoop Dogg came with his “shizzle” slang,
We re-named it “Technicle Bizzle”

We used to chill here
Me, Kevo, Pita, Jangle, Jeff, Jamboree and Matumbai
We had no jobs
So we talked politics, hiphop, football and women
Not necessarily in that order.

Me and Kevo read Sydney Sheldon, Dan Brown and John Grisham novels
Pita was this hunch-back with a wild sense of humor
That would embarrass Churchill Live’s boring ‘mchongwanos’
Matumbai, being older, told us a wife material chick
Shouldn’t wear miniskirts or red lipstick
She should wear a gown so that when she undresses for you
There’s something to miss and kiss.

Jeff liked Kuber a lot
So he was high all the time
Opposite the Kinyozi was Jackcity Movie
Where they showed porn every evening from 8 to 9 pm…

Back to Symo. Symo joined me in high school. I was impressed by his flow. Had exercise book fulla rhymes. I and Jemo (he called his-self James B back then, before he knocked his girl up, joined G4S, and quit music. But we did a couple of joints with Dr. Eddy before Daddy Owen with that ‘Kerero’ hit made him famous.) were the blues kids back then. All that changed when we listened to Tupac. I don’t exactly know what Pac did with his music. You didn’t listen to him and stay the same. You either wanted to rap like him or become rebellious. If he had been a Tanzanian singer, I would swear his music went through some ritual by a “mganga maarufu kutoka Zanzibar” to hypnotize the people. I don’t buy that witchcraft BS, though. Good music is infectious. Pac’s music just coincided with the Black revolution. Now Blacks have a ‘black’ president, 50 cent wants to feed 1 billion Africans by 2016, Jay Z rides an 8- million-dollar car, our very own Octo is getting shows in Berlin, who needs anti-White ghetto-ish music anymore? Fuck you if your mind be like, “enyewe”. Nothing has changed…

Anyways, with Symo, whom we christened Kidungi after that Wenyeji joint, we started kicking raps. Bangin’ beats on desks and shit. Chingy was there and he was doing some drugs. He showed off some pills when other boys were puffing cheap joints and imbibing sachets of some cheap spirits. He later succumbed to the drugs at age 16. We mourned. We smoked his ashes to ashes. His mama was sad.

This post is not about Hiphop. Strictly for homies I grew up with. Dead or alive. Another homey I lost was my cousin called Richard. Mom used to call him Monday. He came to the hood from ocha to hustle and he was slanging women wigs from town to town. Used to make good cash. He said fuck college and got married. A day later, after visiting his place at South B, I was told the following Monday morning that he died in a road accident on his way to hustle. They buried him without his head. I didn’t attend his funeral. His mama hates me to date. She couldn’t understand. I don’t look at dead bodies. We used to share a room when he came to Eldy.

I miss that nigga. I might smoke one for his ashes to ashes today. Might as well holla at Kev.