Kenya Music Industry: Jua Cali only OG

Genge rapper, Jua Cali wearing a T-shirt bearing his latest album, Tugenge Yajayo

In Kenya, when you mention “OG”, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is Khaligraph Jones. The word OG has become synonymous with the rapper. Most people, including a close friend of mine think that’s his name.

One day while talking about the TV series “Power”, I referred to 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) as an OG — a slang term for someone who’s incredibly exceptional, authentic, or old-school — and my friend was baffled. She was like, “you mean 50 Cent is also called OG?”

But with the way OG is being used nowadays across the globe, with every Tom, Dick and Harry that can hold a mic calling himself one, you would forgive her ignorance.

But is Khaligraph Jones even an OG? He being a hip hop artiste, I thought he would know better. Has he even been in the industry for a decade? How many albums does he have to his name?

Even in the US where the word was coined, it’s used sparingly. Artistes like Kendrick Lamar who are well respected in not only the music industry, and deservedly so, don’t even refer to themselves as OGs because they understand what the word really means. But you would hear them referring to the late Tupac, Notorious BIG, Michael Jackson; veteran artistes such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Ice Cube, Jay Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, TI, just to name a few. And even to other exceptional characters in other fields like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, as OGs.

Back here at home, the only artiste, in my opinion, that deserve that title is Jua Cali and the late E-sir. Their works speak for them. Who doesn’t know Jua Cali? Who has no idea of his contribution in the 254 music industry?

Jua Cali (Paul Julius Nunda) has been here, doing his thing for almost two decades now and managed to remain relevant, and doesn’t appear to be tiring any time soon. He has been consistent, producing hit after hit, making him a household name in the country. He dropped his third album, Tugenge Yajayo in September last year. Show me a Kenyan who doesn’t know The Genge rapper, and I will show you a liar.

Jua Cali has influenced so many many musicians, and even writers like us. So many people look up to to this guy. And with all that achievement, the dude still remains humble. I’ve never heard him call himself OG like some people we know. That’s one characteristic of a real OG. You never hear them call themselves as such, but their works — success — relevance, and time, both combined is what makes them OGs.

So next time think again before you call yourself, or Khaligraph Jones, for that matter, OG. People need to earn that tittle, not to baptize themselves. There’s more to an OG, than just hype and rapping.

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