Confession: I am a music junkie. I like music. Always have. I started way back when I was child, in the early 90s. We had this National Panasonic radio that used five EverReady batteries. The yellow ones were stronger than the maroon ones. I did a lot of things with that radio, including tuning it past the recommended bandwidth, essentially snapping the tuning code. That often earned me some thorough beating from my mother (bless her soul).
I have always enjoyed the arts. Music and good stories. Every weekend on Saturday, from 10.00-12.00pm. I enjoyed listening to KBC’s Nick Okanga Naftali’s Salaam za Weekend. And every time he played Madilu Systems’ Apula or some Sokouss Stars, my day was made. I have never liked the fact that the Sokouss era lasted only but briefly (1990-1996) and so easily forgettable. Rhumba (which preceded Sokouss), well has its place in our hearts.
Ndombolo, which came in 1998, was not my favourite genre. My uncles liked it, no end and I remember they were so much into Wenge Musica. They listened Metro FM, when the legendary Tony Musalame (bless his soul) used to serve great Lingala complete with Lingala translations, before this noisemakers on Milele FM, who can’t let a song run without interrupting stupidly came to town. Who can forget Nyboma Mwandido, Freddy de Majunga, Arlus Mabele, Alain Kounkou, Pepe Kale, Balou Canta, Nguoma Loketo, Nimon Toki Lala, Tshalla Mwana and the likes. I know some kids here like Boniface Mwalii will find the names really strange. Youtube has really made possible for me to relive my whimsical childhood.
I must take the exception for Soule Ngofo Man, though. Save for his hideous hair style ( shaving box style has an age limit of 26), had a brand of Soukouss Music that was fast paced, danceable, and techno. He planned his music well. I still listen to his top 4 tracks( Femme, Ewa Ewa, Mikili, Bana. They greatly lift my spirits. His male soprano and the energy he exudes and the solo guitar(probably done by the dexterously famous Dalikimoko) and the heavy fast beat was something to savour.
I remember when we used to go video shows, paying 5 bob to watch Jean Claudde Vandamme and Billy Blanks kick some ass, there used to be a music interlude and some Lingala, Lucky Dube or some Yvonne Chaka Chaka was always welcome. Boy we had fun.
Extra-Musica, a quicker version of Wenga Musica entered the scene at the turn of the millennium and Boy,did they rock. Etat Major is Club Banger and will remain so for the next 77 years. And then came John Karani and Charity Karimi on KBC English Service. He brought some mojo back and sustained the little the likes of legendary Jeff Mwangemi and Jimmy Gathu had left in the entertainment scene. Between 1999-2002, John Karani had his day. His reggae show on Friday was something to talk about. Then Maina Kageni and Cess Mutungi made our evenings in the early 2000s when Kiss was the in-thing in town.
Anyway, I will be listing the top 100 songs in my play list. It has remained highly static over the last 15 years, with slight readjustments and a few inclusions, every once in a while. I have to state it from the outset, that I am not one of those persons who listen to abstract forms like Neo-Soul, house, trance, rock or anything like that. I don’t listen to those guys with effusive lyrics and people with names like Norah Shamines. Without further ado or gloating…here is my list.
100. Gallery-Mario Vasquez
It is a great R&B number that came through in the 2000s. I like it. It has a slightly danceable beat, the song is sheer poetry and for the hopeless romantics, I can’t help but hum along as I go about chores in the house.Great piece of work, Mario.
99. She’s worth the trouble-J Valentine
I’m into R&B, and any other good song in this genre once it comes out, will definitely be included. This number by J Valentine definitely scored for me. He is a brilliant song writer and has penned for the likes of Mario, Tyrese and other sensational black and RnB stars from the early 2000s. He actually wrote ‘I like ‘em Girls’ for Tyrese and one of my Tupac’s all-time favourite ‘Until the end of time’(somewhere in the list as well). This personal effort killed it for me in the mid-2000s.
98. Charlie,last name Wilson-Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson is a legend. And a freaking good one while at it. Both in his career as the lead vocalist of the Gap Band and in his solo pursuits. This track from 2005 that had R.Kelly in the background was good to say the least. I liked the video, the simple and flowing persuasion of Charlie as he pleads to a woman to come to his life. The song exudes energy, and a liveliness for an active afternoon.
97. Two occasions- The Deele
Any R&B person will respect Babyface’s musical genius. The only other genius in the business is Dianne Warren responsible for all the best bubble-gum balderdash that we enjoyed from Monica, N’Sync, Brandy, Mariah Carey and the rest. Babyface started out with The Deelee that his folks from Indianna before settling for a solo career and odd collabos. Ne-yo is just a Babyface reincarnate. As Maina Kageni always says, Babyface is the master of sugar-coated ballads. Listen to BoyzIIMen’s ballads and you will know what I am talking about.
I have ever dedicated this song to a crush. She dumped and ignored me, either way. Still a great song.
96. Summer time-Beyonce feat.P Diddy
One of those mindless collabos you don’t mind inside a playlist that is in shift mode. I like its beat and Beyonce’s near-innocent voice as she was coming of age and Jay-Z was about to start tapping that.
My buddie Paul, reckons that Jay-Z ultimate wealth lies in the fact he steps into the shower knowing that B is waiting for him naked.
95. Super trouper-Abba
Abba had an unusual story about them including the origin of their name. Google that. Their songs were not rich intellectually uplifting, but they bestrode the musical scene in the 70s and 80s like a colossus if I can borrow a cliche. I have never known why they fell out rather badly. But I liked this particular song. It is sensational and amazing.
94. That’s what friends are for-Dionne Warwick & Friends ( Stevie Wonder, Glady Knight, Elton John)
When four perfect musicians meet, the result is obvious. Stevie Wonder has been a blessing to the lovers of music. No musician is more complete than him. @Sickolia made me laugh a while ago, when the wife divorced him and Sickolia tweeted, “women amaze me, how do you even divorce someone who has never seen you?”
Elton John broke my heart when he confirmed our worst fears and marrying a fellow man. But his musical genius is another gift to us from the gods. All in all the song had a strong message. It reads like a prayer and their powerful voices powerfully complemented each other. Love it.
93. I ain’t through-Keysha Cole & Nicki Minaj
The fact that I have Nickie Minaj in the list goes to show I am not the chauvinist-in-chief that some guys take me to be. Actually, I am an OK person. But I like the song because of the beat and of course Keysha Cole. She is the epitome of beauty, though her face strikes me as nagging and sexless. And therein lies her sexiness. Actually, given half a chance, I can marry her. I can live with her nagging and bitching.And what is that I had that she had hots for Young Jeezy? WOMEN AND POOR JUDGEMENT!
92. Nothing is broken but my heart-Celine Dion
I used to have this tape back at home more than ten years ago that I had taped some Ugandan FM station. The tape had a number of songs and this was one of them. Back then, late night radio was good and actually did set the mood for the night. Sheila Mwanyigah and Oliviah Otieno did well then at Kiss, before the market sent them elsewhere. I often regret, that I missed out on Oyunga Pala at Capital FM. Anyway, such slow-jams always worked for me. I fell in love with this song then.
91. Amini-Henrie Mutuku
Only God knows where she went to. Or what she is up to. One of my favourite gospels ever made in Kenya. This generation of musicians had it right. Too bad we did not appreciate them enough.
90. Usichoke-Henrie Mutuku, Roughtone. R.Kay
I am not a big fan of Roughtone, at least musically. But this tops one of my best collabos ever. R.Kay was a great producer. Henrie Mutuku and her girls had vocals that angels in heaven could hum along to. The beat was out of this world. And ahead of its time. This ranks as a timeless classic and anyone from this era in the young 2000s will know what I am talking about. God bless her whenever she is currently.
More on the way.
Keep it here if you have a similar taste in music. If you have a different one, then I will be serving something else sooner.