Buruklyn Boyz’ Big Breakthrough.
- Providence: Nairobi Kenya
- What is Kenyan Drill?
- Building a breakthrough.
- Beyond the infrastructure of the band.
- The Debut Album.
As the sounds of Nairobi reverb hard with the rumble of Kenyan Drill, Buruklyn Boyz have taken ownership of this genre: an ominous and uncensored take on life on the streets. And the streets themselves are another world. Here, nearly 60 percent of Nairobi’s population live in slums, where Masai men guide grazing cattle and concrete housing projects loom, the Buruklyn Boys are on the edge of breaking through with a tomorrow sound, today.
What is Kenyan Drill?
It’s a sub-genre of Trap Music, largely characterized by dark, violent, and cynical lyrics with ominous trap-influenced beats. The word ‘Drill’ is slang for the use of automatic weapons. The beats associated with drill tend to be of a slow tempo usually 60 or 70 beats per minute. Its rapping style isn’t concerned with metaphors or punchlines and often has a very deadpan delivery. Most Drill fans and artists are lovers of Hip Hop and Trap.
Nairobi has found itself the epicentre of dark and heavy 808s, perforating traditional Kenyan musical sensibilities and harmonies. Burubu Estate is the home ground of the Buruklyn Boyz, their name a play on, and an homage to an area which vigorously supported hip-hop culture, as well as bus route 58 which has a reputation for having the best ‘Manyangas’ (pimped public service Matatu vehicles). It was also the birthplace of ‘Sheng’, a combination of Swahili and English slang which became the lingua franca of the streets. This would lead to ‘Shrap’, a localised sub-genre of hip-hop, with all rapping done in Sheng.
Building a breakthrough
After a brief foray into Shrap, the Buruklyn Boyz formed in 2019 just after the release of “Durag na Slice” by front men Ajay and Mr. Right. Corban Dencho would be on-boarded to provide producer skills and the hard sonic bump. He would later work on the “Billie Jean” hit.
Frontmen Ajay already had a hit with the drill single “Psycho”. Mr Right would display his prowess the critically acclaimed song “Piga Lean”, noted for its catchy hooks that ring in your head long after the song is over.
Their talent, combined with a strategy to be the best Drill Group in Kenya, has cleverly engineered their success with several successful single drops. In a moment of pure zeitgeist and cultural swagger Buruklyn Boyz’ catch phrase, “Kwani Ni Kesho” (Is it Tomorrow?)”, was adopted by the youth of Kenya, as a way to finish off a statement.
Beyond the infrastructure of the band
Ajay spends most of his time in the studio, galvanizing his vast catalogue, while Mr. Right (cast as the CEO) is always chasing the bag. The money they earn then enables them to pay production costs of music videos to amplify the audio tracks. They have created their own record label, cleverly shaping their sound, and holding on to creative rights, whilst scouting for new talent. Their entrepreneurial forays extend to owning a branded clothing line selling B-Boy pants, shirts and durags.
The Debut Album
In addition to being featured on Spotify’s Radar playlist which highlights upcoming artists from around the world, the duo have also finally released their debut album, “East Mpaka London”. The bumper 16 track album includes features from artists such as Maya Amolo, Silverstone Barz, Big Yasa and YoungLouie 58. It is a rumbunctious, diverse mix of both drill music and a surprise sideshow of mellow RnB. The freshness and duality of their sound is easily identifiable in tracks such as “Nisikize” featuring Maya and “Ex” in which they cleverly sample Nikita Kering’s award-winning track.
Ajay and Mr. Right have crafted a sleek chemistry between them. In turn, with a sound full of ominous swagger, the Buruklyn Boyz are one of the most continent’s compelling artists of late – where tomorrow is today.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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