How Nonini’s fire session with DJ Stylez went down
Kenyans on Thursday got a chance to know and savour music by Nonini, the self-proclaimed godfather of genge music, courtesy of Dj Stylez of Code Red.
The duo took fans on Nonini’s journey in music from his early days in Calif Records to where he is now.
Dj Stylez reminisced on how they both kicked off their careers at the same time, recalled a day when Nonini, Clemo and Juacali went to Nation Centre to deliver a CD for radio airplay.
DJ Stylez said they looked ghetto, something that scared them.
He also revealed how his name Nonini came about: “I’m called Nonini because it’s like a question No Nini (No What)? In high school, a friend used to like the track No Pigeons the reply to No Scrubs by TLC and that’s where the name came from.”
He also reminisced how he met Clemo and Juacali.
“In Eastlands, there is an estate called Pumwani, which was meant for the rich back in the 60’s and that’s where I’m born and bred. That is what’s known as California estate and we lived there with Clemo and Juacali but music brought us all together.”
Stylez played Nonini’s first-ever track titled “No nini ni Nani na ni nini”. He also sampled an old track Nonini did with Rat-A-Tat and his first-ever collabo with Juacali where Clemo did the chorus.
“We sampled a track It’s My World by OC, Mahatma just came to the studio and delivered his verse, I was with Juacali and we agreed the last word he would say I would pick it up and so did Juacali and that’s where the song Mtu Saba was born,” recalled Nonini.
Of all his tracks in his earlier days, his verse in that song was the defining moment of his career. Nonini had a knack for delivering superman punchlines in his rhymes that would leave one in awe.
Surprisingly, when Stylez played the original track of Mtoto Mzuri, most of the fans could only recall the remix version.
Nonini said the song Walietuacha was a memorial song dedicated to his late big brother as well as the late K-Rupt and E-Sir.
Unlike Nyashinski, Nonini appeared lively and psyched up to reminisce on his time his music while sipping on some gold liquid.
As the night progressed, DJ Stylez played tracks such as Daniella, Moyoni, Wee Kamu, Nibebe and Furahiday, among other famous hits.
Nonini confessed that he never liked the Moyoni song at all and that’s why he never performs the track.
He also said that Nibebe was produced by a British music producer called Madebe based in Mombasa and the beats were influenced by taarab.
He then delved into his controversial departure from Calif Records to Homeboyz.
“I left Calif Records because I felt I can’t grow there anymore. I wanted to expand my career to where I felt it should be. It was a challenge as Clemo and I had chemistry together and it was hard to leave but in the end I left,” said Nonini.
In the Furahiday video, the blue Toyota 110 with white seats was Nonini’s car which he had decked out with sounds system and a Starlet engine.
Produced by Musyoka
He said he called Nameless and asked him to collaborate with him in the track which was produced by Musyoka.
Nonini also said that during his day, Kenyan entertainment scene was controlled by Kenyans, which different from today when Nigerian and Tanzanian music has overshadowed local music.
“When we were coming out, our music was Kenyan. The other countries made their music their own and made sure no one went in to infiltrate their market. Thus our music stopped being playing outside there,” said Nonini when he was asked about why he said earlier that Kenyan Music was slowly dying out.
He also recalled meeting Frasha and Boneye as lingala dancers at the defunct Club Zeep, which was located opposite Hilton Hotel and “over time I noticed their different characters and that they could do music, Gabu then also came in and that’s where P-Unit was born”.
On the song Genge Love featuring Lady Bee, Nonini dispelled rumours that they were dating.
He appeared dodgy on the question of his marital status but said he has a seven-year-old son.
As a parting shot, he asked Kenyans not to accept mediocre music or any form of content.
The three-hour Electric Avenue session had a viewership of more than 1,000 fans and some had this to say to the legend:
@d33_dy “Nonini thank you for making our teenage years awesome”
@papamarvokolo: “Sitachoka…. Kupatia manzi wa Nairobi Sifa!!! Hii ngoma inaweza enda”
@markmmossI: “I still remember we got kicked out of we kamu video shoot location”
@lts_ndege: “Is it legal to listen to nons lyrics🤣🤣 savage!”
@leejahfeshe: “Manze this tunes taking me waaaayy back. Dame yangu wa primary school nilikuimbia hii”
@fitchuring: “Maze zile fimbo zilikuwa zitakam ukipatwa radio banging nonini”
@nyokabiwainaina: “Nonini ran so that Gengetone champs could crawl”