In 2004, if you did not know the lyrics to the song “Kenyan Boy, Kenyan Girl” by hip-hop and reggae group Necessary Noize, then you were most likely banished from many social gatherings.
It was a morning anthem on all local radio stations and a favourite among DJs in clubs. Necessary Noize, composed of singer Nazizi and Wyre the Love Child, was, to say the least, the “it” music group of the millennium.
And now after more than 10 years of pursuing solo projects, they are back. “Wyre and I have always been in discussion about doing something together as Necessary Noize but because of individual commitments we just kept on postponing it until now. The universe just aligned for us. We never particularly intended for it to be this year, but if you ask me, this is the perfect time,” Nazizi said.
The song is part of an Extended Play (EP) the two are planning to release and will consist of eight songs.
A snippet of their first song, to be released on May 5, was shared by Wyre and has already attracted more than 5,000 likes and retweets from their fans on social media.
It is an indication of the void that was left for their kind of music.
“The music scene has changed a lot but we are going to be as authentic as we were before and be true to ourselves. We are not trying to keep up with the trends. For example, our first single is a reggae inspirational song,” Nazizi explained.
The EP, she says, will be about the journey of Necessary Noize, its growth, pursuing solo careers and being independent.
Being independent artistes has enabled them to face some of their fears when it comes to their music careers. “We are independent and we do not have any pressure that comes to an artiste who is beginning their career. The most important thing for Wyre and I is that we are able to control how we sound,” she said.
Necessary Noize was formed in the early 2000s, consisting of three members Nazizi Hirji, Kevin Wyre and rapper Bamzigi.
Bamzigi later left the group. His fortunes took a turn for the worst when he became a victim of substance abuse. Nazizi and Wyre went ahead and released their first album, “Necessary Noize”, and later their second album, “Necessary Noize II Kenyan Girl, Kenyan Boy”.
Their collaboration with Ugandan raga singer Bebe Cool saw them form another music group called East Africa Bashment Crew. Nazizi and Wyre later split and pursued solo projects.
“The break was necessary, especially for me. My entire life had been focused on music since I was 15 years old. Then after I became a mother, it was time to focus on me, my vision, legacy beyond Necessary Noize,” Nazizi said.
The break, she says, helped her understand herself. Being exposed to fame at such a young age had both positive and negative impacts on her.
Most of the time, she says, she was worried that people had started viewing her as a role model.
“What scared me was realising that I was now a role model and people were looking up to me and by then I was just a teenager trying to figure out life myself. And I would be scared of disappointing people who looked up to me,” Nazizi said.
Wyre, on the other hand, went on to release songs collaborating with Jamaican artistes, including Alaine, Cecil and Morgan Heritage. But regardless of the different directions they had taken before, Nazizi says she is proud about the growth of the industry.
“I am proud of how far we have come. The fact that you can switch on a radio station and will be able to listen to Kenyan music playing is a great achievement. During our time it was not easy. Artistes are now very intentional about pushing their art to the next level,” she said in a past interview with the Daily Nation.
“The current crop of artistes has the right energy, if you ask me. Back then, one hit song could push you for six months plus or even a year, but nowadays King Kaka is dropping a song after every month or two.
“That means the music is being consumed at a much higher rate now, which is not a bad thing. It has changed the industry and change is inevitable. For the current crop, they have to chuck hits at a higher rate than we used to.
“And you can easily tell the difference between us and them to date, we maintained our old school vibe of dropping songs after a while.”
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