In mid-June this year, a few kids from Nairobi were the talk of town. A song on YouTube by the name “Lamba Lolo” was racking up views like never before. Kenyans on Social Media started talking about this new track and shared the link to the video everywhere. The comments section was on fire, some had already become fans while others ridiculed the video.
Shot in one of Nairobi’s Estates, the video was raw and not much work or exaggeration was put into it. It was a simple video made by semi-amateurs but Kenyans didn’t care about that, they loved it.
Today, Kitawi Mwakitele, MD of Hype Group Limited, an entertainment company based in Nairobi took to Twitter to narrate how working with the group has been difficult and exhausting to the point of parting ways with them.
When the video had hardly hit a hundred thousand views, it caught the attention of Mr Mwakitele who saw the potential in these young artists and offered to take them to the next level. At first they thought of paying for a polished video but dropped the idea because one of the reasons the video was trending was its simplicity. Mr Mwakitele then asked the group how they would like to be helped. They said that they needed help in recording, shooting and getting shows.
First of all, these young guys weren’t making music as a group. They had just come together for that specific track. Mr Mwakitele advised the group to continue making music as a group for at least a year and see if it would work for them. He further went on and sent them to Pacho Studios where they recorded another track named “Saba” and to Madtraxx where they made their latest hit “New Position” in collaboration with The Kansoul.
By this time, their debut song had become the newest banger in town, playing on full blast in some of the biggest clubs. The young artists became popular. One of them who goes by the stage name “SWAT” received immense love from fans for his popular line in the song. Almost every Nairobian knew the “Kula njugu, ongeza nguvu na upewe rungu.” part of the song.
Mr Mwakitele dig deep into his pockets and catered for all the group’s expenses, including their cab money when going for interviews that he set up for them.
Everything was going well until one of the members said he didn’t like the idea of of being under a label because “he didn’t understand why Hype Group Limited had to take a percentage of all the revenue generated”. Despite these complaints, Mr Mwakitele hooked the group with a team that was supposed to push and promote them. He used his network to help them get where they needed to be.
A few weeks later, one of the group’s members, SWAT, had been secretly booking shows where he went solo with his friends and got peanuts for it. In some instances he only got 2,000 to 4,000 shillings. Other group members became extremely unhappy since he was the popular one. The issue was quickly resolved and “New Position” was dropped, only for things to get much worse.
Mr Mwakitele had left the country and left the group under the care of two other gentlemen because he couldn’t do everything on his own anymore.
People in the showbiz industry started telling the youngsters that they were being ‘used’ by the guys managing them. Some of these people expected the group to accept bookings for as low as 20,000 shillings. These rumours of being used became the basis of their arguments and Hype Group Limited decided to part ways with the youngsters.
It was agreed that they would pay him back his investment to that point, including the money he used to bail out Rekless, one of the group’s members from jail after he assaulted someone at the 1824 Club after the Nasty C concert. This was after everyone Rekless knew refused to contribute a single coin towards securing his release.
Soon after, they received payment from a few gigs they had done before and then they dipped. What followed was abusive messages in a WhatsAp Group Chat that were directed at Hype Group Limited.
It is quite unfortunate that such a promising young group of talented artists has let the attention they’ve been receiving get into their heads. Now that Hype Group Limited has decided to call it quits their future is very doubtful. Will they manage to get themselves out of this situation or will they go down in history as just another Kenyan group that never fulfilled their full potential?
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