When Mejja, real name Major Nameye Khadija, left Majengo slums in Nyeri for Nairobi in 2007, he probably didn't know he would become the hit-making machine he is today.
Why Mejja is one of the greatest to ever do it in our generation [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]
He has perfectly adapted to the new style
The rapper had emerged top three in a countrywide talent search by Celtel (now Airtel). Having won Sh20,000 from the contest, he relocated to Nairobi where he met Clemo and the rest, as they say, is history.
When the classic hit Jana Kuliendaje dropped in 2008, Mejja's undeniable reign as the King of Genge had just begun. The track put him on the map and would later earn him a Chaguo La Teeniz award.
During that time, Genge music was already dominating the industry with rappers like Jua Cali, Nonini and more making a lot of noise.
Mejja the Storyteller
Doors swung open for Mejja, but his unique storytelling verses sprinkled with humor played a pivotal role in lifting him to stardom.
In an interview with Nation, the Siskii rapper explained that the storytelling in his music was inspired by songs from Eminem's 2001 album, The Marshall Mathers LP.
“I remember his song ‘Guilty Conscience’ was crazy because he was having a fight between his good and bad sides in different situations. I was also mesmerized by Sheek Louch’s ‘How I Love You’, where he uses a woman as an extended metaphor while trying to explain his love for hip hop," he explained.
He added: “They made me start thinking about doing rap with more than just one interpretation and including storylines. I worked on perfecting it in a way people here could vibe with.”
Mejja in The Kansoul
Over the years that would follow, Mejja's career flourished with the release of heavy-hitters like Niko Poa (Barua), Furahia Maisha and Landlord that received huge airplay across East Africa.
Even after joining forces with Madtraxx and Kid Kora (now Kora) to form The Kansoul in 2014, Mejja's effect could still be felt. Honestly, just like his name, he was the major driving force in the trio's success.
As Mejja, who now a solo artiste, continues to excel in his art today, it's no crime to declare him one of the greatest to ever pick the mic up.
From millennials to Gen Z, everyone loves whatever Mejja does.
Of course, he is not the only Kenyan artist to successfully achieve longevity, we have the likes of Nameless, Wyre and Nyashinski (who even took a musical break).
Mejja the Kingmaker
At 42, Mejja possesses some sort of 'Drizzy' magic. Just as Drake can turn a whole nobody into a superstar once he drops his vocals on their track, putting Mejja on any record is a guaranteed smash too.
These days, it's hard to find a joint with Mejja's name on it that has not clocked over a million views on YouTube.
Trio Mio's Cheza Ka Wewe remix which featured Okwonko, Exray and Nellythegoon is nearing 10M views as it currently sits at 8.9M.
Last year's mega hit Utawezana with Femi One has been viewed 12M times as at the time of publishing.
Including both his solo efforts and collaborations, most of his videos are getting viewed over a million times within a month of release. An example is Matata's Chini Chini which has already hit 2M views.
The way Mejja has managed to fit in this generation and attain this kind of success is crazy!
He has perfectly adapted to the new style and it's working miracles. In fact, a significant portion his fanbase is made up of teens who were in diapers when Jana Kuliendaje came out!
The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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Timothy Mwachia is a young journalist interested in writing about entertainment and lifestyle. He has contributed news articles at Daily Rap Facts and The Dope Way and he's obsessed with knowledge - "I've got a thing for watching documentaries, reading and writing," he says.
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