Music channel Trace East Africa on Thursday postponed a scheduled Trace Twitter Space discussion between Kenya’s Gengetone and South Africa’s Ampiano.
A promo from the outlet suggested that while Amapiano was soaring beyond the boundaries of Mzansi, Kenya’s Gengetone rested on its deathbed.
The TV outlet had planned a Twitter discussion to debate the factors that contribute to the rise of a music genre/sub-genre to the national and international stage.
In a promo that has since been deleted, it had suggested that while Amapiano was soaring beyond the boundaries of Mzansi, Kenya’s Gengetone rested on its deathbed.
“Two genres rose from the streets in different countries. As one soars to international levels, the other rests on its death bed,” Trace Eastern Africa tweeted the promo.
Following the backlash, the outlet deleted the Tweet, and issued a statement, saying all are invited to join the discussion on ‘how best to propel sub-genres such as Gengetone to international heights’
The outlet also claimed to have reached out to Gengetone artists with a view of having them represented on the space.
“We’ve heard you and absolutely agree with you that Gengetone should be well represented in the space. Thank you for your recommendations as well. We are currently in communication with them,” the outlet Tweeted.
“Thank you for sharing your sentiments with us. We’d like to clarify that Trace loves and supports Gengetone. Our intention for this space is to bring together creatives, industry players and music lovers to exchange ideas around rising music genres within Africa and key learnings.”
Among those invited for the discussion were Blinky Bill, Eric Wainaina, Brian Muluvu and Charllote Bwana. Kenyans were quick to note that none of the Kenyan Gengetone artists had been invited.
Gengetone evolved from Genge-rap, a musical style incredibly popular in the 2000s in Kenya. It blends rap with reggaeton and dancehall infusions resulting in a high-energy and dance-ready sound. The music is also characterized by its explicit lyrics and commentary that reflect the current lifestyle of the ‘hood’ experience, usually rapped or sung in “sheng”.
A version of Swahili slang, “sheng” is a constantly evolving language and the subliminal meanings behind some of the words used in Gengetone songs give these artists more notoriety in the streets.