Kenyan rapper and singer/songwriter Muthoni Drummer Queen released She, the album.
I should start saying that this album is more than just a collection of music. It speaks a lot about Wanjiku, about corruption in the society, about feminism, and other things. I don’t consider myself to have enough information, expertise, time or writing skills to talk about these things. This review is therefore only about the sound of the music, and not about the message.
In the first track, the lightly done echo effect goes a long way to reinforce the message that MDQ is addressing the masses listening to the album. She could even be addressing them in a stadium, that is what one feels that the echo states. The mixture of reggae and EDM/Dub beats is just fantastic, and an excellent way to start a new album.
In “Kenyan Message“, how she adapts the well-imitated lyrics:
“It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under”
“Ni kama jungle sometimes mimi huwonder mbona sijaenda under”
For some odd reason, listening to this song reminds one of Kantai’s “Issues”. In some parts of the song, she puts breaks in between shorter-syllable words, making them rhyme with longer-syllable ones, like she does in “also artificial” to make it go well with “wako so superficial”. It’s impressive how this effect is felt.
“Suzie Noma“ is a maringo song in which her and her “friend” know what they got and effortlessly let it flow. Listening to it makes one want to go for things that they most likely won’t get, because the vibe from the song is just so enticing. The Iyoo part comes down so well from its high. It makes one proud to hear a traditional dirge cry, fitting in so well as the sweetest part this song. The rise and fall in the chorus goes well, kapisaa. This song is not just comme ci comme ça – it’s a song and a half.
“Dear Mathilde” puts you in a daunting environment. Listening to the song, you feel like you’re alone in a dark room, with no help coming. That is until she comes along, reminds you of the energy in you, and rescues you through her lyrics. She (MDQ) says it was written to Hook’s niece, Mathilde, and to all new born baby girls across the world.
The beats and effects in “Caged Bird” pushes one into disturbia, and I think that was purposeful since the song was written as someone’s self-reflection during a burial.
There’s a certain RAW energy in “Squad Up“ that one knows comes from only Muthoni. The marching band sounds are introduced into the song a while after she says “marching band”, and they’re introduced to a marching tempo. That was thoughtful.
“Time Bomb“ quickly explodes into lots of flavours a third of the way in, including the fun feeling brought about by curious extra-syllable words that remind one of Habib and Manga’s Dunda. Hii song iko tu fyantamba.
There’s a different form of drum in all the tracks. She truly is a drummer queen.
Buy it on iTunes
About The Cover Art
Definitely Michael Soi. The lines. Indeed, again, it is she on the cover.