A Conversation with Vallerie Muthoni

-Kahvinya singing in the background.-

FLOABS: Should I mention the context of where we’re doing this?

Vallerie Muthoni: Yeah sure sure.

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How did you know J.Kali?

I’d always been a fan first of all, from the beginning. And then we kinda met a few times. Y’know, and then he followed my music and I followed him back. There’s a time – actually, at a very recent performance – we met and had a really intimate conversation where he really just advised me. I was very isolated. I was in a deep dark place and I wasn’t talking to people, but he was like “Yo, we’re talking before you leave,” and we sat on the grass.

So through the short experience I had with him, and now all these things I’m hearing: you’re seeing all the people who’ve shown up for him, you see his love. Sorry this a lot-

It’s fine, go on.

I’m so happy I met him at the time I did because he’s made an effect on so many people after his death. So many people who know “We have to do this for him.” It’s a beautiful thing to see.

Alright, onto you. Are you a singer or a rapper?

I really wanted to be a singer like Beyonce…is that Terrianne?

-Terrianne Iraki on stage singing “I was here by Beyonce.”-

-We listen to Terrianne for a few minutes.-

Sorry, where were we?

Beyonce.

Yeah I started out wanting to be a singer, and then I started rapping and people loved it. And it’s fun, it’s easy for me to do honestly, so I’m both. I embrace them both.

And when did you start singing or rapping?

Girl, I’ve been singing since I could talk.

Rapping, I’d always do poetry in high school. I’d do little raps in high school, and then I toa-d No Chances and I was like “Oh, people are fucking with this shit. I’m so dope.”

Taking no chances.

Taking no goddamn chances.

Vallerie Muthoni 1

Can say that’s when you started taking this rap thing seriously?

Yup. No chances. And then Brown Suga came and I was like “For sure”

For sure you’re a rapper.

For sure.

This is your first full length project?

Yes.

How many tracks?

5. It was gonna be 8, but we made it 5.

You cut it?

Yeah.

Why?

Quality over quantity. I had a conversation with MDQ a few hours ago, it just helped me understand and see some things.

Are you excited / nervous?

I am! I think so.

VALLERIE

What’s the one message you want to be the takeaway from your album?

There’s a song at the end of the album called ‘End Rape Culture’. It’s a story but just something that’s happening so often and something that frustrates me.

I could never articulate how I feel. I was never the type to post on Twitter or Facebook. Music was just the way that I could get that message out there. It’s one that makes you think a little bit.

Tell us about your songwriting process.

The minute I hear a beat; the first 30 seconds of a beat I’ll know if I like it. Singing wise – I kind of first freestyle a little bit, see where it goes; whatever vibe I go with, and then from there I can just stop and say “Okay I like where this is going” and write it down.

I use paper to write my songs ’cause a lot of artists these days actually use their notepads.

Yeah, on their phones.

Also I was on Kabambe life for very long so I didn’t have much of an option.

What producers did you work with?

Kahaelbeats. Fvzzkill. MANU-

Avionix?

Khasakhala?

I think that’s him.

He’s has so many aliases, I’m like “MANU pick one dammit.” It’s a five track EP, it’s not much. And then one international producer.

Do you remember your first live show, and how that felt?

Does high school count?

Yeah.

No, that doesn’t count. I’ll talk about the first one after school, when I finished highschool and I knew I wanted to take this music thing seriously. It was at Alchemist, of course. That was my first proper live show with a band. I took my friends – I was studying music production at ADMI.

You did ADMI?

Yes, for two years I did a diploma in music production. I had friends who could play guitar and drums and I was like, “Ay, let’s do this.”  It was actually The Lounge, remember YLM’s [Yellow Light Machine] event The Lounge that used to happen every so often?

Yeah. ylm

It was really dope. I enjoyed myself. I loved it. It’s usually when I’m on stage, I’m comfortable. I’m not nervous anymore.

What’s the most recent “Ohmigod is this real life” moment?

I’m so overwhelmed with happiness because I just got featured in True Love Magazine. And Colors did a feature on Brown Suga. And the Freshman HBR list.

colors

So you’ve basically made it. Why are you still hustling with the rest of us?

Manze no. Until the money comes, then I’ll start saying I’ve made it. Until then, I’m still a struggling artist.

What inspires you?

I don’t want to die doing something I don’t like, and I love performing so if I can get to a place where I’m no longer stressing, sijui fuata-ing who for money, and I’m just performing & traveling around the world. That’s what motivates me. That’s what inspires me. That’s what I’m doing it for so I can get to that place. Does that make sense?

It makes a lot of sense. Who are your biggest influences?

Beyonce. Anderson .paak. Michael Jackson. Masego.

Uncle Sego.

It will happen. And you’ll find him mysteriously missing after his show. Don’t ask questions.

VALLERIE 2

I will not ask. We’ll know where he is. 

Burna Boy. Childish Gambino.

In Kenya? 

Muthoni the Drummer Queen. Blinky Bill.

Cool. Any last words?

The Wavey Soul on Mookh.

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Vallerie Muthoni is a Kenyan songstress and rapper. You can purchase/stream her debut EP The Wavey Soul here:

Buy: Wavey Soul on Mookh.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify

 

The Wavey Soul: Vallerie Muthoni

I believe in the power of tides and waves. I believe the moon controls the tides and waves and since human beings are 70% water, the moon controls us too. We have that in common with the sea. Wavey souls gang gang, let’s dive into and under Vallerie Muthoni’s debut EP, The Wavey Soul. 

  1. Waves Never Die (Intro)

The static when you first switch on the television, back in dem days. A V.O.K public broadcast.

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I am the ocean the sea there is a world inside of me

The poetry is finger-snapping powerful.

What a cinematic ride. I’m in a dark cinema, popcorn on my left, soda on my right, squeezing the arms of my seat, goosebumps washing over me as the first scene begins.

She sounds like Ursula except in this version of The Little Mermaid, we’re rooting for Ursula. And if Ursula was Beyonce and Beyonce absorbed Jay-Z’s spirit for herself, thus making her more powerful (Ed: if that’s even possible).

As powerful as the ocean, as beautiful as the sea. 

As a PFC (Person from the Coast), I approve of this ocean-themed message.

 

2. Me, You & The Sea

Waaavvyyy. I’m surfing 70’s Japanese technicolor VCR waves. It’s a vibe.

Is this about God? No, it’s about love. A love by the sea.

Beat switch.

Her vocals are stripped down, it gives it a live performance feel, oscillations lapping at our ears like we’re barefoot by the ocean, digging our toes in the soft warm sand.

I’m homesick.

 

3. Brown Suga

I love it when she raps. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when she sings. But I love it when she raps.

Like heaven’s favorite angel drank too much Henny and smoked the dankest of blunts. Brown Suga is sweet angelic Lucifer with fire in his soft golden eyes.

Flow- hard. Lyricism – hard. Beat – full hard-on.

Shout out to Bongo Sawa – wavey apparel for the wavey soul.

Those 808’s banged me upside my head, I wasn’t not ready, who produced this? Imechizi kama Mathare {Ed’s note: Kahael beats}

 

4. Lover’s Game (feat Harawa)

Who produced this? It caught me off-guard, tripped me off my surfboard.

Why is it so hard for people to be consistent with their vibe? Just keep it real all the time and don’t make games out of people, is that so hard? (Raw nerve)

Harawa enters like slow trickling honey. Bryson Tiller and 6lack had a baby and named him Harawa: a prince.

Damn, that harmony.

Harawa’s husky crooning and Vallerie’s thick nectar stew vocals on top of each other taste like a BLT with all the right sauces. (Shout out to honey mustard).

In that last chorus, they’re talking to each other. Each one has their reason for why things went wrong but still, they crave that closure; the need to ask him / to ask her “How did we get like this?”

Ah yes. The extreme euphoria or the unsettling resentment of romantic love.

 

5. End Rape Culture

The title is culminative. It brings this film to a close. If you don’t leave this EP with anything, at least leave with this.

Where’s that sample from? {Ed’s note: It’s a T.D Jakes Sermon}

It’s a story. A sad story.

Life is an ocean- I’ve known this all along. The ocean is beautiful, the ocean is immense, the ocean exists in different parts and in vast multitudes.

The ocean is salty the ocean stings. The ocean is choppy. The ocean can kill you without mercy. The ocean can consume you.

Tl;dr – Consent.

It’s all a test.

It’s almost like its an experiment. God’s experiment. 

When are we going to understand that we were put on earth to love?

 

 

You can purchase The Wavey Soul EP off of Mookh here

Also,wavey soul launch

Slide: BNRD ft. Mankind, Nomad

 

I used to think that alternative R&B was a genre I made up in my head. Something that sounds like R&B but think Babyface meets Octopizzo. So for anything that doesn’t fit into this well constructed box of genre, you get assigned the prefix ‘alternative’.

I don’t mind at all. In fact, I would like to exist in this alternative universe where this music is considered mainstream. It must be a pleasant universe with no black outs and fountains of pinot noir.

BNRD, Mankind and Nomad and blazing the trail for Kenyan chill-hop. The production on this is so meticulous, each percussion hit, the way it pans like the sounds are dancing around your head. All of it is intentional.

Plus the music video is the flyer for the wavy carefree Kenyan boy experience. It makes me want to smoke trees and kick it with these guys. And I guess that’s just the point- Life makes you feel bad enough, just let your music make you feel good.

 

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No Ad Libs: Barak Jacuzzi

Produced by Brakxx. Contrary to the title, Barak Jacuzzi does have an ad-lib: “More Juice.” And true to its spirit, this track is 100% juice. Not diluted. Juice from the cup.

The young Kenyan-American entertainer put on his rap hat, pulled up and took his seat. Not asking. Taking.

‘No Ad Libs’ stirs up sensations of basement parties. LED lights. Sweat and hype and molly fueled energy. He noticed you sleeping on him and decided to do you a favour and wake you up. The bass will hit you first. You won’t see it coming.

The tribal elements of the track and the drill trap style of the song complement each other generously and every now and then his tongue dips into Kenyan Sheng in a manner that may just put it in the same league of street lingo cool as Jamaican Patois.

He carries an A$AP Rocky-esque self confidence that somehow, for reasons yet to be understood, does not spill over into arrogant braggadocio though it lingers rather close sometimes. You get this feeling like he knows he was sent to earth by gods to bless us with the message of ‘More Juice’ and bars rare to this turf.

He throws shade to his rivals in the rap industry, like writing their incompetence with swift steady hand, i.e: He writes his curses in cursive.

You couldn’t make a crowd jump if your name was Kriss Kross

Unfortunately for now, the video has been pulled off of Youtube due to a copyright claim by the producer, Brakxx Beats Africa. But you can listen to it here.

Or here.

 

Rating: 3.5 / 5

( image: kenyans.co.ke )