TRENDSETTER

Has Nameless’ musical appeal aged badly?

The remix to one of his old tunes, 'Megarider', feels like just another tune by a veteran that won’t last

In Summary

Despite the changes and the aggression being exhibited by the ever-growing talented act, Nameless’ influence has truly taken a dive.

Nameless
Nameless
Image: Courtesy

Nameless’ expedition in the region of vocal melody and musical experience is truly a significant point of reference when it comes to the East African music industry.

First, there was the pioneer who shaped the music scene back in the day. Now there’s a veteran who continues to release singles in a totally different generation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: plenty of artistes from Juacali to Nyashinski enjoy the juxtaposition their creative processes have had to be subjected to over these varying times, and somehow they've done arguably well. 

It’s nearly impossible to ignore the musical position Nameless held back in the day. He was a superstar who played a significant role on hits like “Boomba Train,” “Sinzia,” “Coming Home,” “Salari” and “Furahi Day”. He explored the same musical ideas with his like-minded wife Wahu and earned the spot of one of Kenya’s most talented acts. But have his most dominant years — roughly 2005 to 2011 — fossilised?

Song: MEGARIDER (remix) Written and performed by Nameless and Khaligraph Jones Produced by Cedo BGV. Lydia Ndwiga mixed and mastered by Ogopa ...

You don’t really need to look far to confirm that Nameless now exhibits little lasting appeal and relevance. Well, you have to give it to him for the resolve to continue releasing music.

However, times are changing and so are the musical influences. In an era where Nigerian and Tanzanian acts are dominating the Kenyan airwaves, you’d expected any cautious Kenyan artiste to be aware of the existing dynamics and adapt to them if they are not really going to be as innovative.

Despite the changes and the aggression being exhibited by the ever-growing talented act, Nameless’ influence has truly taken a dive. While he maintains the same technical proficiency on the mic, he has greatly lost touch with his fanbase. Back in the day, his music would dominate airwaves and have a lasting impression. Now, and you can ask around, his music fades upon arrival, a clear indication that his fanbase is slowly losing touch with his craft.

Take a look at his recent release, the remix to one of his old tunes, “Megarider”, which now features rapper Khaligraph Jones. It’s an obvious attempt by the artiste to tap into a younger fanbase that appreciates the contemporary trap drum hip hop influence. As much as it might feel like a catchy tune, it simply leaves the impression that it’s just another tune by a veteran that won’t last.

As much as we love our acts, it’s important to note they are not perfect. And it’s true: An artiste will only be hot when they are hot. We can already see attempts by Nameless to remain relevant and surely he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. All we can hope is that he focuses on the sound and gets it right the next time.