What exactly does KEEP MOVING, the debut mixtape from the JuBlak collaboration with Stitch represent? A victory lap following the amazing success of last year’s NAYO NAYO collaboration with Holy Dave,? A return to the gonzo wordplay of MAKE IT which Stitch featured the talented and sassy Chess? A listenable platform for the long-underrated duo (and by extension, the newly revived Soundtrick Records)? Or simply a collection of hot, murky beats that they felt like spitting over?
KEEP MOVING finally lands this week tasked with saving face after a bad year. But WAR CRY rode fans’ willful suspension of disbelief raw as Stitchie Itchie anointed himself a king, and Junizzy a president over a mixtape adorned in the gaudiest of embellishments,it is speedy and with its video trailer gaining much positive comments,promises to stay in heavy rotation. It doesn’t help that keep Moving finds them slipping from character into caricature. Many of the song concepts here are wan, and much of the wordplay is spent. On “Hopes And Drama freestyle”,BlakBoy goes hard and raw on a heavy beat, he’s the “Junizzy Mafioso,” soliciting standing ovation and fellatio from concubines. “Take It” houses Stitchs’ as the party don,who commands an air of sophistication and mastery of flow. This is a typical club banger,he quips,”Hebu songea,coz siwezitouch from here.”
With JuBlak and Stitch’s hammy tendencies fading from strength to liability, with strong successful collaborators under their belts, and bless them all, they tried.An easy laid back hip hop track,yet so mind provocative Sentiments shines,its a juicy piece that goes political,with names of former Kenyan president Moi is mentioned in Jublak’s ever deep opening verse,Stitchie comes through with an attitude and braggadocio of a pro to talk to the mind,it getts even better when guest raps from GCho Pevu Poet light a fire in third verse,being the only featured act. Itchie The Maniac and Jay The Retard great chemistry proves mutually inspiring for both; it’s evident in their “Everyday” track which they go head to head with crazy flow and excuisite punchlines. Soundtrick did a good mastering of this track bringing out the beast in the two.’Unajiita failure na by the end of the day ukipita city clock utakuwa umepass time’
Though many might have known JuBlak as gospel rapper owing to the fact that he did his first two debut singles,Follow Me and Nitasonga with heavy intones of gospel content and his big hit song alongside Holy Dave,the rapper cum singer says,’I grew up in a strong Christian family,hence the christian values in my songs,but i grew up independently in the society which heavily influenced my way of thinking and writing.” If there is a uniting theme on Keep Moving, it’s that JuBlak seems more reflective than usual, a rap veteran reconciling himself with his place in the music business. On the other hand “Keep Moving” the theme song includes a verse from Stitch that could be interpreted as an assertion of gangster authenticity (“Nimetoka place ni kungori sana ukibonga mbaya wanakuangushanga” to mean,Am from a place u get shot for talkin shit ) but it seems to double as a contemplation of being a working man’s rapper, tirelessly grinding out songs and navigating a perilous industry with finesse.
The mixtape generally goes out of the norm,as they did not stick to normal Kenyan way of doing their mixtape,”It took us an entire month to put together this awesome piece of work,a lot of work and research too.” The zealous Stitch says.
”Normal is boring,” That’s all JuBlak had to say. The mixtape has themes varying from love,street philosophy,personal life experiences,and its hip hop enough for its target audience. Stitch and JuBlak may not be familiar in your radios, but this mixtape definitely has earned them respect and recognition in the music industry.