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Kenny’s Diagnosis : A Review of KennihGee’s The Real Donald Trump EP  

Reviewed by Loni Rae

Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

What can be deduced from a blend of conscious lyrics and religious parables sourced undiluted from current  grassroots music landscape in much of the African continent, is a trend that can only be likened to that of a forager who made the most of stones and bruised berries in building his first castle. This is the case with regard to “The Real Donald Trump”, a debut album by the Nigerian musician KennihGee (main picture).

I have refrained from critiquing it against the recent highs that mainstream Nigerian music has enjoyed in the previous year, rather I choose to analyse it in the context of the artiste himself. Kehinde Aladelusi known by his budding listeners as KennihGee or Kenny is a rapper, who hails from Southwestern Nigeria, specifically the city of Akure. Beyond that, he is an experienced researcher and data analyst and a PhD student, so he is definitely not cut from the cloth of fellow peers just like the individual he chose to name his compilation after. Unlike Donald Trump however, Kenny’s controversy is strictly limited to the maverick nature of his artistry rather than the eccentricity of his ideas.

The Real Donald Trump has one of the most memorable track arrangement I have seen in recent times, we all know there is hardly more than one template for Nigerian mainstream albums, it usually swings between four pendulums; Hustle, girls, country and God almost always in that order. However, Kenny mostly skipped the girls and doubled down on the hustle themes with an unusual combination of biblical parables and street-wiseness. Yes, he is Christian and while his music is purely secular, his influences from the gospel of Christ and the book of Proverbs are clearly obvious. This is clearly intentional and is indicative of Kenny’s nature to swim against the current.

Beyond track arrangement, Kenny extended the reach of his artistry, vibing on beats of different kind from solemn to afrobeats to standard hip-hop, doing justice to diverse kind of sounds. Unlike the typical Nigerian artiste who attempts to crowd our ears with fascinating  instrumentals in order to partially compensate for half-baked lyrics, Kenny differs in that he generally allows us the option to nod to the beat, mime the lyrics along with him or even marry both together in our head; whichever washes down your mug of beer faster. Tracks like Dedication, Ilefo Talent, Appreciation, reflect the upshot of actually laying down pen to paper to conceive well crafted messages to imagined audiences, sometimes sandwiching humorous lines between these messages. In Rap ati Nation, Kenny blends the story of his bittersweet rise in the industry along with the constant  disappointment that Nigerian masses are subjected to despite successive changes in government; mocking the popular antics of notorious politicians using  funny voice-overs and also suggesting what Nigerians have to do to free themselves.

Throughout the body of the work, Pentecostal Christianity stands out as a huge pillar of inspiration to Kenny and it seemed to some extent that the lyrics were patterned similarly lines from the book of Psalms strategically making use of repetition and parallelism to emphasize and drive home short homilies in both English and Yoruba. As the other pillar, Kenny shows off his skills as a disciple of street philosophy, albeit the Southwestern Nigeria’s version; the Omoluabi ideology which is somewhat reminiscent of DaGrin’s humble beginnings from conscious music before he (as MI famously put it) set the streets on fire with raw shit.

As a first attempt to suggest to us which sounds should be more pleasant to our ears, Kenny’s prescription was not perfect, he sometimes found himself trapped by his own vocals and new words eluded him on occasion as he stumbled back and forth on the beats, at other times he seemed like a stranger in his own music  letting experimentation take on the reins for too long. But having a compact collaboration team (producer and feature acts) kept the flaws at a minimal and gave a professional sense of direction. As a first attempt to prescribe which music is more medicinal, Kenny’s diagnosis was not wrong and I am curious to see where his trail blazes to from here.


Loni Rae is an artist, he lives in Rome, Italy.

Kenny’s Diagnosis : A Review of KennihGee’s "The Real Donald Trump" Album

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