Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Politricks, funk, brews & Samba Boys

It's always unfortunate that people will resort to self destruction when they fail to gain attention by any other means. It is even sadder that when there are bigger troubles looming large, like the current drought and the dismal rain forecast for 2009 long rains, there is the Moi-era style of dabbling in student politics by the Kenyatta University administration, which certainly doesn't help keep things peaceful. But the destruction of KU, which is one of the more peaceful Nairobi pubilc higher education campuses is highly lamentable.

I had relatives who did battle in those early 90's Karl Marx era rampages as part of rowdy University of Nairobi students who have regaled me with great war stories, and some even recall that the mob at times even had a stategy of defending the hostels especially the womens' residences from the fury of of the regular and administration police and the GSU riot squads. Sadly, there are reports of rape by law enforcement elements and the bloodshed never ends well for some. Say a prayer dear friends.

Say a prayer for these too, perishing chasing a good thing in high seas with rickety vessels off the coast of Libya. 300 feared dead including children.

Google Maps Kenya is up and looking for your participation. Google Kenya is making good strides, ahead of the fibre-optic cables that will soon bring broadband to that part of the world.

Last year there was an interesting National Geographic piece about the existence of a dynasty of Black Pharoahs in Egypt circa 8th Century BC. Now, recent research uncovers a hidden face under the bust of Nefertiti. It always gets me how a lot of this priceless treasure is now in the hands of Westeners who won't hear nada about giving it back to it's rightful owners. How would they like it if Kenya, for example, owned a good portion of Rembrandts or Van Goghs? I won't even lie, this piece in The Daily Nation had me going for a little bit.

Africans doing it bigly: I just recently got hip to Norway based hip hop duo Madcon and their international hit single Beggin which was also incorporated into an Adidas tv ad thats been running stateside for many months now. They have a new album So Dark The Con Of Man hitting all shores in 2009. I don't know their heritage, but at one of them has an Ethiopian sounding name (Tshawe Baqwa and Yosef Wolde-Mariam), but I might be mistaken. They've been around since 1992 but Beggin is definitely the first I heard of them. It's a nice funky track. And the raps are reminiscent of a Black Thought.

Also worth checking out is Sierra Leone-born and New York based Chosan. He's currently promoting his debut collection The Beautiful Side Of Misery Vol. 1. It's hard to hate on his showmaship especially with the laytees fron-an-cenna as exposed below.

MsaniiXL's most recent podcast is definitely bumpin' and ready for your listening pleasure. Also in the vein of Afrocentric hiphop podcasts, check out Hiphocalypse's latest compilation featuring a slice from sincerely yours.

I was snooping around on the KBW aggregator and ran into this foodie's review of a microbrewery and lounge in Nairobi. The weather just broke where I'm at, and I can't look at the suddenly bearable, sunny outdoors without thinking about irrigating throats, a la the late great Whispers, and then I stumble on Nairobi microbrews in the german tradition. They might as well be the Holy Grail to me right now.

The recurring nightmare for Kenyan football in it's quest to qualify for any international tournament seems to be that the draw always puts a good North African team or West African team in our path. It is especially harrowing this go-around with Tunisia and Nigeria in Kenya's qualifying group. Mozambique aren't pushovers neither. At the end of the day, we don't invest in the game what these nations put in, so it eventually shows up on the score line. However it goes down in June 3rd when Nigeria comes a-calling (by which I mean them KE boys better win), the visit by Brazil's national team in July is sure to be a bigger sensation, and yet another personal Holy Grail, which I will only be able to savor in my imaginations and through the vicariousness of you lucky bastards that get to breathe the same air as the Samba Boys.

Three words: You are hated.

This better not be some more April foolery. I'm already emotionally invested.


Friday, February 20, 2009

54 Kingdoms, Blu & Kiss

Already up online but coming soon to brick-and-motar stores across the US this summer is a brand new afrocentric line, 54 Kingdoms. Not necessarily just a collection involving t-shirts and denim apparel, and the prints are defintely muthaland repping. Check out a recent write up on a pretty tight afro-centric portal Jamati Online. I know the economy got most of us hemmed, but you can definitely cop off their current teaser selection.

Check out the new project by fast rising West Coast wonderkid, Blu called Her Favorite Colo(u)r available here. Initial reviews are saying he sounds a little bit jaded a la Kanye West after coming correct for a good stretch. I haven't listened to it but you can't go bad with a Blu joint even as weepy as this joint is supposed to be.

You also can't go wrong with a little street heat from Jadakiss whose long awaited collaboration with DJ Green Lantern Kiss My Ass is available now as a hard hitting appetizer for the soon coming Def Jam album.

Even with new trillion dollar government spending and mortgage salvage plans, the stock market continues to slide. No one is really saying how badly the big US Banks doing and I can't help but feeling a little Republican. Some of them are so badly leveraged, they are going to die a horrible death or will cost the US Government heavy cake. Meanwhile as it is Oscar Awards season, best actor accolades should go to Bernard Madoff. He never bought a security in the last 10 years as he ran an investment enterprise. Bravo!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's so hard to say Goodbye...

....Way easier and more sumptuous to say hello.


It's been an extended minute. I mean, the last entry had Frank Lucas in it, written from deep in the G.W. Bush Dark Days. I hope the intervening period was blessed.

It wasn't without a grandiose ruckus that I walked away from these climes. Belee dat. Kicking and screaming, slugging and slapping. In the end, they say sometimes Life gives you lemons, and therefore, lemonade is on tap. In my goblet however, was a nice piece of hot vinegar. But if it won't kill, it will build. Praise Due to Him for Graces, Mercies and Learning both collasal and minute.

But I wasn't going to come around without a gift.

Available for download now, a brand new mixtape from Massachusetts-based, Kumasi, Ghana Godchild and a long time collaborator Smalls.

A.D.D. Afrikan. Dun. Did-It.

The concept was a long time in the making but with the recent ascension of the Son of Kogelo it might seem extremely timely or extremely opportunistic. Commemorative plate anyone?

That whole Inaguration souvenir cottage industry must be crying now that the historic hoopla is done with. Personally, I'd love to see it go on. Say, for example, he gets the $0.8 trillion fix-me-up through the House intact, these guys should make commemorative knife. Free healthcare, a bowl. Lobby reform, a spoon. Iraq withdrawal, champagne flutes. And then bring it all together with dinner napkins emblazoned with G.W. boarding that Marine helicopter to oblivion. In this manner, in 4 years they could have a commemorative dinner set and, then they would really cake it if he scores a do-over in 2012.

Minus my 7% consulting fee, of course.

Hopefully there's something for you on A.D.D. It feels good to break the drought.

Bon apetit.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dube, Lucas, Fire, Water & Records

They're weeping in Azania, We weep along with them.

Before the nation went rock, before the Sync Sound Revolution, before we took on the raging Bull of Life by the uncanny horns, fed on VoK drivel, as we ducked Saba Saba missiles and choked on Kamkunji gas, we heard visions in riddim.
  • Prisoner (1989)
  • Captured Live (1990)
  • House of Exile (1991)
  • Victims (1993)
  • Trinity (1995)

Without any irreverence to the other diadems in the 22 album Soundtrack to Love and Freedom, these I mention for I can testify with sincerity for them as being masterful expressions for a generation. We thank you.

Philip Lucky Dube. 1964-2007.


It had to happen. The Roc Boys have it on repeat in the studio, there've been pre-screenings for a good while now everywhere...the hood had to get it. Good quality too.

Initial response: Denzel and Russell do not disappoint. They did good to keep most aspects of the amazing Frank Lucas story in the film without slowing it down. How they connected Russell's character into the story was nicely done. Watched it twice in a row, had to trash a night recording session earlier in the week. The fam was bugging in the lab, we couldn't work after. This is definitely going to be the Black Gangster Flick that crosses over. Take somebody nice to see it.

First World Disaster Shelter style: the recent billion dollar Cali wildfires had started to create a Katrina type situation at Qualcomm stadium, but CNN reported acupuncture, yoga and child art modules at the shelters. From the frying pan into a prone position huh. While air quality is an issue, the scheduled NFL game at Qual is still on. Scuba gear on the Running Back?

30,000 strong at those recent Celtel Gospel events. Let them bang. Another weekend event is coming up in early November featuring Byron Cage, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Chevelle Franklin, Donald Lawrence, J Xavier, Junior Tucker, Dunamis among others. Interesting to see Reggae performers like Franklin and Tucker included. It's all very timely. This December we definitely need some Godly Shine through the polls.

Jigga's album's leaking in fits and sounding very promising. Let that b*tch breathe! Freeway and Beans round out the Roc Assault and Memph is also doing the rounds again. Beyond Reasonable Doubt, the scrapped tribute album is circulating.

Playaz Circle, DTPs latest vehicle of longtime DTPers Tity Boy and Dolla boy are also dumping. Luda, Rick Ross and Bub B air out a Clinton Sparks bouncy. Ransom and Buddens are switching heated bars. I loved the A-team. Nas has once again created buzz around his new album with some well placed controversy. Don't forget Facemob on the loaded December 4th and Weezy twice: in December and early 2008.

Some recent US Record sales if you care.

Stakes is high? Check how much water is in your glass.


Oh, to my man Kallous, Gun 'em Up.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Ja & Opium, The-Dream & Magazines

Aah, still balmy in the East. But the sun isn't the full story.

New albums are expected from Jay-Z, Styles P, Sheek Louch, Wu-Tang and Nas. In the first quarter of 08, anticipate new offerings from Pete Rock and Stack Bundles. They all have new music on the loose.

It's still bubbling here Up Top, Durty Souf Takeover and all. They gave Big Daddy Kane a Crying Ovation in Philadelphia recently. New Sony signee Jim Jones will be in town Sato.

Some lanes are getting official. Opium has a situation cooking.

And other lanes come back to haunt you.

Okay, so I've stated before that Ja Rule was washed up, but he's trying to gather some momentum especially in the wake of 50's (still not Platinum) recent non-stratospheric outing (For the record I was feeling Ja back in the Cash Money Clique era; It's the sing-along, new millenium dumbed down Ja that messed it up for me).

If "Body" is anything to go by, he's not shying away from what made him really popular at the beginning of this decade, the same style his nemesis took to the bank. He will be performing alongside Opium Black next weekend (I couldn't find Ja's side of the flyer, with apologies). Ja's been building his buzz since last April, and the scene is warming up to him way much better this time around.

This month's Vibe Magazine has a write up on new Def Jam artist, songwriter, producer and R&B pop tart Nivea's hubby The-Dream, who has easily done most of the heavy lifting in Urban Pop music this year with three catchy records: Rihanna's "Umbrella," J-Holiday's "Bed," and his own "Shawty Is a Ten." His album is expected in stores soon.

Online, Vibe chops it up with in vogue beatman DJ Toomp, while XXL is staying on top of Jigga's American Gangster gestation, just like they did with last year's Kingdom Come, with tantalizing peeks from the lab.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Bye Ciks, Radio & Records

Some sensations are best left unlearned, but you know the feeling. The one where the day starts off drab enough but as it wears on you quietly feel this looming dread, like something's off with the world. Without any explanation, you feel as if your emotions should be different from what they currently are. But it's impossible to put a finger on why. But you can't really dwell on the unknown so you try to play things cool and try to get your mind on another track...

The 27th of August was like that for me. My daily compadres could even sniff it off me or it was painted in my posture. I knew the feeling...something wild was up. Eventually early in September I got word that another magnificent person had dipped out of this existence.

Ciks, warm, loving, adventuresome, face like cool water in a Sahara noon. Wish I could've known you better. To Sweet and Crew, my sincere sympathies. We shall look out for The Gift.


It's been kitambos since I dipped through. Don't kill me I've started writing this particular entry so many times in the past few weeks, but keep getting pulled away. It's still hot outside. The grind continues. There's been some bossy things going on. We put together a brand for our region to make it distinct from anything else in the world. CTGC is the name of the movement at the forefront of a new eastern assault. It's basically a way to bring all the top talent out here to the masses. Initial buzz has been good, radio has embraced us and a small tour is in the works.

Speaking of radio, Friday Sept 14th at 10:41 pm things finally came full circle. For the first time ever I heard a song that I produced, recorded and mixed get spun on radio. It's a little reggae thing we did late in the summer. Special shout out to DJ Wrexx and DJ Phenom. Y'all go in!

While everyone has been excited about the return of the Greatest Waste of Sunday ever created, sorry, I mean the NFL, I've been more keen on the Rugby World Cup. Although I've only really watched a handful of games, it's a needed restoration of my sanity.

Caught 50 Cent at an impromptu performance the day before his album dropped. Onstage he's tight and very polished. Although the venue wasn't packed to the rafters, the crowd was jumping for the duration of the 90 minute set. A lot of people are making a fuss about the first week album sales but the more telling statistic: the second week numbers that fell by at least 75% for both Kanye and Fif. Who knew Talib Kweli (68k) would debut on top of Swizz Beatz, (28k) who seemed to have all the major media outlets on smash. The biggest loser though must be T.I. who has to deal with seeing former long time collaborator DJ Toomp throw his synth game with beautiful effect all over Kanye's album.

In the meantime you can all lament the burial of music videos as a mainstream tv format in the US. Viacom's BET, the last network standing as far as playing videos instead of alternative non music related programming, has ditched all pretentions of playing videos even for 3 hours a day. The once hallowed Rap City is now a late night afterthought.

Pray for the babies, and Free Jena 6!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pieces of August

Three Mondays ago, the good folks at rapmullet.com finally caught up with Opium's early spring mixtape for one of their never-ending mixtape reviews. An early Monday blessing for me, with the honorable mention. I was able to sneak 5 beats this go-around and at least one stuck on the reviewer. Good fuel for the grind. New Opium music arrives in a few weeks.

August has bottomed out weatherwise. It's usually unbearably balmy for some, but not for me. So seeing the hoodies and longsleeved outerwear come out this early is not cool. Maybe it's fitting. I'm still black inside after I lost someone I loved to cancer earlier this year. Plus it isn't always glory in the summer: two block wheelies on the Hayabusas, mamis in impossible shorts, performances, cookouts and slow sliding down streets blasting Gyptian in the city. Stand up people get sent up no bail, ones who don't know how to man up suffer man-downs and the determined will forcibly yank your cake.Then again, there're moments when you see up-and-up situations and through the grind and the pitfalls you still feel the blessings.

Common debuted on top with 155K. A good number in these shrunk market days. Talib Kweli, who's enjoying a good look with his album, is feeding the streets along with Clinton Sparks. Check out the brand new mixtape.

I don't know about your hood, but around here Max B is riding that Dipset crest well. His second show in as many weeks at the same venue goes down this weekend. It's a spectacle how these more hardcore street-oriented rappers get celebrity status in these grimy northeastern cities with or without an album. Mobb Deep, D-Block, Red Cafe, Cassidy and others receive a lot of adulation. Being in a position to be behind the scenes and seeing the digi-cam flashbulbs going off at paparazzi rates when Max B pulled up to the venue by a mob of mostly women caught me off guard. And some of these ladies can be of an exquisite rare breed... can quote Styles P better than me!

Speaking of behind the scenes, reggae's premier recording band Morgan Heritage were in town recently, which is sort of a homecoming for them, and I got the opportunity to kick with them on the tour bus as well as take in an hour-long set from an offstage vantage point. World class professionals, easy going, deeply Rasta and the cali bud smouldering in the back of the bus was making the window panes gooey. And their music: it really does sound much better than the record. Outstanding musicianship.



Friday, August 03, 2007

Do You Know What Today Is......

If Klara didn't blurt, I would have forgotten that my first year anniversary recently came and went.

Hold on while I find that Tony Toni Tone cut....

It's been a year y'all, although the latter part of it has been largely silent (Coming soon: Top 10 Reasons I Dissed The Blog this Summer). But for utilizing your eyeballs on this space, you, whoever you may be, whatever flavor of ice cream you like, no matter who you have gagged and tied up back at home, I feel enormous gratitude.

It's the Bombay talking...
next up: Tanq


I'm really tired of the Michael Vick backlash, all these folks who give dogs kisses and hugs, let them ride passenger in their cars, and buy them birthday cakes, crying about dog fighting. While Dick Cheney couldn't even get a Police Report done when he mistook a hunting partner for a bird. If recreational hunting and fishing are okay, as in hunting or fishing for which the primary goal isn't to provide sustenance, then dog fighting should be palatable too.


I didn't believe it when I heard Ginuwine on the Walt Baby Love R&B countdown in 1998 talking about how he was unable to keep up with what music was on the radio or out on the market while he worked with Timbaland on 100% Ginuwine. This summer has been a revalation in that lesson, especially since I really haven't been doing the clubs or mixtapes, and hence without reason to keep up, while I stay in the lab cooking.

But I couldn't stay away for good. Chrisete Michele's Def Jam album I Am is a wonderful excursion in Jazz tinged soul with some hiphop thrown in to keep the likes of me stuck. Pharaohe Monch did pretty good with his album after a 8 year break, but SRC don't understand the kind of gem he brought to them. "When the Gun Draws" needs a video badly. Talib Kweli's new joint Ear Drum knocks. He gave Pete Rock a good look with all them beats. There is definitely some beautiful work in there as he expands and becomes more worldly, I dare say? T.I.'s joint was little worn for me. Nothing extraordinary.

Also trying to get with:

Mavado - enough already with that gangsta chant, riddim after riddim and no album. Finally!

Common - The hood talks, and he was recently around on tour with Lupe and Kanye. Word is he stole that show. I last saw him doing duty with his band Black Girl Named Becky a few years back and he was righteous. Definitely worth the effort to check him out, as should banging the new LP, Finding Forever.

Keith Murray - Def Squad cool. Worth the price of the Sermon beats alone.

Elephant Man - Five O is sickly to me.

Munga Honarable - a reggae revalation from Capleton's camp

Ransom - Best In The City Part 2. New Jersey dude is hardbody.

Somebody might pepeta me after this.
Opium Black - Black Plague. The mixtape. Take it.

A goodly weekend to you.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Top Eight @ 8


Waay past Fashionably late, more like tragically.

Short is sweet. Eloquence in the minimum is one of my current muses.

Smoky voiced chicks have a headstart with me.

Eternally I shall fiend for raw funk.

In my musical dabbling I haven't been really starstruck by anyone, but I was deeply humbled when I met reggae impresario Calvin "Cocoa Tea" George Scott.
it's majorly owed.

I love horror flicks, macab in becoup, but I shouldn't say that. It's been a black summer.

I can't gain a damn kilo. Ever since young boy high school rudgescapades, it's been mbweha season without a muscle to show for it.

To Bang out Tunes. Wished on being a fly on the wall, now maybe I can chisel the walls in. I'm Grateful for that shot.

Four plus four
I believe in guardian angels. Listen.

Now all that other mess about Picking 'Em and Bait. Bilaz. You Lost.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Elastoplast Cup

The names have been changed to avoid fingers being pointed directly at me.

Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Mugo was quickly enraptured by the white clarity in which her dark irises floated on and almost forgot to hear what she said next.

"It's you!" she hissed, instinctively backing away from him.

From a far away place, Mugo heard a gaggle of laughter from his boys and his mind zoomed off in fantastic rewind.


The Std 1 class of Mrs Phylis Ogot was his first exposure. The first few weeks of school had been fun, even more so because Mrs Ogot didn't know just how many other kids Mugo was already friendly with. Every other day he was reassigned a desk mate, and almost each combination of boys he was paired to sit with had brought on another installment of in-class bedlam. While Mugo was smart enough to pay attention and buckle down when necessary, his comrades were more blatant in their disregard for Mrs Ogot in class, a transgression for which Mugo would pay for as lead instigator.

"Duncan was not like this before he was sitting with you Mugo. He hasn't done his English exercises today and yet he was doing them last week. What are you telling him?" The harangue would always come before a six stroke whipping with a three foot piece of garden hose across the back of his legs. It wasn't his fault that Duncan didn't want to finish his work before they embarked on the more interesting rubber band wars. And Duncan only got four canes and a warning, while Mugo was stuck with six delicious ones and a threat to get Mummy and Daddy involved. The previous week with Philip and the week before that with William it was the same thing. Mugo would find himself walking back to his seat, back bowed, rubbing the welts on the back of his legs, hot tears lingering in his eyes on the edge of a shameful dispatch down his face.

Mrs Ogot was keen to tame Mugo's hyperactivity and to also channel his seemingly effortless ease at school work. There was a girl in the class, shy almost to a fault, who didn't seem to have grasped the alphabet fully, let alone write her name on top of an exercise book. She would prove to be the interactive brick wall that Mugo would not be able to get into mischief with. For now. Then when the turf got more familiar, Mugo's brilliance would rub off on her. Mrs Ogot smiled her knowing smile. She should've thought of that weeks ago.

"Catherine, I want to grab your bag and go and sit with Duncan. Mugo, I want you to go sit at Catherine's place next to Florence." Catherine rose gleefully as if she had been ordered to the playground forever, while Mugo tried hard to keep a straight face as he slowly shuffled away from his back-of-the-class suite with Duncan over to the desk that was linked to Florence's. Florence was oblivious to all this, her face stuck to the desk, fast asleep. She came to with a start as Mrs Ogot bellowed her name with one side of her face sweaty. The class chuckled.

Mugo got his first good look at Florence. If all the stories were true he was going to hate her. Catherine had been going on and on during breaks about how Florence smelled like urine and how she like to play with her spit, using it to draw on her arm and her desk, to the general disgust of her audience. Then when it became apparent that Florence didn't know her numbers or her letters, it got even funnier. Some speculated she was mad. It didn't help that she talked to herself but rarely spoke in class, was caught napping all the time and wrote in her book backwards like an Arabian. Mugo regarded her as he approached his front-of-the -class confinement cell: bony thin; disheveled hair with knots; the blouse, sweater and skirt combination that were twice her size; the sweater was already frayed at the cuffs; her upper teeth that peeped slightly from underneath a struggling upper lip and those big bulbous eyes, red at the corners, that seemed designed to fit a face on a totally different strain of humanoid.

There and then Mugo decided not to like the girl at all.

Three days later and Mugo still couldn't believe he was still sitting in front of the class with Florence. It never seemed to stop. Daily she would show up giving off a whiff of stale pee, hair still raggedy. All her books were dog eared and she like to deface the pictures in them with her pencil while she whispered to herself. When it came to schoolwork Mugo was not appreciating how she always seemed to get off the hook with Mrs Ogot. While apparently he couldn't draw a good enough car during art class, she drew a cat, and got the teachers approval. Cats were the only thing she knew how to drew, and stick figure men. Lots of cats, lots of stick figure men, all the time. Even when the teacher commissioned pieces depicting a Safari Rally Car. And whenever Mrs. Ogot wasn't looking, the fun happened without Mugo. He would watch with a rock stuck down his throat as Duncan and cohorts flipped through a new Jocks and Georgies comic book or launched paper jets out of the window. Events for which up to recently he had been the main steward.

Then one afternoon not too long after, while conducting a mathematics session in the class, Mrs Ogot wrote up some sums in the chalkboard, and then went around the class supervising and giving one-on-one instructions. Mugo wrapped his sums up and turned away from Florence as he usually did and quietly watched Anthony's work progress. Anthony sat directly behind Mugo and they had become quite friendly. Soon Anthony was done and both he and Mugo started whispering to each other. Suddenly the quiet murmur in the class was cracked by a shrill proclamation.

"Teacher! Teacher! Mugo and Anthony are talking!"

Even Mrs Ogot was amazed at Florence's unsolicited outburst. She dropped her other pupils and approached frowning, another caning looming for Mugo. But Florence's speaking up for the first time was probably the only reason why Mugo and Anthony escaped, or maybe also for the fact that Florence had also inexplicably done all her math sums, and they were all correct. Just like Mugo's. Mugo knew better, the wily wench had copied his work. When Mrs Ogot turned away she pulled out her tongue at Mugo and glared at him with her outlandish orbs. Mugo was amazed at this sudden escalation in hostilities. While before, he tried to totally ignore her and deal with Anthony and his more becoming desk mate, Janet, waging a silent war of ignoring Florence to the maximum, this was brand new territory that Mugo had not seen coming.

It got worse the following day, she copied his English exercises in the morning and started pinching Mugo on his thighs, where his lower limbs showed from underneath his shorts. Mugo, trying not to call anymore attention on himself, refused to let himself alert Mrs Ogot. Florence got braver that afternoon, pointing a thin finger at him and letting a warm flap of spit land spectacularly in his eye. Before Mugo could react, she spoke out again.

"Teacher, teacher, Mugo is pinching me!"

Mugo was flabbergasted, not knowing how he ended up on the wrong end of a set-up. Once again he found himself shuffling back to his seat, the back of his legs burning and Florence showing her version of a cheeky smile. Cold rage sat with him as he rubbed his legs, one word burning in his head: WANTED!

that Nairobi school version of the Mafioso's Black Hand. If someone placed a wanted on you it meant that that person had a score to settle and it usually meant fisticuffs of some kind outside of any adult jurisdiction. It could be through a gentleman's pact with a date and time for the fight penciled in, or it could be an unannounced guerrilla attack by one or many on the victim. Florence had just earned herself one.

The execution of the Wanted came easily for Mugo. He briefed Duncan as soon as the bell rang for the end of school that day. They both knew Florence waited for her father to come pick her up in a small fiat. She would be sitting alone by the parking lot in the shaded bay or in the sun scrawling some type of hex or hieroglyphics in the dirt. All Duncan had to do was divert Mugo's cousin who always came to pick him up from school with a story that Mugo had already left. While the cousin was distracted, Mugo would nail Florence.

Mugo's cousin, Rose got worried as soon as Duncan planted the lie and quickly began retracing her steps to see if she had missed Mugo down the street somewhere. Meanwhile, Mugo who had been watching for that exit, raced to execute. He had his sweater wrapped around his head in his best effort to imitate a ninja mask. Florence sat facing towards the parking lot her eyes directly in the path of the lowering sun, like she enjoyed staring into it. Mugo wondered about that odd behavior as he turned the corner and came up on Florence from behind, grabbing her by the shoulder and turning her so her face ran into the open palm that came down towards it with a resounding slap.

Mugo didn't even stop to admire his work, but he definitely heard her thin voice grow into a loud wail. He scooted off racing towards the school gate, mingling with the crowd of exiting children, grabbing his backpack from a patient Duncan who was waiting right outside his gate and they ran off to meet Mugo's cousin down the street.

Florence never returned to school the next day, or ever again.


The Kenya National Music Festivals for schools have always been a prime angling spot for high-school students to meet and mingle, under the guise of performance arts, to make some interesting connections that could be cashed in during the school holidays. Mugo was there with his three buddies and in the essence of keeping things interesting they had come up with a challenge. Each would have to approach a strange female that the other ones picked and try to make friends or make connection. Already one of them, Edwin, had made a pretty good case for himself, snatching up a part-tanzanian beauty's charms.

Mugo's turn. They picked out a slim but curvy concoction in a light blue blouse and navy blue skirt with hair that came down to her shoudlers. Mugo clapped in excitement, "Thank you so much. I know we can't tell what she looks like from here but I can tell you that she is flyer than Tabitha, Edwin." And he left his crew crowing happily at the expense of Edwin's portly girlfriend.

Mugo marched off, shoulders square. His target was ambling slowly with another accomplice on their way back to the plenary hall, to watch a performance perhaps. He was catching up to them speedily. They stopped as they ran into a group of boys in a maroon uniform and Mugo watched the engagement from a short distance. His target was indeed really pretty. Her smile flashed brightly, the pearls in her mouth brilliant in the sun. He waited to see if his quarry was lost to the boys in maroon. The ladies split from the guys and kept walking. Mugo saw his chance to swoop. He quickened his step and was on them almost immediately.

"Excuse me," he said in the deepest baritone his 16 year old voice could attain. The ladies turned around. "I was wondering whether you ladies are from my cousin's school," a cheap lie that had worked the day before on pretty much every girl Mugo spit that opener to. Mugo was solely tuned in to his attractive mark, whose smile faded and immediately looked at him inquisitively. Mugo felt a little hot at the collar in the four-fifty -something Nairobi heat, his mind trying to figure out why her face looked familiar. She needed to unleash that smile again, it was intoxicating to Mugo. An uneasy silence grew as Mugo racked his brains.

Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Mugo was quickly enraptured by the white clarity in which her dark irises floated on and almost forgot to hear what she said next.

"It's you!" she hissed, instinctively backing away from him.

From a far away place, Mugo heard a gaggle of laughter from his boys and his mind zoomed off in fantastic rewind.

He immediately remembered Duncan, Mrs Ogot, badly drawn cats and stick figure men, a whiff of stale urine and a wail that started low and built in cresendo and sad emotion. Mugo swiftly kicked back to reality with the cries echoing in his mind. In place of the the long lost euphoria of a Wanted executed perfectly was shame, at a Wanted executed perfectly.

"That was a long time ago Florence, we were only in class one."

He was talking to the wind. She had turned around with her accomplice and melted into the crowd, leaving Mugo watching aghast. His rowdy crew finally caught up with him, one of them in near tears. They had found their champion.

Mugo had to wear the Elastoplast Band somewhere prominent, like on the face or neck for the next three days.