Trace Music in the soup over ‘Gengetone on its deathbed’ comment


Music channel Trace East Africa suggested that Kenyan-grown “Gengetone” was dead, while hyping their Trace Twitter Space on Thursday, suggesting that on Gengetone’s former throne now sits South Africa’s catchy “Amapiano”. 

And, boy,  what a can of worms!

A promo from the outlet suggested that while Amapiano was soaring beyond the boundaries of Mzansi, Kenya’s gengetone rested on its deathbed. 

“Two genres rose from the streets in different countries.  As one soars to international levels, the other rests on its death bed,” Trace Eastern Africa Tweeted the promo. 

“What can we learn from the rise of Amapiano and other waves so we can apply it to our own sounds?” 

Kenya’s Muthoni was the first to join the fray, calling the outlet out for “malicious and insidious comments” that were not based on any known metrics. 

“Absolutely NOT! This is fallacious, malicious and insidious. Your part as trace is to PLATFORM work. What metric have you used to position a genre that’s evolving as dying? Muthoni DQ asked. 

The TV outlet had planned a Twitter discussion to debate the factors that contribute to the rise of a music genre/sub-genre to the national and international stage.

“Tonight we examine the factors that contribute to the rise of a music genre/sub-genre to the national and international stage,” Trace Tweeted. 

“How can a nation, music lover and industry players support music genres for longevity purposes?” 

Among those invited for the discussion were Blinky Bill, Eric Wainaina, Brian Muluvu and Charllote Bwana. Kenyans were quick to note that none of the Kenyan gengetone artists had been invited. 

“Also how do you talk about gengetone without its creators in the room. Yuk! SHAME!” Muthoni DP posed on Twitter. 

Kenyan producer and artist Blinky Bill who was among those selected to the panel discussion appeared to drop the mic in favour of a Gengetone artist. 

“Just spoke to the peeps @TraceEastAfrica I wanna give my mic to someone from the Gengetone world to speak in tonight’s space,” Blinky Tweeted. 

“They have built something from the ground up and that’s really valuable. I’ll still join as a producer.”

Another Tweep, @ Muluvu picked an issue with the wording in the Tweet, saying the outlet had appeared to look down on art that Kenyans had built from the ground. 

“Wording and Tone is very important. I’ve had a bad feeling of the caption used for the amapiano/gengetone Twitter spaces. You don’t tell Kenyans, in Kenya, that what they’ve built is on a death bed. I understand it wasn’t the intention.But let’s be more sensitive @TraceEastAfrica,” Muluvu

 Following the backlash, the outlet deleted the Tweet, and issued a statement, saying all are invited to join the discussion on ‘how best to propel sub-genres such as Gengetone to international heights’

The outlet also claimed to have reached out to Gengetone artists with a view of having them represented on the space. 

“We’ve heard you and absolutely agree with you that gengetone should be well represented in the space. Thank you for your recommendations as well. We are currently in communication with them,” the outlet Tweeted. 

“Thank you for sharing your sentiments with us. We’d like to clarify that Trace loves and supports Gengetone. Our intention for this space is to bring together creatives, industry players and music lovers to exchange ideas around rising music genres within Africa and key learnings” 

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