In the candied a capella of “Greener,” the sweet aroma of “Sweet Aroma,” through the smooth psychedelia of “Traveler,” the addictive nectar of the string placements on “Flowers,” to the ingenious synthesis of the superego anthem “G.O. A.T,” all of which belong on his debut solo LP, the ever–evolving Kenyan marksman, Nyashinski is as clinical as they come.
You may already be aware of this due to the vast acreage of his previous work as member of the award-winning Kleptomaniacs trio, his long list of sparkly collaborations, or beloved singles such as “Malaika” and “Bebi Bebi.” Perhaps, you’re only now coming into the knowledge of this gem. Either way, Lucky You.
If you know what you’re about, twelve songs are just the right length within which to whip up an enveloping, global product. Welcome, then, to the charming experience that is the shinski method.
The flows come direct and dynamic; warm and tender here, grim and sour there. The man has “too much on my mind.” It’s written all over the album, more so on track ten, from which the above line is taken. Prescribed by the active emotions of one fearlessly alive to life itself, the subjects explored on the collection comprise of an assorted spectrum ranging from politics of love to the politics of glory.
Lucky You goeseverywhere with the sound, but at the same time, is rooted in the uncompromising originality that colours truly worthwhile albums. “Wach Wach,” “Glory,” and “Too Much” trap within their scorching hip-hop, the attitudes of a nonconformist, the mind state of a champion, as well as the trappings of being “close to the edge.” “Fathela” is constructed around the dark melody of male humming augmented by the acoustic timing of guitar strums, “Time” experiments with island groove, whereas “Lucky You” instructs dance.
When you’ve achieved the artistic peaks that Nyashinski has managed, new top-shelve offerings are not as straightforward: expectations become a real thing. He must work without the innocence and defiance that he so freely tapped into with his first few songs. If anything, the man reechoes Dr. Angelou’s sentiments that the openhanded creative never lacks; only multiplying in his giftings, for with distinct panache, he has harnessed his unique outlook into something truly profound. Thus, the thirty-four–minute sonic journey, by the time its victorious final minutes play out, succeeds as an emphatic demonstration of how a meister operates. Lucky You is the latest illustration that Nyashinski is — on a continent that thrives on sonic innovation — among the most inventive Kenyans at work today.
Lucky You is released on Geta International. Get it here.
A version of this piece appears on Medium