High Renaissance in the Reign seasonReading Time: 4 minutes
An earlier version of this article stated that the wrong name of the host of Hip Hop Culture. Article has been updated and corrected.
In his production, writing, rap flow, and deliveries, the messenger in the Nu Age of “do better” is true to himself. Any way you look at it, High Renaissance fits in the Hip Hop entertainment scene. Whether you’ve been a day-one fan or you’re hearing of his music right now, the art sounds and feels familiar.
Soulful and mellow, High Renaissance packs a mean punch on his songs with his hardcore storytelling and lyricism. A music producer, rapper and sound engineer, Peter Njuguna is one of the most promising acts of 2019. In his music, High Renaissance proves he is a character who can be equally deep as well as playful corny.
It is rare to come across a new generation artist who is evolving beyond the preconcieved notions of what a rapper/MC is supposed to be. Rested in his truth but at the same time you can feel the visionary elements in the work he churns out – Trabolee
A few years ago, the now confident rapper recorded his first official single, paid for by his mum, but never released it. Crippling self-doubt and need for validation was the cause of this. He knew that nobody would listen to “just another hip hop song”. On top of it, he was not a rapper to begin with. His roots in music started growing in the church where he played the piano during youth service.
When he joined Muhuri Muchiri high School, he met an aspiring gospel rapper and this is where he came across music production. Shortly after, he changed schools as well as shifted with his family to where he calls home now, Ongata Rongai. By sheer luck, his new neighbour had a DJ deck and they used to hang out a lot bumping classic Hip Hop and underground albums. He started writing his own raps during this time
Open mic and exposure
It is not unusual to find a cracked version of Fruity Loops on a campus dude’s laptop. The case wasn’t different for High Renaissance while he was in JKUAT Karen doing his diploma. However, FL 11 was too much for him and he abandoned it for rapping. He started performing at open mics at school and got to perform at CUEA too. This exposure to different crowds boosted his confidence in the studio. Previously, he used to write exclusively in Sheng because English was too bourgeois for him.
After graduating with a diploma, he joined KCA University for a degree in Information Security & Forensics (he graduated in 2018). Here, he became classmates with DJ Fita, an electronic dance music producer, DJ and remixer.
With the help of DJ Fita and King Kiid, he slowly got back to production as well as going out more to perform. He recorded a future classic, ‘Vibrations’ with Malawian rapper and also his classmate SpyKen in February 2018. This was his first big break track.
He got his first radio spin and interview because of it. “When we first played Vibration’s, fans on my timeline wanted to know who that was – with the old school feel in a scene that leans on trap” recalls Ruby V, host of Hip Hop Culture on Homeboyz Radio. “The reception was great and fans loved it. I’m a bit of an old soul myself and to hear hard-hitting boompab beats by a new generation artist is really dope! We brought him to the show and he became a fan favourite.”
Late 2018, he joined DJ Fita on Break It All Tour to Kigali through Kampala. He started writing material for what would become Reign LP. Set to release on 10 February 2019, the tape was delayed and released 6 days later. He held an intimate listening party for friends and family and this marked the beginning of Reign Season.
The LP has earned High Renaissance critical acclaim from critics, fans as well as other musicians.
“It is rare to come across a new generation artist who is evolving beyond the preconceived notions of what a rapper/MC is supposed to be. Rested in his truth but at the same time you can feel the visionary elements in the work he churns out” comments rising star Trabolee.
X-Ray King, a close friend and fellow Philosophy Records rapper sees High Renaissance as a compliment to his craft. “Popping at the same time with High Renaissance was always a goal. We knew that teamwork beats talent and that’s why we joined hands since we’re both working towards the same goal. Seeing things falling into place is a win.”
High Renaissance live at Nairobi Hip Hop Rapsody
While High Renaissance prepares for his first major headlining gig, Nairobi Hip Hop Rapsody at Club Muze, Westlands, the streets are waking up and nodding at the apex predator. Nairobi’s leading rap-battle organizer, Ondu StreetLawyer says that “in a time when penmanship is being overlooked in rap, HR is the future. High Renaissance is an old soul as far as lyricism is concerned. Reign is a solid project that proves one can still have a major impact in the game in 2019 as a dope writer and rapper. ”
High Renaissance will be performing this Friday 17th May at Club Muze, Westlands, for the third edition of Nairobi Rapsody. Entrance is absolutely free. Read more here.
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