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King Kerby Enters His Superstar Era

King Kerby has been a key player in the Kenyan music industry, and has solidified himself as a lyrical master over years now. The proud South C native (home of greats such as E-Sir) now enters a new consciousness with his third studio album ‘SABA’, the first under his company Zama Sessions.


SABA, which translates to Seven in Kiswahili, is said to be a divine number that offers a sense of purpose to those that resonate with it. The album is an 8 track offering that boasts a collaboration between Kenya and South Africa, through artists Ta Eish who’s been steadily making waves in the HipHop scene in South Africa, gracing stages like Cottonfest, as well as up and coming songstress O’Hara who we hear throughout the project.


“The record is called Saba because that is the number of divine alignment and purpose. This is my superstar era and I want to hug it as tightly as possible. The music, business, and all my actions reflect this because the inner work has been done and now the music can thrive off that” 

Wengi, the first song on the album, is also the first single released about a month before the project dropped along with a music video shot by South African Mvjor Plv. It starts the project off with drill beats put together by Cape Town based producers Zino D and Ldbeats - the high energy introduction letting us know that it is a new era for King Kerby, and that he’s coming in heavy while still staying retaining his smooth nature. Having taken the time to work on his craft, he no longer feels the need to prove himself to anyone anymore and that he’s simply going to let the work speak for itself.  Perhaps the album opener is a callback to his first drill song YKTD with Big Yasa, produced by RVMP of XPRSO, which carries with it similar energy and message. 



“If niggas aint worthy, we do not engage,  we’ve been out the way, stay in our lane, they be shooting bullets but they fire from a cage”

Out The Way is where we first get to hear Ta Eish on the project. Eish delivers a catchy hook that complements Kerby’s lyricism and general feel good energy of the song with its subtle but present cockiness. The story of confidence in his journey continues on in Flow So Cold, which is embellished with O’Hara’s sultry vocals in her verse and chorus. Their voices blend delightfully together in this song, and in the rest of the tracks that they show up together.


Possibly the sonic and visual fan favourite, Re-Align has a bounce that the other songs don’t have and a music video graced with lyrical dancers, which encompass the feeling of the song forthrightly. For his audience, I think this is the most relatable song too. Known for his conscious view of life, through his holistic and wellness business Uzima Network and personal practices,  Re-Align talks about just that. In this song and the album generally, Kerby reminds us that the journey to alignment and genuine self expression is not easy in the slightest, but is wholly rewarding and fulfilling to the soul. Oceans also touches on the topic of dealing with the motions of his artistry and philosophical outlook on life. He reiterates that he is imperfect just like the rest of humanity and is bound to make mistakes despite our perception of him or what we see on social media. Oceans has a melancholic tone to it and is the most vulnerable track delivered on the album. He mentions past trauma, seeking therapy and the fear of judgement despite it all. 



Before SABA, Kerby released an EP called Accra Nights where he chronicles his travels to Ghana. He does this again in Hapa Kule and Summertime, which both speak to the physical journeys Kerby took to grow his artistry and build his network in the last year. Hapa Kule asserts his globe-trotting tendencies and the impact that change of scenery has had on him and his work. Summertime follows up this chain of thought; it speaks to the changes that come with the different phases of life as one grows, leaving things and people behind, feeling a sense of nostalgia, and the intense but inevitable result of growing pains. Here we get to hear all three artists on the same track in such a cohesive way that you almost miss it. By the time we get near the end of the album, the familiarity of the voices is comforting in a way that sounds like an epilogue of a story. 


The last song Furnace is a short and sweet reggae infused interlude cum outro, probably teasing the continuation of his superstar chapter. Taking in the pain and transmuting it into something positive for himself. King Kerby sounds good on reggae, and so does O’Hara, so that would be something compelling to look forward to as well. 


SABA is an album about growth. The opportunities as well as the obstacles presented by such growth and having the faith that all will be well. King Kerby boasts confidence in a uniquely vulnerable way. The album is accompanied by really great music videos pursued as a collective effort between Kenyan and South African video directors and producers. It seems there’s more visuals from the album making their way to us, so keep a keen eye out.

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