Exray Taniua forms one-third of leading Gengetone group Boondocks – with other members being Maddox and Odi wa Murang’a.
But it is his exploits as a solo artist earning Exray the biggest rewards. He had one of the biggest songs in Kenya in 2021, Sipangwingwi featuring teenage rap sensation Trio Mio and Ssaru, a young female emcee.
With its themes of not taking any instructions from anyone, Sipangwingi quickly became a hit in political circles as well – particularly among Deputy President William Ruto’s supporters and the DP himself who started weaving Sipangwingwi into speeches.
Ruto saw it as the perfect encapsulation of what he considers an attempt by three of Kenya’s political families to take control of affairs of the nation for years to come. The hustler, as he has branded himself, made it clear that he does not take instructions from the ‘dynasties’.
It therefore comes as no surprise that on Friday, April 8, Ruto unveiled his campaign anthem – Hatupangwingwi, a remix of Sipangwingi by Exray featuring snippets of the DP’s speeches.
On the remix, Exray rallies Ruto’s supporters and urges Kenyans to vote for the DP in the 2022 General Elections.
Exray also features in the music video alongside Ruto. The visuals are directed by Vikta Daniel.
Interestingly, the song was released on the same day the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) included Hatupangwingwi on its list of hateful political terms and phrases. Others include kihii, Uthamaki ni witu, and Kama ni mbaya, mbaya, kama noma, noma.
It is the latest example of the role of music in electoral politics in Kenya. Ruto’s main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga, has so far released a remix of Emmanuel Musindi’s Lero ni Lero as his campaign anthem.
He also features on a campaign song by popular singer Bahati.
Lero ni Lero was a hit on Luhya vernacular radio before it caught the attention of Odinga’s campaign. Musindi was brought in to rerecord the song for the campaign.
The song features snippets of Raila Odinga speeches and an appearance by the presidential candidate in the music video. It has been blaring at campaign stops across the country as Odinga sells his bid.