Hip Hop in Africa has often been used to criticize the injustices and corruption that happens in their country. More often than not, songs will talk about the patronage system and everyday bribes they have to go through. Kenyan gene rapper Jimwat makes social and politically consciousness songs that talk about life in Kenya. Simama and Sitoi Kitu Kidogo for example address issues of corruption and bribery in Kenya.
Genge is a genre of Kenyan hip hop that uses sland or local dialects with Swahili. Jimwat’s use of genge in the video and song Sitoi Kitu Kidogo truly reaches the everyday Kenyan and their interactions with bribes. In the beginning of the song, it talks about the frustrations with having to give small bribes “Nimechoka na Kutoa Kitu Kidogo!” It then takes us through a story where the narrator meets a cop and ends up in jail because he fails to give the cop enough money to bribe him. The cop says “Mia mbili tu..?” which translates to “200 Only?” and the narrator replies “Ofisa jo! nimechoka na kutoa hongo”, “Okay officer please, I am tired of giving you bribes?”
Throughout the song Jimwat makes interesting commentary about just how difficult it is to avoid giving the cop a bribe even when the person does not have money. In addition, he talks about having to bribe not just cops, but other people even when getting a government ID. “Na kupata I.D ni tafash, si unaelewa kuna upuzi” , “And getting an ID is a problem, you know how that goes”. The narrator in the song is also only 18. Jimwat’s lyrics also mention how bribery affects everyone and of all ages, and that if you don’t pay the price, you could end up in jail for a false crime even at 18 simply for not paying a bribe. “Hawa mafala wanashika wakidi?”,“These idiots are catching kids?”
At the end of the song a new person is introduced once the narrator ends up in jail named Onyi. Onyi tells the story of how he ended up in jail. The song cleverly ends with the same chorus/lyrics in the beginning that showed the audience how our narrator ended up in jail.
The ending shows us that people constantly face bribes in life and not paying that bribe could cost you your freedom.