In Summary

  • On March 16 2003, when news of E-Sir’s untimely death broke, the country mourned arguably one of the most gifted rappers Kenya has ever seen. He would have been 36 years this week.
  • Today, E-Sir’s songs still have a powerful impact in the industry for both fans and artistes alike, no wonder they still get airplay in clubs as sentimental throwback songs, as all-time favourite Kenyan rap tracks and as a reminder that he was instrumental in revolutionising the hip hop scene.

It has been 14 years since Issah Mmari, popularly known to many as E-Sir passed on, and even though it has been more than a decade, fans and artistes in the music industry show no sign of forgetting him anytime soon.

Through the years, he has been eulogised with deep and heartfelt messages by those who adored his music, television and radio shows have dedicated segments of their programmes to him and tribute concerts held in his honour.

This year was not any different. Artistes paid glowing tributes to the late rapper who died in a road accident enroute to Nairobi after a successful show in Nakuru, on their social media platforms remembering him as a great musician, a brother and a legend. Nameless, who survived the accident that took E-Sir and had collaborated with him on Boomba Train and Maisha wrote on Instagram:

“14 years since you left. Miss you bro. Celebrate you bro,” followed with the hashtag “We still dance to your music, E-Sir Forever.”

Sauti Sol posted a special tribute with Bien Aime Baraza singing "Mos Mos". The group captioned the video: “On this day Issa Mmari aka E-Sir left us…but his music, spirit and legacy lives on.”

One of his closest friend rapper Big Pin shared a memory of the fallen musician, recounting the last conversation he had with E-Sir.

“15.03.2003, went for a sleep over at E-Sir’s place ...Interesting thing was that we had a very weird conversation, just not any type of conversation we would have on a normal day. Religion being a very sensitive one, he brought it up and advised that we should always go to church or mosque and be prayerful regardless of whether you are Muslim or Christian. Being some of the last hours, that was just too deep of him,” he said. “Talked to him after the show at Dimples and he was happy he killed the show and was to come and tell me the next day but it never came to pass. 14 years on, miss you bro,” wrote Big Pin.

On March 16 2003, when news of E-Sir’s untimely death broke, the country mourned arguably one of the most gifted rappers Kenya has ever seen. He would have been 36 years this week.

Today, E-Sir’s songs still have a powerful impact in the industry for both fans and artistes alike, no wonder they still get airplay in clubs as sentimental throwback songs, as all-time favourite Kenyan rap tracks and as a reminder that he was instrumental in revolutionising the hip hop scene.

DEFINING MOMENT IN MUSIC INDUSTRY

E-Sir’s career will perhaps always be remembered and celebrated as a defining moment in the music industry when through his music, he helped the craft gain recognition and respect in an urban culture that was just beginning to take shape.

His album Nimefika had numerous hits like "Nimefika ‘Jo’", "Saree", "Bamba", "Hamunitishi", "Mos Mos", "Kamata", "Boomba Train" and "Leo ni Leo".

With a glowing background like his, one question comes to mind, if E-Sir was alive today, would he have been a hit now as he was back then? Granted, several of his peers with whom he came up with like Nameless, Redsan, Wahu, Juacali, Nonini, Bigpin, Mr. Lenny, Brenda (Mos Mos) did very well for themselves. Some fizzled out and tried to make comebacks but unfortunately they did not stick.

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