Top Kenyan rapper Khaligraph of the “Micasa Sucasa” fame will make a debut on Coke Studio Africa this year collaborating with Rwandese singer Bruce Melodie, another first timer on the show. The pairing will be produced by superstar South African music producer DJ Maphorisa returning on the show for a second time, and recording several artistes including American R&B and pop star: Jason Derulo for Coke Studio’s upcoming Global Fusion Edition.

The star is well known for creating the anthem “Yego” a song inspired by javelin wonder and “Mr. YouTube Man” Julius Yego who made history in the 2015 World Championships where he won the gold medal with a throw of 92.72m. Even more recently he released his controversial track “Toa Tint” as a response to headlines about his alleged skin bleaching. Khaligraph made an appearance on national TV and Kenyans were “appalled” by his much lighter skin tone.

Read: The Global Fusion Edition of Coke Studio Africa kicks off with a bang

When questioned on the drastic change the rapper claimed that his skin was lighter because he was “drinking better water” and “hustling in the sun much less.” The fallout however did not end there as music rival Octopizzo (a coke studio veteran who has made several appearances) called him out on social media, telling Khaligraph that he could always open up about any self-esteem issues he might be having. The song therefore addresses the allegations and points out that it does not matter whether he bleached his skin as his rap game is still on top.

That the rapper is featuring on this season of coke studio is testament to his talent and will help keep fans focused on the music regardless of how questionable his recent choices seem. While exclusively speaking about his experience on the show in Nairobi during the show’s recording, Khaligraph said, “I am very happy to be part of Coke Studio this time round. So far, it’s a very good experience for me.” About working with Bruce Melodie, Khaligraph says, “I’ve worked with different artistes but Coke Studio is unique as you work with an artiste closely and get to know them more beyond the music. Plus it’s always good to link up with artistes from different backgrounds and countries. On Coke Studio, you are able to exchange ideas and come up with a proper mixture of ideas,” adding, “It’s a great look too.”

Kenyan rapper Khaligraph debuts on Coke Studio Africa. Photo: Coke Studio Africa.

His collaborator Bruce said, “At first I didn’t want to collaborate with a rapper but after starting to collaborate with Khaligraph I got to know that the show’s producers and directors know what they are doing when they set up the pairings,” enthusing, “Khaligraph and I match perfectly and I like him because he is a hard worker.”

Read: The repatriation of Kenya’s musical heritage

This year Coke Studio has merged Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa into one—bigger and better Coke Studio Africa 2017.

Coke Studio Africa

Coke Studio Africa is Coca-Cola’s flagship African music show. It is a non-competitive music show that brings together diverse African music talent for world-class showcases, while giving upcoming artistes the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music and production talent. It brings together artistes from different genres, eras and regions to create a modern and authentic African sound through music fusion.

The production now includes artistes from South Africa, Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia and Cameroon. The last edition featured Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo whilst South Africa had its own production. This season will broadcast in more than 30 countries across Africa.