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Beats & Bars: Not Your Average Rap Duo

By Martin Siele (@S_iele)

Beats and Bars isn’t your average rap duo.

Made up of K-Rop (Beats) and Boutros (Bars), the tag team has fans excited thanks to their first full-length project, Let’s Connect.

Listening to their smooth, diverse sound, one might fail to realize that they do it all themselves; from songwriting to rapping and producing.

The duo is also behind a popular recording studio in Nairobi’s Tassia Estate, Juiced Up Studios.

Loud.co.ke caught up with Beats and Bars on Friday, November 6 as they geared up for the release of the Asmbamba music video, the first set of visuals from the Let’s Connect album.

The music video is set to be released on Saturday, November 7.

Unknown to many, it is the second time they are releasing a single named Asmbamba, having reworked an old song from the early days of Bars’ career.

Back in 2016, when he was still a solo artist, Bars, then known as Young Boy, dropped a trap banger on his Soundcloud channel.

Bars

“At the time I was going through a lot of things, and I’d just lost one of my brothers… so Asmbamba was something I came up with as a way of showing gratitude for the simple things and smiling through the storm,” he stated.

Years later, when working on their first album, they decided to release a second, reworked version of Asmbamba, but with everything taken to the next level, from the beats to the bars and the visuals.

“It’s a good song, so we listened to it and thought, how can we take this and make it harder,” Bars explained.

While the duo had grown up together, it wasn’t until they interacted while undertaking guitar lessons that Beats and Bars started to come together.

Bars revealed that he had always harbored a deep passion for music since he was young, and immersed himself in honing the craft as soon as he was done with high school.

“I loved music since I was a kid, I knew Beats but I wasn’t aware of his passion for music until I took up guitar lessons after high school, and he was learning as well,” he explained.

Along with a third, female member, they first formed an afro-pop band known as Think_tanic.

While they made some great music together and grew as artists, the band barely lasted two years as members decided it was time to switch things up.

“With the band, for example, we could release just two songs in a year. So we felt we needed to do more, and that’s when we split up and formed Beats and Bars,” Boutros revealed.

In 2019, Juiced Up Studios officially opened its doors setting the stage for the next phase of their journey.

They began work on their first album while at the same time working with several talented artists.

Album cover for Let's Connect by Beats and Bars
Album cover for Let’s Connect by Beats and Bars

Their in-house skills, however, helped them navigate the challenges of working on multiple projects at the same time.

“We work to bring up other artists even when working on our own new projects,” Boutross revealed.

Beats and Bars is also behind the live music series known as ‘Juiced Up Sessions’.

The sessions feature live musical performances and had proved popular before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Now, with restrictions eased, Bars disclosed that Juiced Up sessions were set for a come-back.

“We took a little bit of a break but we’ll be coming back soon with live music,” Bars confirmed.

Listening to the Let’s Connect album, the influence of their band days is apparent as they deliver a range of versatile sounds.

If you were expecting to hear 11 trap beats back to back, this album isn’t for you.

It features an eclectic mix of hip-hop, African sounds, dancehall and more.

Bars
Beats

“We want our music to appeal to everyone, not just a specific type of person. We’re experimental and we want to capture the industry.

“It’s why we’ve integrated different sounds, we’ve also tried to fuse African culture sounds with contemporary, international sounds,” Bars explained.

Beats and Bars is currently focused on releasing visuals for singles off their Let’s Connect project, with highly-anticipated Asmbamba the first on the list.

Bars noted that Asmbamba essentially refers to feeling good regardless of the situation.

They are, however, already putting in work for their second studio album.

Stay tuned to Loud.co.ke for more exclusive updates and releases from Beats and Bars.