So much talent goes unnoticed or under-appreciated in Kenya and I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t listen to local music as much as I probably should but quality stuff always catches my ear . Lately I’ve been hearing incredible music that only proves how promising our industry is. I’m writing this because I’m pretty much fed up of our artists being slept on! Like is that still a thing? If you get on soundcloud and listen to what some of these guys are creating, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here’s a few of the Kenyan artists who I think you should be listening to right now.
EAST AFRICAN WAVE
Every intelligent music-based conversation I have can’t go without their name being mentioned and it seems like the wave has really taken over. It’s inspiring that word of their music is spreading around town so fast yet so organically. It only proves that real fans exist, and if there’s a fan base then there’s something special.The musical collective consists of 5 talented artists; Nu fvnk , Jinku , Ukweli , Hirib∆e and Muroe . Individually, they possess their own interesting, and unique styles but when you bring them together it’s so overwhelming that it’s hard not to take notice. There’s so much talent in this group that I can’t quite handle it. I really love their creativity and flexibility in that they don’t confine themselves to a specific genre. They’re also really consistent when it comes to releasing new music so I highly suggest that you don’t miss out!
He’s probably one of the first rappers from Nairobi I ever seriously blogged about. Years later and I’m still a big fan of his work. Needless to say, he hasn’t stopped chasing the dream. His production skills are stellar and he continues to rap animatedly, keeping his lyrics blunt and straight to the point. He’s expressing himself, speaking his mind and going against the tide. His latest release, “Propaganda” is a very solid track. As I listened to the song, keenly analyzing everything from the beats to the delivery, I was once again in awe of this young rapper’s talent. It’s super cool to watch someone grow like that and it just gets me more excited for his future releases.
One of my personal favorites in the scene right now is R.I.Z.E (acronym for Reaching Impassable Zenith Elevations). The name is already intriguing and I’d definitely say the same for his music. I live for hip hop with conscious lyrics, incredible flow and an inspiring message and that’s exactly what R.I.Z.E gives me. He stands out with his lyricism in an industry full of artists following the trend of great beats with poor, and less than impressive lyrics. Perhaps I like him even more because he reminds me of all my favorite rappers. He makes the kind of music that makes you question yourself, and think a bit deeper about stuff, all while entertaining you at the same time. His E.P Solitary Confinement is due to be released soon and I can’t wait.
Beyond Hiphop and EDM , there’s more interesting artists coming out of Nairobi and Mr. Lu is one of them. Listening to his music is like a brief journey into his mind; he combines elements of different genres to form this futuristic and up-tempo sound. It’s a bit difficult to pin point his exact style since he loves to experiment with different genres, blending them to create a distinctive and interesting sound. On top of being a sick producer, he raps ,sings and incorporates skits into his songs. It’s dope to see him be different and even more innovative as he evolves as an artist. Definitely looking forward to hearing what he comes up with next !
Alfa Mars is a rapper than represents the city of Nairobi with lots of vigor and passion. He’s probably one of the most relatable emcees out there right now. Nairobi is his muse and he draws inspiration from the city while creating his art. He portrays our city as it truly is and raps candidly about various tales, and experiences from his personal life that many people can identify with. His flow is unstoppable, and the way he embraces Swahili/Sheng just makes his music hit closer to home. Besides it’s better to listen to someone rapping about his daily escapades than a lot of others too caught up trying to appropriate their favorite rapper’s sound.
Remember to push the art.