The new music trends in Kenya

We usually think about Africa as the continent of a thousand colours, but actually it’s also the continent of a thousand sounds, and they are not just folklore
BREEDER LW X MEJJA - "GIN AMA WHISKEY" Credit: Scrrenshot dal video: BREEDER LW X MEJJA - "GIN AMA WHISKEY" (Official Music Video)
Tempo di lettura 5 min lettura
11 luglio 2022 Aggiornato alle 21:00

Part of a community’s culture is made up of the music they create and play, just like food tells a lot about a country, music too can tell a foreigner a lot about a country or its people without knowing much about them. Kenyan music is not any different.

Kenya’s music industry is vibrant, made up of multiple genres and various artists trying to find their way out, show their creativity and play their cards right to win the fans heart, because eventually this is what will determine if the artist will remain in the industry or not.

The industry is fast changing and evolving to a whole different level.

Genge and Kapuka

In the 2000’s, the most popular music played was kapuka, which is a fusion of reggae and hip hop, mostly sung in Kiswahili and Sheng (a sort of Kiswahili and English slang).

Artists such as E-sir, Nameless, Amani, Nazizi etc. played an important role in making sure that the flag of Kenya was raised high in the East African countries through this music genre. However, other music genres started dominating the industry overtime; this can be seen through the transition that has taken place in the industry from the 1990’s to now.

Regarded a South C’s (a neighborhood in Nairobi) finest and the king of Swahili rap, genge and kapuka, he took the urban music scenes by storm and enthralled many by his flawless hip hop vibes, unfortunately his musical journey was cut short by his untimely death but his music still remains played.

Mejja is a Genge and Kapuka artist who has won the hearts of many fans due to unique style and music tunes. His songs are always a banger as most of them are relatable and touch on the day -to- day challenges that the youths go through.

In this jam, he is talking about the behaviors of Kenyans and how we do things.

Gospel music

The Kenyan gospel music has transitioned a lot from what we had in the 20th and early 21st centuries. New faces in the industry, record labels and recording studios, has led to a lot of creativity, uniqueness and new ways of spreading the gospel.

A popular urban gospel artist who has remained relevant in the industry with his continuous release of songs back to back, touching the hearts of many people with his banger music Rada. He is the true definition of worshiping in truth and in spirit.

The song Rada basically talks about the situations that we are going through or facing as temporary, because the maker will definitely change the situation (Rada).

Afro-pops/beats and RnB

Swahili RnB music talking about the pain of investing so much time and energy in relationships only to end up being hurt and becoming a stranger to a person you thought you knew all so well, as well as any kind of communication being treated with so much indifference.

Afro pop Luo musician, (one of the dialects in kenya) talking about matters such as love and marriage, ready to sacrifice and compromise a lot for love.

Kenyan hip-hop

Kenyan artists are taking hip hop to the next level, the style, tunes and creativity in this field is just beyond words.

The Swahili Shakespeare artist touches on political settings. Reminding Kenyans as we prepare for the general elections, which will take place in a months’ time, to be very careful when electing our leaders. Not to be carried away by the empty promises and the handouts that they give during the campaign period.

This is not his first track to touch on political settings and mention the vices in the society such as corruption, poor leadership, mismanagement of the public funds and more. He is one of the artists who has shown true patriotism through his music.

Khaligraph Jones ft. Nyashinski- SIFU BWANA

Greatest hip hop artists and rappers of our time, releasing tracks back to back and it is always a banger. Secular artists recording a gospel tune is a pure bliss. This shows the diversity in the industry. In this song, they talk about praising the Lord for the great works he has done. It is one of the most played songs in 2022.


This is the latest music genre that generation Z has come up with. It is a mix of different dialects, Kiswahili, sheng and the most recent one Shembe teng, which of course you have to keep yourself up to date with the language to really understand the message.

They talk about different issues ranging from drugs to sex , life in ghetto and a lot more

Folk songs

With the different ethnic groups that we have, folk songs popularly known as traditional songs gain popularity within their settings.

The Kikuyu community, central region of Kenya, the most common form of music played is known as ‘Mugithi’, which is usually sung by a single singer and accompanied by guitars. It is enjoyed by other ethnic groups within the country.

In the Luo community, Nyanza region of Kenya, the most played form of music is known as ‘ohangla’, which is a traditional dance. It consists of several drums hit by a stick and a cylindrical shoulder slung drum played together with the flute. It is used to celebrate weddings and any other special occasion.

Emma Jalamo is the King of Ohangla music, in this song he is praising one of the aspirants vying for presidential seat in this coming general election. He remains relevant in this genre because of his interest in the contemporary issues.

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di Riccardo Liguori 3 min lettura