Kenyan artists have been busy at work creating new music. The last couple of months have seen Kenyan artists double down on collaborations with international acts and local talent. The following is some of the best Kenyan music gracing the airwaves in 2022.
1. Mbwe Mbwe by Bien and Aaron Rimbui
Taken from the Bald Men Love Better EP released by Bien and Aaron Rimbui, Mbwe Mbwe is a chilled out party tune with rhumba influences. If you don’t understand Swahili you’ll wish you did for this song. Mbwe Mbwe cuts across age and defies national and international boundaries to entertain all alike.
2. Geri Inengi by Wakadinali
Wakadinali have been releasing great music continuously for a while now. Since they released their first album Ndani Ya Cockpit in 2017, the group of 3 (Domani Munga, Scar, Sewersydaa) has been on fire. Geri Inengi is a jam taken off their 4th studio album Exposed. The album marries aspects of Gengetone, Dril music and Kenyan Hip-hop.
Where others are stuggling to modernize Kenyan hip-hop Wakadinali are already having fun. Geri Inengi is a testament to the lyrical prowess shared among the four members of Wakadinali.
3. Catch a Vibe by Karun
If there’s a Kenyan artist everyone agrees needs to be getting more airplay it’s Karun. She has been a consistently good singer with a beautiful voice that transports you to serenity and calm. Take a prolific singer and hook them up with a talented production house like MOMBRU and what you get a classic tune by Karun.
Catch a Vibe is a song that will be a lot of people’s favourite for a long time to come. Listen to Karun’s equally amazing Catch a vibe EP on your favorite music streaming platform.
4. Balance by Savara
Late in 2021, Kenyan supergroup Sauti Sol announced plans to pursue solo careers. Everyone was a bit apprehensive, with many wondering whther this was the beginning of the end of Sauti Sol. Well, it is clearly nowhere near the end as the group members’ solo careers continue prospering. Balance is a song that focuses on the theme of moderation. In everything, balance is key.
For Savara, (as well as for Bien, Fancy Fingers and Chimano) this period of flying solo has revealed the depth of talent the artist has. Fans of Sauti Sol will be able to appreciate each artist individually for their unique approach to making music. Savara recently released a solo album titled Savage Level which is a balanced mix of entertaining and illuminating music. Speaking to Apple Music about his debut album, Savara said “My goal is to get other people to see the magic in themselves, and not only understand their power but also tap into it,”
5. Lowkey by Xenia Manasseh
Everybody make way for the new queen of Kenyan RnB. If you love Jhene Aiko and H.E.R type of music then you will definitely vibe to Xenia Manasseh. A great singer and an event better songwriter, Xenia Manasseh has been working diligently to earn her place in the annals of music as one of the greats.
She has collaborated with Sauti Sol, Nigeria’s Tay Iwar and written music for the likes of Teyana Taylor. Lowkey is a groovy jam that will be on many people’s daily playlist.
6. Kitenge by Nviiri The Storyteller
Nviiri The Storyteller is so talented he makes creating great music seem easy. His calm delivery and unique voice are onluy some of the things that allow him to feature on many people’s favorite playlists. Nviiri is truly a storyteller, weaving lessons in life with rhythm and melody. Kitenge is a great song that seeks to remind us that there is no guarantee that love and marriage will last forever. In Kitenge, Nviiri takes on some of the myths perpetrated in society about the things that make love last. It is both entertaining and inspirational.
Can’t wait to see what Nviiri The Storyteller releases next.
7. Kesho Kutwa by Ethan Muziki
Once in a while a song comes out that rekindles all your romantic feelings. Ethan Muziki’s Kesho Kutwa is that kind of song. It is perfect for walking down the aisle or serenading your lover. The lyrics are well-thought out and the delivery is tempered.
Do check out more music coming from Ethan Muziki.
8. Rhumba Toto by Fancy Fingers
I was pleasantly surprised to learn how good Sauti Sol’s Polycarp can sing. We all knew he was a talented guitarist but that was all we knew about Polycarp’s talents. The move by Sauti Sol to pursue solo projects has allowed us to see a whole new side of Polycarp. Rhumba Toto is a well-produced song that pays homage to parenting, fatherhood and manhood. It is the kind of song any son (or daughter) would want to hear from their father.
9. Relax by Maandy
Relax is the lead single taken off Maandy’s album Frisky. Maandy has only been in the game for a short time but her impact cannot be denied. She has been consistently working hard and her growth is evident for all to see. She is a great writer with effortless delivery and a unique ability to flow in various styles. Relax is an ode to the progress Maandy has made so far.
10. Rhumba by Wanavokali
Wanavokali’s Rhumba is a catchy tune that salutes the golden era of Rhumba music. It is the perfect soundtrack for a night out in Nairobi, just before the madness takes over. With groovy baselines, silky vocals and the ocassional guitar licks, Rhumba is a great reminder to make time for fun regardless of the circumstances in your life.
Caveat: Some of the songs in this list were released in 2021 and others in 2022.