The music industry in Kenya is a hotbed of musical talent, and every month there is fresh music hitting the airwaves. It is evident that the industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.
Here we look at some Kenyan hits that topped the charts in 2017.
Bablas- The Kansoul
Released in March, “Bablas” is one of the most played songs of 2017 on local stations and in clubs. The lyrics of the song have become common phrases for young Kenyans both online and offline. The Kansoul is a Genge group made up of award-winning artists: Mejja, Madtraxx, and KidKora. All the artists have had successful solo careers, and they have churned out hits such as “Landlord” by Mejja and “Boda Boda” by Madtraxx. On this hit, the Kenyan group has come with a different style of a Dancehall Afrobeat feel on the beat. “Bablas” has had over 1.5 million views and counting on Youtube.
I do- Willy Paul and Alaine
When Jamaican-American reggae singer and songwriter Alaine teamed up with award-winning gospel artist Willy Paul to release a song, it definitely had to be a hit. “I Do” is a beautiful wedding song that is now played by many during the special occasion. The video also created a lot of buzz when it was released. Alaine is known for her hit songs like “No Ordinary Love” and “Bye Bye Bye”, while Willy Paul is known for hits like “Jigi Jigi” and “Kitanzi”. As for “I Do”, the song currently has 4.3 million YouTube views and continues to gain more.
Attention- Vivian ft. Redsan
Vivian, a popular Kenyan musician, teamed up with award-winning dancehall artist Redsan to give us “Attention”. The song is a beautiful hit that amalgamates her singing style with his dancehall vibe. “Attention” is a captivating collabo that translates to double-trouble with a blend of sassy and bold. Vivian is renowned for her hits like “Chingi Changa”, while Redsan is popularly known for hits such as “Julie”.
Since his return from the United States of America in 2016, Nyashinski has been giving his fans hit after hit. After a break of over ten years, he made a comeback to the Kenyan music scene with the major hit song “Now You Know”. Nyashinski also did a gospel song called “Mungu Pekee” that became a hit song as well. “Malaika” is his third song, and it has had over 3.2 million views on YouTube. The popular song has also been played by several local FM stations. Nyashinski is a former member of the Kleptomaniax music group that consisted of three members: Roba, Collo, and Nyashinski. The group is well known for major hits such as “Tuendelee” and “Maniax Anthem”. Nyashinski is one of the very few unanimously respected Kenyan artists, and he never ceases to make a buzz with his hit songs. In addition, he was nominated for the 2017 MTV EMA Best African Act Award.
Tergat Gang- Octopizzo, Barak Jacuzzi & Boutross Munene
Possibly one of the best hip hop artistes in the country, Octopizzo has teamed up with a few other talents – with whom he has been working tirelessly to uplift. “Tergat Gang” is a hip hop hit that he released with the Tergat Gang, a group that he formed two years ago. The group consists of three members: Octopizzo, South Carolina-based rapper Barak Jacuzzi, and Boutross Munene. The hip hop track is a street anthem whose video was shot in the sprawling slums of Kibera, the very place where Octopizzo was brought up.
From Nameless, one of the best Kenyan Musicians, “Inspire” is an interesting blend of afro-pop and dancehall music that created a huge buzz when it was released in June. Nameless has been in the music industry for over 10 years, and his music is always well received because of the style and diversity that he brings out in each song. The chorus of this hot 2017 song was inspired by a previous visit to Oloitoktok, a town on the border of Kenya and Tanzania. The area has beautiful scenery of Mt. Kilimanjaro and always appears quite romantic. As a result of seeing that scenery, Nameless translated his awe into a love song for an African beauty. The song is about a passionate love that inspires the heart, mind, body, and soul.
Jigi Jigi- Willy Paul
It seems as though 2017 was a winning year for Willy Paul. After doing a collaboration with Alaine in February, Willy Paul was back with another hit, “Jigi Jigi”, that caused ripples in the music industry. “Jigi Jigi” was released in September as a love ballad about marriage. The song has attracted some controversy; critics question whether it is a gospel song, or if the artiste has gone secular. In the song Willy Paul narrates how a certain woman in his life is giving him ‘jigiriri’, which loosely translates to ‘some type of crazy love feeling’.
Party Nation- Kagwe Mungai, Fena Gitu, Mayonde, Muthoni Drummer Queen, and Blinky Bill
“Party Nation” is the third song from an ongoing collaboration between successful, Nairobi-based musicians Muthoni Drummer Queen, Mayonde, Fena Gitu, Blinky Bill, and Kagwe Mungai. When you bring together five creative and remarkable musicians, you most definitely will end up with a hit; that is exactly what “Party Nation” is. The song has nice party beats to dance to, and it is a highly popular anthem in local clubs and hangout places.
Nikumbushe- Bahati ft. Rayvanny
“Nikumbushe” is a hit song released by Bahati, one of the most celebrated young Kenyan gospel artistes. The track also features Rayvanny, who is a Tanzanian musician, songwriter, and dancer from WCB Wasafi Record Label. Bahati has a number of awards under his belt, as well as hit songs like “Mama”, “Machozi”, and “Story Yangu”. His songs always receive positive reactions. The same can be said about “Nikumbushe”, which has managed to gain over 2.4 Million views on Youtube so far.
Vidole- Eko Dydda
“Vidole” is the latest hit from Eko Dydda, a Kenyan gospel hip hop artist. He is famously known for his unique singing style, the ‘stagger’. Eko Dydda was born and raised in the Eastland side of Nairobi, and gained popularity from hit songs such as “Ghetto” and “Psalms 23”.