Raj (Okemwa Rajiv) is a Kenyan Rapper that raps in his native language Kisii. The Gusii language (also known as Kisii or Ekegusii) is a Bantu language spoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya, whose headquarters is Kisii town, (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania). His unique style of rap is a mixture of Kisii, a blend of English, and Swahili which is his Kisii flow. Historically, Kenyan hip hop was initially in Swahili and English. But Raj feels that it would be great if everyone was rapping in their own native language. Raj raps about relatable issues and want to be an inspiration to youth going through the struggles they face everyday. He said in an interview that “We need to embrace our African culture including the language.” https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/5-questions-kenyan-rapper-raj. In February 2015, he was signed to Kaka Empire Management which he eventually left. Now he owns a studio called Music Bank where he produces his own songs. He has been inspired by artists, including Kenya’s Nyashinski and Sauti Sol, Nigerian Wizkid and South Africa’s AKA. Continue reading “Rapping In A Native Language”
Today I picked Kenyan-Norweigan rapper Stella Mwangi because I thought she ties in all of the themes we talked about in class very well. Additionally, I believe that her use of language in her song Koolio is interesting and bridges two different cultures together.
Wangechi Waweru is a Kenyan rapper, singer, and songwriter. She was born on January 19th 1994 in Nairobi, Kenya. Growing up she knew she had a love for music. Wangechi has said that her passion for music derived from listening to Nazizi who is a rapper and songstress. She listened to African music from rappers such as Kalamashaka but she also listened to American music. At just the age of 12 she came to love music by artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G, Lauryn Hill, and many more. Wangechi’s taste in music was very diverse and eventually that diversity fed into her own music. When she finally found her calling for music she released her first mixtape, “Consume Chakula ya Soul”, in 2013. She came into the rap game with a unique and versatile flow. Continue reading “Here’s To US”
The well known rapper SHAD is another Kenyan artist who has defied the odds. SHAD was born in Kenya in 1982 but was raised in London, Ontario. His parents moved their family to Canada when he was just a year old. His parents were Rwandan so he grew up knowing a lot about his culture. The stories that his parents told him about their life and hardships in Rwanda always stuck with him. In an interview SHAD said “My mother continuously instilled in me a sense that my life, my presence, and my personal integrity were all rooted in a history—a history of Rwandan people who were (and are) full of goodness, complexity, dignity and fortitude.” Continue reading “Deeply Indebted”
Simon Kimini, also known as “Bamboo”, is a well known Kenyan rapper. His parents are of East African descent. Although he was raised in Inglewood, California he is still a rapper who represents Africa. When Bamboo was 17 years old his parents sent him to Nairobi. There, he was able to obtain a record deal with his group K- South. As his success was growing in Nairobi he created a record label called Project 254 with Attitude and Tim Waindi, who are also well known Kenyan rappers. Continue reading “From Nairobi to the Concrete Jungle”
Diaspora based artists like K’Naan, Blitz the Ambassador, M3nsa, Wale, and French Montana, and Tabi Bonney have been covered heavily in this blog. There are several other first and second generation African MCs around the world who have not been covered as much in this blog. As students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course this semester are discussing Diaspora based artists, here are some of the artists those students are looking at. In the coming week students will be putting up posts on these and other African MCs that are based outside of the continent. Continue reading “Diaspora Rappers”
Tonicah is an upcoming Kenyan-born hip-hop artist that has garnered recent fame with her single “Dream Chasers”. It is not unknown to anyone that the number of women in the hip hop industry, especially in Kenya, is not as high as the number of men in the industry. In hip hop videos we often see women as nothing more than props where their bodies are sexually objectified accessories. Tonicah not only sets herself apart with her casual style (as opposed to provocative clothing we see in men’s hip hop music videos), but with her socially conscious music influenced by poetry and jazz music. Continue reading “Tonicah – “Dream Chasers””
Fena Gitu is a well known controversial rapper and singer from Kenya. Growing up in musical household she grew to have a love for music. At 23 years old she has managed to make an impact on her society. She is a free spirit who clearly doesn’t care about how society says women should act.
Society says that women should dress and act a certain way. Fena Gitu has unique sense of style. You can see through they way that she dresses that she is defying gender norms. Gitu can be seen wearing vests, button ups, and a ties. Women wearing skirts and dresses is what is accepted in Kenyan society. Continue reading “Fena-menal”
Natalie Florence, better known as “Noti Flow”, is a Kenyan musician-rapper and actress. She is known to be a “controversial” artists for different aspects such as; her raunchy photos, sexuality, skin color, sex talk, bluntness, and being on a controversial show. But the view of the public eye has not held her back if anything it has given her more attention and a better opportunity of getting herself and career out there. It wasn’t until her last year of primary school that Noti Flow realized she could play with words. Later on in her life she also realized she could act. Then landed herself a spot on the Nairobi Diaries which is a controversial tv show. Even though she is looked at as controversial, she does not see herself that way and doesn’t care what other people think. Which sends a great message to young girls today. Be who you are and don’t worry about what other people may have to say. Rising to fame and being in the spotlight there are going to be a lot of opinions on artists failing to realize that they are just like anybody else, human. I in fact like Noti Flow because of her controversy. That’s what makes her stand out. Continue reading “Married To The Game”
Kayvo Ambalwa also known as Kayvo K-Force is a famous Kenyan rapper who has used his music to make a change. He was born on May 29th, 1989 in Nairobi, Kenya. Kayvo has been making rap music for years that people want to hear. In 2012 he took a different route and created a songs that people NEED to hear. His songs speak on the poverty and injustices in Kenya. Continue reading ““You’ll find me in the Ghetto””