Back in the days Kenyan music was classified as either Hardcore Hip-hop or Kapuka. The likes of Kalamashaka, Ukoo Flani, Kleptomaniacs, Necessary Noise, K-South, Ruff tone, Tattu, Fundi Frank, Bamzigi, Wawesh, E-Sir, Nonini, Pilipili, Juacali, Deux Vultures, Prezzo, Wyre, Nameless, Mr. Lenny, Mr. Googz, Wahu, K-rupt, Wicky Mosh, Longombas, Boomba Clan, Bigpin, Jaguar, Redsan, Nyota Ndogo, Amani and many more hit the airwaves with hits and made quite numerous fans across East Africa.
Nowadays it is hard to classify Kenyan music as new artists revolutionized the industry. They came, they saw, and they conquered it all. The likes of P Unit, Sauti sol, Elani, Camp Mulla, Rabbit, Wangeci, Ameleena, Calvo Mistari, Jay A, Octopizzo, Khaligraph, Kristoff, Rapdamu, Sage, Kaz, Avril, Kenrazy, Nikki, Anto Neosoul, Kaya, Gkon, DNA, Bahati, Mejja, Madtraxx, Jimw@t, Willy Paul, size 8 changed the perception of Kenyan music in terms of Quality and content.
Few Kenyans alongside Daddy Owen, Juacali, Prezzo, Nameless, Just-A-Band, Camp Mulla and Sauti Sol have represented Kenya on international platforms. Kenyan musicians can now compete with the heavy weights in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania. There was a time our local music videos were poor in quality, as bad as a 3gp video but now we can boast of HD Videos which now get aired on Channel O, Trace Urban and MTV.
Our local music is a mix of all genres ranging from Hip Hop, Kapuka, Ragga and Afro Fusion. Other countries boast of their own styles; for instance Hip-Hop in USA, Pop in England, Kwaito in South Africa, Bongo in Tanzania and Reggae ton in Uganda. This can be somehow haunting because we can’t claim a certain genre but we are still on the map as African Music is concerned. Big names in the industry often mentor upcoming artists for the purpose of keeping the music fire burning.
Check out part 2 here