It has been a good year for East African music so far, with several artists putting out quality releases that have found a place on our playlists.
These artists have had some of the biggest singles, videos, albums and projects, with their songs garnering a lot of attention from East Africa and beyond.
Amazing Kenyans presents 10 artists who have absolutelydone a wonderful and exemplary work interms of album release, sale and prosperity.
- Khaligraph Jones – Testimony 1990
Khaligraph Jones is a name no one can ignore in Africa more so after he recently won best African rap act at the just concluded Afrima awards that saw him compete with the likes of Phyno and Sarkodie.
His current album ‘Testimony 1990’ already served platinum on iTunes and BoomPlay. The album ideally was meant to be released a few years back but it had to be pushed back due unavoidable circumstances but it finally came out.
The album featured major established artistes like FenaGitu, south African K.O, Nigerian Mr Eazi and YCee and Tanzanian rap duo Rostamwith budding talent like Timmy Blanco of also featured on the 17 tracks album.
- Vanessa Mdee – Money Mondays
There are a couple of ways to tell the story of Vanessa Mdee’s ascension from a gifted hopeful to being in the A-List ranks. The thing is, Tanzania seems to be doing a pretty fantastic job with producing world-class stars, which the world can’t seem to get enough of.
‘Money Mondays’ is a 17-track full-length LP that kicks off with an intro that seems to be asking a set of thought-provoking, romance-related questions that the audience should be thinking about while listening to the project. It’s as if from this minimalist intro, Vanessa is giving a hint of what she is about on the project.
Mr P joins effort with Vanessa on Kisela, together with other African superstars like South Africa’s Cassper Nyovest, Tanzania’s spitter Joh Makini.
Also included in the album are some of her biggest tunes:Nobody, featuring KO, and Juu, featuring Jux. Also her album is made up ofother stellar guest appearances from Radio and Weasel, Gnako, Reekado Banks,Maua Sama and Tommy Flavour.
- Octopizzo – Next Year
Octopizzo must have been apprehensive about dropping a new album the same day as American rapper J Cole. For an album that was going to shatter first-day streaming records, it’s expected.
Ideally, attention is everything and all ears were on Cole’s KOD. However, the release proved to be a proper test of Octopizzo’s mastery and indeed he proved to the world he is a force to reckon with.
The album opener is quite captivating, with Octopizzo revisiting his roots through a narration done over traditional instrumentation by a man who seems to be in his senior years. This is then followed by the rapper officially welcoming the world to his album on ‘We Can.’
Monopoly, BITD and Let’s Get It featuring KayGreen are spirited tunes and great lyrical showcases that embodyOctopizzo’s great deal of effort and endurance. The album lead single Nu Afrika takes it to another level,with the artiste showing his appreciation for the diverse skill and abilityfound on the continent.
- Barnaba Classic – Gold
Barnaba Classic or popularly known all over by his fans worldwide as Barnaba has finally released his much-anticipated album dubbed ‘Gold’ which has 24 songs on it with one being introductory.
The ‘Gold’ album has features from notable artistes across east Africa like Aslay, King Kaka, Vanessa Mdee, Ben Pol, Joh Makini and Mulla who did a tremendous job on their features on the album.
I can confidently listen to this whole album from start to finish and listen to again, I can confidently vouch for this ‘Gold’ album by Barnaba Classic. Just have a taste of the album below.
- Dj Pius – Iwacu Rwanda
Iwacu is a 16-song and one bonus track album and includes songs like Iwacu, Agatako, Tempramido, Agatako, Wabulilawa, Play It Again, Too Bad and Nta Kibazo.
They prove that DJ Pius is an artist to be reckoned with. Having over 13 years’ experience in deejaying in Rwanda and across the region, the artiste has discovered the beauty of collaborative music projects.
His single Agatako, collaboration, marked his start as a solo artist. Half of the music on his debut album features regional and continental collaborative projects with artistes from Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
He worked with renowned producers like Rwanda’s Izo Pro,Pastor P and Track Slayer, Uganda’s Nessim, Elia Arkis, Danz Kumapeesa and FXof Nigeria on this album.
- Noti Flow – Owe
Notiflow a female rapper at last has released her 13 tracks EP called ‘OWE – One Woman Empire’, it’s her first extended play after being in the game for a long time. She has been one of the few successful female artists to make big steps in the industry with a lot of features & top collaborations.
OWE EP was recorded & sampled by different producers (Magix Enga, Richie G, Jiggy, Aj) and other dope producers so far she has released few tracks to YouTube, the album is blazing,sweet & entertaining. This is an album you can listen to from the first to the last track without getting your ears bored.
The album has featured artistes like Shamir (Anything Goes), Lofe (Flavour) , Javan (Drowning) , Qwiss (Vibe) , and also has few refixesof top songs from international artists. The album is dedicated to persons outthere who are in the struggle of winning and building their career with efforts& goals of reaching success.
- Eddy Kenzo – Roots
International Award winning singer, Eddy Kenzo is shooting at us with talent once again. His album, Roots has been released and is available on various online music platforms and stores. The album has a total of 20 songs, including some of our personal favorites. Some of these include; Ogwo, Bend it over, Konkon, Body Language, Ghetto, Moon and others.
Eddy has for a long time been Uganda’s best and has recentlytaken the award for best artist in East Africa. His fame started when hescooped an award at the BET for his song and video, Sitya Loss. You can nowaccess his latest to enjoy some talent.
- MC Sharon – Genetically Emancipated MusicalSoul – GEMS
Crowned as East Africa’s mother of rap, Mc Sharon once again emancipated with a new album and yea her fifth studio album.
The 20 track music project is a sufficient depiction of her process. She is the executive producer, co-engineer and co-director of the whole project; supported by various global producers and engineers who have ensured that her vision came to life.
These include the main sound engineer and music producer Michael Miheso Itebete (KENYA), Fred Fisher (Omnibeats LLC), Donovan Jarvis and co at Fivestar Beats (USA), Onetone (USA), the whole crew at Exclusive Rap Beats and/or 20dollarbeats,(USA) Rudeboy Cabana aka Outspoken (USA), Mohjay Mohteaching (KENYA/Germany) among others.
She has also featured Kash Grindhauz, Trabolee, Six Foot,Kev Mamba, Hiram Kamau, Black Spear and her very own son Jabali Tulani. Allthese talented young men have added a spicy balance to the already broadspectral piece of work.
- Victoria Kimani – Afropolian EP
Victoria Kimani has been putting in work for the longest as one of the prolific Kenyan musicians in the music business today and she has finally show us her latest project dubbed ‘Afropolitan’ which is her debut EP without any features after releasing her debut album ‘Safari’.
The project which has 7 records on it without any featuresshows us a side the versatile side of Victoria Kimani that we all came to loveand adore through her music. You are going to love Victoria Kimani and hermusical talent with her vocals after listening to this ‘Afropolitan’ EP.
. Breeder LW – Kabla Kuosa
Breeder LW is fast owning the hip-hop scene and he’s doing that exponentially and this time round he’s doing it with his sophomore album called ‘Kabla Kuosa’ after his last ‘Nairobi State of Mind’ that was released last year.
Breeder LW has released the 11-tracks album featuring only three artistes; Baron, Tonny Syuma and Kayvo Kforce with the latter getting featured on the ‘Si Tafadhali’ record.
The ‘Kabla Kuosa’ which translates to “Before I make it” waspredominantly produced by Record House with other producers like Cluebeats,Real Me, Kayo Rille, Rio Hudini, and Balans being a part of the project.