Why Kenyan Music is Killing It in 2017

Unless you’ve been living on an island with limited Internet connection (then I wish I was you) you must have heard of this song. It’s the new talk of the town. Every cool kid in Nairobi, and probably the whole Kenya knows about it.

If you haven’t, then you might need to be wary of your company.

Kama Kawaida. That’s the name of the hit collabo by three Kenyan music queens – Mayonde, Fena Gitu and Muthoni Drummer Queen – who are simply the perfect squad.

Kagwe Mungai is also featured on the song, but he doesn’t rap or sing. That can only mean one thing; he’s the producer. Even before the song starts, he heavily hypes the urban Nairobi track and its artists. He definitely pulls a DJ Khaled.

But this is not the first time these artists have worked together. Kagwe and MDQ released a hot hip-hop track Hot This Year in early 2016. Multi-talented producer Blinky Bill then brought Mayonde and MDQ together late last year. With his incredible beats and the queens’ lyrics, they created the banger I’m Feeling It . It’s 2017 and you know what, I’m still feeling it.

Speaking of, some of us are still waiting for the music video. Ahem!

OK, back to Kama Kawaida. Kagwe does a fantastic job on this new urban track. The first thing that pulls you in is the trap beats. By half of the song, you’re already bobbing your head along. You almost think Camp Mulla is back.

The Swahili-English lyrics are sang slowly, so it’s easy to hear what the three ladies are saying. And the chorus is simple, with just two lines repeated over and over.

And that is exactly how you make a hit song ladies and gents. Have simple and catchy beats that anyone can dance to, and an even simpler hook that everyone can sing along to.

Oh, and don’t forget to include relatable lyrics. Case in study, Twende Westy, Thank God it is Friday. And just like that, Kama Kawaida is a classic Nairobi party jam.

Of course, you also need to promote the song on social media and radio stations, like they did.

No one loves this jam more than these two queens.

The music video was released just a few days after the audio. But first, the four artists teased it on their social media accounts, making us anticipate it more. Mayonde was a huge culprit, sharing short boomerang clips on Instagram. Talk about torture.

In the much-anticipated video, she slays her first verse inside an artsy house and in front of a white and black background. She is backed up by her two home girls, all looking fly as always. Or as she would say, kama kawaida.

Fun fact: Mayonde is the only person I know who wears more sparkling jewellery on her face than anyone else.

Fena looks laid back as she kills it in the outdoors surrounded by nature. For once she shows off her brown legs, and dons that leather cap that every Nairobian is wearing nowadays. Meanwhile, Mayonde and friends jam in the background like cool video vixens.

MDQ takes over at night, shining with her red signature hair.  There is plenty of tongues out and new-school dancing in this urban Nairobi video. Even one of the hype girls is feeling the song more than her. They clearly had a lot of fun making this video.

Is it too late to join their bourgeoisie squad? (I hear it’s pronounced as “bozhwazee”)

Kagwe also makes a small appearance in the video. He joins the party remotely from somewhere in Europe. Shots of him singing appear in the chorus since the girls didn’t give him his own verse.

Everyone I know who’s heard it agrees this is a fantastic song. But not everyone feels the same about the video. Some YouTube viewers commented the video quality was not up to par with the audio quality. You’ll be the judge.

It is clearly not a high budget film. Nonetheless, this song is fire. It’s hip, danceable and most importantly, free of ratchetness. With this, it easily qualifies for the Kenyan anthem. Tanzania has Muziki, we have Kama Kawaida.

Thanks to this Nairobi jam, we can start 2017 with our full swagger on. Kama kawaida, we kill it!

Favorite line: I got the sauce, mchuuzi

Sprinkle some salt on that sauce bae


Can we just take a moment to appreciate Mayonde in that leopard print mini? Okay, it’s pretty evident by now I have a music girl-crush on her.

Did you know you can download the song straight from SoundCloud? Just in case 2017 wasn’t looking appealing enough.

Mayonde is just a few days away to release her new single “Nairobi” featuring local rapper Stonee JiweI highly predict this is the year Kenyan music will rise up from the gutters and become great again. Can I get an AMEN?

9 thoughts on “Why Kenyan Music is Killing It in 2017

  1. AMEN.As expected NAIROBI by Mayonde ft Stone Jiwe is a 254 ANTHEM.The momentum cool acts like Fena Mayonde Kagwe Muthoni DQ Blinky Bill and EA Wave are bringing is encouraging for our scene. Reminiscent of that Camp Mulla Era…


    1. Most definitely. There’s a Kenyan renaissance going on thanks to the cool squaaad. And we’re so lucky to witness the new wave in 2017 🙂


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