Why Kenyan music is killing it

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. A 2017 jam by four Kenyan urban artists. 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 Nairobi track and its artistes. He’s definitely pulling a DJ Khaled.

But this is not the first time these artistes have worked together. Kagwe and MDQ released a hot hiphop track Hot This Year in early 2016. Multi-talented producer Blinky Bill then brought Mayonde and MDQ together. With his incredible beats and the queens’ lyrics, they created the banger I’m Feeling It late last year. 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 sung 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. For example 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.

The music video was released just a few days after the audio. But first the four artistes teased it on their social media accounts, making us anticipate it more. Mayonde was a huge culprit, sharing short boomerang clips on Instagram, with no audio. 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 wall. She is joined 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 any other body part.

Fena is laid back as she sings 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. This time it’s braids (soft dreads  I could tell). There is plenty of tongues out and new-school dancing in this 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? (It’s pronounced as “bozhwazee” guys)

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. I suspect he shot using a Samsung. Just a wild guess.

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!

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.

Favorite line: I got the sauce, mchuuzi

Sprinkle some salt on that sauce bae


Did you know that 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 releasing her new single “Nairobi” featuring local rapper Stonee Jiwe. I predict this is the year Kenyan music will rise up from the gutters and become great again. Can I get an AMEN?


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