10 Kenyan Artists Who Made Our Childhood Unforgettable
By: David Kingsley - July 3, 2018
Long before the likes of Naiboi, Timmy Tdat, and Fena Gitu ruled airwaves, fans of Kenyan music were treated club bangers such as Anisa, Kamoja Tu, Amka Ukatike, Morale, Under 18, Banjuka just to name a few.
Although some of the faces behind the popular tunes are still churning out hits, others faded away from the limelight after releasing a song or two.
These artists made our childhood memorable. Actually, most of us thought they would keep releasing music until we outgrew their music but unfortunately this was not the case.
Granted a chance, I would go back to my pre-teen years so that I can experience the awesomeness of these artists all over again and jot down the lyrics of their songs in an exercise book.
Here are 10 artists who made sure we’d never forget our teen and pre-teen years:
1. Jimw@t – The Calif Records signee who is now 33 years old went undercover after releasing Under 18, Sitoi Kitu Kidogo and Paulina.
2. K-Rupt – “Twende tukawake huko Nairobi West, tupitie South C kashamba kapande,” Does this ring a bell? Well, if it does then your taste in music back then was great. Unfortunately, K-Rupt was murdered in 2003.
3. PiliPili – If you didn’t sing along to PiliPili’s songs back then you were not living it. From Morale to Kamata Dame to Twende Ndani, this guy was among the chaps that defined the Kenyan sound back then.
4. Nonini – Before he ‘transformed his image’ and started highlighting serious issues like the plight of albinos, this chap churned out controversial jams like We Kamu, Manzi Wa Nairobi, and Furahiday.
5. Lady S – To date, Lady S, who died in a grisly road accident in 2007, is remembered as one Kenyan rap queen who made the others step up. Some of her hits include Ukimwona, Lovely Ladies and Nare Sitaki.
6. Jua Cali – Most of us sung and still sing along to Jua Cali’s songs. Baba Yao, as he is popularly known, is arguably one of the Kenyan artists who make timeless songs.
7. E-sir – A lot has been said about Issah Mmari Wangui. However, most people seem to agree on is that E-Sir was way ahead of his time and I concur.
8. Longombas – Before Christian and Lovi relocated to the USA, their jams topped charts in the region and they got recognition for shaping the Kenyan sound.
9. Flexx – The singer whose real name is Michael Mwangi disappeared as fast as he came. He is famed for songs such as Namba Yako, Kama Wanitaka, Nyundo, and Amejibeba.
10. Tattu – the all-girl group that was made up of Debbie Asila, Angela Ndambuki and Angela Mwandanada treated us to beautiful music thanks to their mellow voices. As such, we just had to feature them.
Honorable mentions: Sanaipei Tande, Necessary Noize, Mejja, Nameless, Amani, Wahu, Kleptomaniacs, Kingsting and Bedbug, Historians and Bishop.