The Ultimate Top 10 Kenyan Hip Hop Musicians of 2019

Aipate‘s flagship annual list series Ultimate Kenyan Hip Hop Musicians returns for the fifth time. This year, there are a couple of new names, signaling an interesting shift to a new generation.

These are the factors we do consider when compiling our list:

  • Does one have a more-than-decent lyrical skill-set, sheer determination and strong work ethics? 
  • Has one released a properly distributed project, be it an album, EP or mixtape? 
  • Does one create compelling content which many can relate to?
  • Does one command good ‘Street Cred’? 
  • Is one’s brand strong enough to improve music consumption/sales?

And here is the list:

10. Barak Jacuzzi

Although 2019 has been relatively quiet for Barak Jacuzzi, he still remains buoyed by the wave he created last year.

9. Steph Kapela

Having released Free Steph EP, and also gearing up to his debut album, Steph Kapela has kept his fans engaged. Besides dropping records, he also gets time to play gigs.

8. TNT

The duo of Timmy Blanco and Twenny Eights’ effort has gone into building more buzz – – and a loyal following.

7. Jovie Jovv

The self-crowned ‘shrap OG’, Jovie Jovv earns enough respect to justify his claim to that title (shrap is a home-grown sub-genre of hip-hop which is increasingly attracting more rappers).

6. Vallerie Muthoni

One project after another, Vallerie Muthoni’s drive is almost evident. The singer and rapper is back with another EP.

5. Boutross

One of the founding pillars of the shrap wave which is rippling the Nairobi scene, Boutross is a trendsetter as much as he’s a dope rapper.

4. Kaa La Moto

Kaa La Moto shared gems in the run-up to his game-changing album, Kesi. KLM is one of the country’s top freestyle emcees, and his deeply lyrical style keeps him in a class of only a few.

3. Wakadinali

Domani Munga and Scar Mkadinali form Wakadinali. Fresh off a great tape (Ndani Ya Cockpit 2), they continue to drop new awesome singles. Scar’s “Kovu” (and the subsequent remix challenge) is, no doubt, the top hip-hop highlight of the year so far.

2. Octopizzo

A master of reinventing himself, Octopizzo has managed to be among the top artists for close to a decade. Already working on his fifth album, every year finds him still in the conversation.

1. Khaligraph Jones

Right now, hip-hop is pop, and so is Khaligraph Jones. Rising from the depths of underground, the rapper now epitomizes success in this art form: a decent debut album, new songs, great features plus the Khali Cartel series…

Any reaction to this list can be expressed below in the comments’ section.


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