Kenyan music has grown immensely over the last year with new artists like Mwaki emerging and breaking Spotify records, where she garnered over 1 million streams in one month. It also saw the split to the biggest boy band in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sauti Sol.
Genge Tone got world recognition by being added to the Grammy Awards nomination list which led to the introduction of a new genre called Genge Aburn. Kenyan artists like Bien got to feature on the global platform ColorsX. Janet Otieno and Nadia Mukami got to represent Kenya at the first-ever Trace Awards that were held in Rwanda.
To close the year 2023 in style, some Kenyan artists got featured in Rolling Stone’s top 40 Afropop songs of 2023 amongst other great African artists like Rema who has gotten immense global recognition in 2023.
Coming in at 34 is Nikilewa by Nviiri the Storyteller, Bien, and Bensoul.
Rolling Stone pointed out that Nviiri made a major comeback with his song and termed it as a banger. They added that his composing and vocal talents were on display with the blend of Afropop, R&B, and soul that was in the music.
Coming in at 31 is Wapi Compe by Octopizzo.
He is described as the face of Kenyan hip-hop who has managed to nail the balance between challenging norms in Kenyan rap and hip-hop and reflecting the realities of being Kenyan today. They add that his whimsical beat and playfully boastful lyrics make the song addictive.
Coming in at 30 is Sikutambui by Wakadinali.
Rolling Stone recommended the song as great for the gym. It pointed out that the song quickly became a fan favorite and a popular sound on TikTok in Kenya.
Coming in at 20 is Ma Cherie by Bien.
Rolling Stone suggests this song as an introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Bien. This is one of his songs from his newly released album: Alusa, Why Are You Topless? The song is a mix of afro beats and romantic lyricism.
Coming in at 8 is Mi Na Wewe by Sabi Wu.
The song embodies the young Kenyan experience mixing elements of East Coast rap and Nairobi hip-hop. They well executed a sample of 2003’s Ninanoki by Nameless and Amani.