Is Kenyan music generally trashy?

There has been a long-running debate about the songs that are popular in Kenya at the moment, while some, like yours truly, find them enjoyable, others are quick to dismiss them as trashy.

Also read: Stop looking for content from new-age musicians!

In most cases, those who are opposed to the new local sound argue that the artists often sing about sex and as a result they are misleading youngsters.

Boondocks Gang
Boondocks Gang

I agree that they need to tone down their songs a bit. However, we shouldn’t be to quick to dismiss the new crop of as trashy Kenyan artists simply because of this.

Truth is, Kenyan music has never been bigger than it is right now. Even the early 2000s does not come any close thank to platforms such as YouTube.

Instead of rubbishing the new sound entirely, the skeptics should point out areas that the artists should  work on.

Better still, they can identify a different genre that they resonate with and let those of us who enjoy the trashy Kenyan sound be.

Ochunglo Family
Ochunglo Family

We have come really far as a country, musically speaking, and we have the new-age artists to thank for the strides that we’ve made.

Gone are the days when local clubs, radio and TV stations would play one Nigerian song after the other and in my opinion that’s a huge win.

New-age musicians should not do collabos with established artists, here’s why

In my opinion, the new crop of Kenyan musicians should avoid working with artists who have been in the game for a longer period than they have. Instead, they should release more projects with their fellow new-age artists and push the new sound.

Also read: Stop looking for content from new-age musicians!

I’m sure many established artists are dying to do collabos with the likes of Boondocks Gang, Ethic, Zzero Sufuri, Ochunglo Family, Sailors Gang, Gwaash etc., because they are hot on the streets at the moment.

Zzero Sufuri

I, however, feel that they should not work with them, at least not just yet because it’s too soon and they should first grow their names and fan bases before they consider doing collabos with people who have been in the industry for many years.

Secondly, the new Kenyan sound will be diluted if they start doing collabos with established artists left, right and center. Truth is that the two groups have different approaches to music and as soon as they start working together, the older folks are likely to influence the youngins.

As a result, new-age artists will lose their rawness, for lack of a better word and be drawn to sensible music. On the other hand, established artists might also be influenced by the youngins and maybe, just maybe they will also start releasing Wamlambez-like songs and we don’ t want that or do we?

Boondocks Gang Chura
Boondocks Gang

Granted, the new-age artists stand to gain a lot by working with their older peers but at what cost? Who bears the brunt? The way I see it, this is their time and they should maintain the unique identity of the new Kenyan sound by working with each other.

Established artists need to learn from new-age artists

I know this sounds funny. It’s even backed by the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. I, however, feel that people who have been in the game for long can also borrow a leaf from the new crop of Kenyan artists because why not?

Also read: You can’t resist the new-age music revolution

We live in a digital age and somehow, these new age artists have discovered a way of making music that sparks organic conversations i.e. people talk about a song and undertake challenges even when nobody has asked them to.

Sailors Gang
Sailors Gang

A good example is when Ethic, Ochunglo Family, Sailors Gang, Rico Gang and the likes release a song. The online chatter that it causes is always organic, even if you didn’t know that they have a song out, you will know because everyone on your timeline will be talking about it.

I honestly feel that this is something that our established artists can learn from since it will save them the hassle of engaging in useless PR stunts just so that they can get people to talk about them and their new releases.

I’m not saying that they should also do vulgar songs to get people’s attention. In my opinion they need to examine what these youngins are doing right and see how they can learn from it and use it to better themselves.

Ochunglo Family
Ochunglo Family

The truth is that we live in a fast-paced world, if you can’t conform then people won’t care how good you are as a musician or how good you used to be, a new artist will take your place and most people will forget that you ever existed.

New-age musicians are giving established artists nightmares!

If at all there are people who are not so pleased with the emergence of new-age musicians then it’s the local acts who have been in the game for a longer period, say 5, 10 years or more. I won’t mention any names because you know them too well, don’t you?


In my opinion, they have been backed into a corner by the new crop of artists and they don’t have a clue how they can get out of it. Put simply, they don’t know what to do to reclaim their fan bases. As such, some of them are left with no choice but to hate.

New-age musicians are very spontaneous unlike established artists. A random idea is turned into a song and they hit the studio to record it. Before you know it, the video (quality notwithstanding) is out and is getting mad love across the country.

Established artists like to think through all their steps because they feel they have been in the game for long, they know what works. In the end, they released a well-executed song/video but no one bothers to listen to it or watch it. They end up getting only a handful views.

New-age musicians are always on their toes. As soon as they release a song, they are back in studio working on the next hit unlike established artists who will wait for a song to marinate for some months. Before you know it, they have dropped another banger!

Boondocks Gang Chura
Boondocks Gang

Truth be told, these youngins are giving established artists sleepless nights. In other words, they are their biggest nightmare. Imagine trying to keep up with someone who has been in the game for less than a year compared to the many decades that you’ve been doing music. I would also feel horrible!

However, I don’t think all is lost. All established artists need to do is see what they can learn from the new crop of Kenyan musicians if at all they want to survive in this industry because let’s be honest, times have changed so why should they stick to old practices?

Watch Ochunglo Family’s latest jam Kaa Na Mama Yako below.

Collaborations are all some musicians need to survive

Recently collaborations have become the order of the day. Left, right, center you’ll find artists attempting this. Could it be the only way to save sinking legends. Everyday we are waking up to new collaborations some of which we didn’t think would work.

Looking at the Kenyan music industry, tremendous growth has occurred. We have seen the rise of new artists. The new age artists are quickly taking on the music platform from the long time legends.

Kenyans taking collabos far

These new musicians seem to have understood what their audience want and have also embraced collabos. I feel like this is the only thing left for most musicians.

Reasons why collaborations are keeping some artists relevant

You all know of big names who even after releasing hit after hit are slowly going down. Well, this could be one of the reason they need to do collabos. Look at how the new musicians are doing it. Ethic and Ochungulo family are making it up there especially with their remixes.


Have you all noticed that King Kaka is also using this trick?King Kaka is known to be doing better but I’d say that is not the case nowadays.  Recently he has featured in two collabos which seem to be doing better than his single releases. The one with the Kansoul and also Butita and Dj Shiti seem to have sold him.

Below is a link to a collabo between King Kaka and  Kansoul.

Look at it this way, would watch yourself fall or merge with a new person in the industry to survive? I would go for the latter. We all need to remain relevant especially in this industry. Also artists like Otile Brown and Arrow boy are also doing good. Recent collabos are something that I feel is all about being relevant.

The music industry is changing and some of this artists need something to lean on. Someone like Otile now needs to go internationally and even try and get Mbosso for a collabo. This will enlarge the market for his work. Let this people also avoid local collaboration.

Anyway if this is what is left, then I would wish that Nameless does something with a super artist..