I think spitting rhymes was one of those things that our forefathers did just after a hunting session, as they carried the day’s meal home. Seriously, think about it…”Yoh! My name is Onkule the great, the man in charge of today’s fate, cause all I do is catch that prey and make sure that my fam is fed”(drops mic)… no?
I don’t know about you but I would personally rather listen to an artist that sings or raps in a language that I don’t understand, but has me getting at least 70% of the words (or at least have me thinking that I am getting it). That for me is way better than someone who sings/ raps in a language that I understand and yet never making sense of what exactly they are singing/ rapping about.
While there are plenty of African Hip Hop artists that I would have on my list, these ones have consistently proven themselves over time, with a unique style that makes them uncontested pace setters.
He defines his music as Skhanda Music. Simply put, “vernacular poetry over authentic South African Hip- Hop beats that are driven by traditional elements.”
Besides being effortlessly smooth with his lyrics, K.O is one of the very few artists that I wouldn’t care as much to listen to, because I wouldn’t understand what he would be going on and on about (considering he often raps in his native language). And yet still, I find myself straining to get his flow. They say that music is a universal language, but it takes an exceptionally talented artist to wow a foreign audience.
To be honest, when he first started out, I knew he was good but did not think he would last long in Kenya’s rap scene.
For me, King Kaka lacked that “umph” that made other top rappers in the country (at that point in time) successful.
He has however proven me wrong over and over again and I am glad he did. His poetic style fused with his being a great story teller more than anything else makes him the timeless rapper that would have me tirelessly listen to him all day, any day.
Muthoni Drummer Queen
MDQ sought to explore Hip Hop upon realization that she had a lot to say and this was the only genre she could use to express herself with as many words as possible, unlike with singing whose structure is limiting
She is bold and embraces her art fully for what it is- a platform to explore and discover. Creativity has a whole new meaning thanks to MDQ, who isn’t just about having great lyrical flow, but making sense with every dropped bar. Certainly a refreshing approach to a genre that was initially used purely reserved for entertainment, especially in Kenya.
He often raps in his native language (which again would have me thinking I could be doing something more meaningful with my life other than trying to figure out what he could possibly be rapping about).
However, his commanding presence leaves me no choice than to stop whatever it is that I am doing and to pay attention. And here is the thing about Sarkodie, I cannot count the number of times after listening to him I’ve thought “Darn! that was so good I have to listen to it again.”- that ladies and gentlemen is a powerful artist.
I can’t think of anyone’s lyrics that are as fresh and well thought like Joh Makini’s .
He unlike most modern day rappers does conscious music other than strive to be musically correct or sell hype, which constantly has him on my radar and looking forward to what he would have to offer next.
A Hip Hop pioneer that has remained true to what attracted people to his style of music, he doesn’t call himself a Swahili rap king for nothing.
Did your best African rappers make it to my list?
Vote or/and drop me a comment below and let me know.