As you pack stuff and head to the countryside, you probably have the age-old Christmas dilemma: What do you play on the car stereo? So we have a very agreeable playlist. Here goes.
19. Havana –Camila Cabello
With an antecedent, to her debut album, ‘Camila’, set to hit the airwaves next year, Camila Cabello teams with Young Thug to give you Havana, a tune with smooth vibes over bits of Spanish energy. This is one of the songs that proves Camila is doing well since breaking off from the Fifth Harmony group of dance queens, and through the mid tempo track you can see a successful career coming up. Turn this song up, let it take your heart to Havana, fall in love with a place, and Havana, ooh-na-na-na! The video of the song too is something…
18. Bad Liar- Selena Gomez
Rated by the New York Times as the most signature song of her career, Bad Liar by the 25 year old Selena Gomez will push for space on your holiday playlist this year, and rightfully so. If you are looking for a voice that will slide against your soapy nakedness, a beat you can sing along to, and lyrics that remind you about some good old young vibes, this is it.
17. Smile –Jay Z and Gloria Carter
Jay Z came through as a mid-life sensation, and he gave us a taste of well-aged wine (or whisky). 4.44 will be remembered as the album of his career for the boldness and vulnerability. In this track Jaz Z lets us into his family life, the story of her Mom and the struggles of “living in the shadow”. This is a song of pain and triumph and love and tears, and it is a perfect way to grind the last days of 2017 as you think about your failures, close shaves and triumph. It was hard to pick a single song from this album and we know you might have other ideas, but, “Smile”.
16. Loyalty – Kendrick Lamar Ft Rihanna
This was another great album of 2017 and it is a good feeling album all through, with perfect poetics and deep reflections. It’s a holiday though, and we had to pick something that feels smooth. Rihanna makes this song easy to the ears and Kendrick taps in with his usual flow and signature questions. We imagine that this is a perfect feeling track as you bask on the white sands waiting for the lady who sells seashells at the seashore.
15. That’s what I like-Bruno Mars
Just when we thought Bruno Mars had given it all, he practically threw the world off balance with his 24k Magic album. Magical album? Yes. Sample the New Jack Swing style in That’s What I Like and inject some energy into your holiday. Probably rent a beach house in Watamu, invite your favorites and pop your Cadillac around town if that’s how you like what you like!
14. Boulevard of broken dreams- Green Day
This is a throwback track from the 2004, one that ages like good wine, if it does age at all. You are probably wondering why we are not giving you Holiday, but this is an ode for your reflection time. This one will heal the bruises left by delayed promotions, hard looks from the boss, or something as simple as the days you wouldn’t wait to get home only to be stuck in traffic under a matatu speaker with hilariously annoying music. Let Billie Joe Armstrong into your ears, and mind this holiday, and he will remind you that you are not alone.
13. Know no better
We can say 2017 has been a good year for Major Lazer, and when he’s got Travis Scott, Quavo and Camila Cabello over some sick dancehall rhythm, you know it is ShowTime Baby! Tell me, how do you love lyrics like
‘Wild ones, like we fresh out the cage,
Showtime baby, fresh out the stage
Bad lil’ mama, fresh off the page
Front like you love it ‘
I bet you wanna find out?
12. Despacito – Luis Fonsi Ft. Daddy Yankee
That tune that we all fell in love with, song binged until we could hear it no more, till we finally began to indict everyone who as little as mentioned the song within our 20km radius. That one. It is also a song that came with a magic wand that somehow managed to bring out covers from different Kenyan languages. I suppose you got a cover or two from your Whatsapp group, some of them depressingly annoying, and others hilariously interesting. You might want to check the Kisii cover, thank me later.
11. I’m the One –DJ Khaled Ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne
See, we cannot debate the authenticity of this brand, so before anything, we need to agree that this is combination can only give us a positive, and “I’m The One” was it. The laid back track that skates into a hip hop beat comes from DJ Khaled’s tenth album, Grateful, one that has been doing pretty well on the charts. The song becomes the first number one single for DJ Khaled on the Billboard Hot 100.
10. Shule Yako- Mercy Masika
After Mwema, which is without a doubt the song of the decade, Mercy Masika returned with Shule Yako this year. Now more soulful, prayerful and with danceable beat, it proved that gospel can be clean ans uplifting. Backup singers did a terrific job. One more thing, the song was written by the Pitson, one of the better hitmakers in recent years. If more Kenyan artists could employ the services of songwriters…
9. Amina – Sanaipei Tande
Hands up if you still think Sana’s voice was the tastiest thing on radio since forever. See, Sanaipei has been giving us great jams like Kwaheri, Najuta, Mulika Mwizi before seducing us into Mfalme Wa Mapenzi, a sensational song that sat well with most of the candle lit dinner night imaginations of many. Then there was Amina, which perhaps proves that she should get more airplay. This one is run by powerful lyrics about deep philosophical concepts of the length of time, life, living and gratefulness. Sink into Sana’s voice
8. Melanin- Sauti sol Ft. Patoranking
We know that our boys sing well, and maybe part of the reason why this song sounds so good is the flavor thick black muscle slithering up the globe in vocals and the guitar. The true beauty of diversity is what Melanin is, with Patoranking owning the space like a god. This is a good song to play when you are not in the mood of over analyzing lyrics and scripts and you just want to chill. Bonus point, the video is beauty.
7. Now You know –Nyashinski
This is that singer who came back, for some, and began to exist, for others. (Re)Entering the stage with richness as Now You Know, Nyashinski trapped a whole lot of fish with a net so small. This song came to rescue us from the cliché’ of badly written songs, worse voices and even more disorganized rhythms. With all the humming in that song, I’m sure you will love a dose of the single.
6. Seduce me – Ali Kiba
This is the signature feel good rhythm that Alikiba has given us this year. In order to maximize your utility, lie down with a glass of something, anything but tea, preferably out in the open where you can see beautiful flowers. Imagine what it would look like to have flowers around you if all you got is wild grass. You can then bask in the smoothness of Alikiba’s voice, as you nod your head to the tempo of the beats and sip your glass of whatever. Watch out for the twist that comes up at 02:17 and thank God for creativity.
5. Malaika- Nyashinki
The perfect Kenyan lover’s anthem, crafted to be sung by our gentlemen for our ladies, but the gentlemen took so long that the ladies chose to just download it and have Nyashinski gel up their feelings into immense feelings of pleasure. He did well. That rich voice, full in all the right places, and the laid back feel of the song played well for the theme of love. Love somebody this holiday, will you?
4. Slippery – Migos
I know many of you are still saying that Trap is not hip-hop but it does not matter. The Migos have been good for some time, and they released an album named “Culture” in 2017. I like their constructive noise, easy flow and the utilization of their voices as music instruments. You will definitely enjoy this jam through this holiday.
3. Machozi ya Jana – Juliani
One desk at Nairobi Cool holds the opinion that this was the best song in Kenya in 2017. It captured the past and the present as Juliani commemorated the death of Willy Kimani, an international lawyer who was killed in cold blood. The political cloud has hovered around for one tad too long and the song reminded us of our future, our past and our present. Much of life is made of happiness, and much, of pain, and this song makes us think about the pain, and 2017 had quite some pain for many Kenyans.
2. Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa – Particula (ft. Nasty C, Ice Prince, Patoranking & Jidenna)
The less we say about this song, the better, but Major Lazer has a way of giving jams a smooth flow. The song feels good and it’s star-studded. The video is also pretty cool, especially the point where Jidenna comes through with his classic man swagger. Play it.
1. TBT – Octopizzo
Wodap Wodap! Can we rap this whole party with some sick beat and hilarious lyrics, ‘Nitakujenga aje mtu wangu na buda we si building?’ That’s Mr. Ohanga with some good Kibera vibes.
Check out Top 12 Nairobi Songs Of 2017