This has been a great year for music, undoubtedly.The quality of the beat has remarkable improved.
The videos are as competitive as anywhere else in the world. The song writing is still awful. But a few did try. Nairobi Cool picked the best 12 songs of the year, and without further do, turn up some base here we go.
12. Nairobi-Mayonde ft Stone Jiwe
There is a general consensus that Stone Jiwe settled for the worst rap name in the history of rap names. His rapping and lines can be lame, but there is always some word play to savour. But it is Mayonde’s sweetly whiny voice that makes the song a contender for the best Nairobi anthem of all time. There is something upscale about Mayonde that may rub some people the wrong way, but it is who she is.
11. Kama Kawaida-Kagwe Mungai X Mayonde X Fena Gitu X Muthoni Drummer Queen
If anyone ever doubted if there is still any contemporary artists in Nairobi, this track is your answer. Definitely, middle-class and upper middle-class, it is a feel-good-song of the year in a party of young people. Also, Kagwe Mungai has established himself as the most sought after contemporary artist with a signature tune.
10. Odi Dance-Timeless Noel, Jabidii and Hype Ochi
This is basically a hype song, or a dance song. What makes it one of the top songs is that it gave birth to the biggest dance move of 2017: The Odi Dance. It is an okay dance altogether. What it loses in musicality, it makes up for in dance.
Now, Nyash sneezes and Kenyans go into shock. It is the case of the ex that comes back looking like a snack. The case of the ex that is doing better and you want a piece of them. Nyashinski outdid himself with this track that won the hearts of men and women alike. It is a beautiful song, well-arranged and perfect to serenade someone with. It was a bit cheesy when DJs played it at 2.07 a.m when the devil lies to everyone that they can sing. It was hillarious when some rural boys tried their vocals. Disgusting.
8. Senzenina-Rabbit ft RedFourth Chorus
I like to imagine that Philip Tuju is one of the greatest artists and everything that he touches or is a part of, is gold. That aside, I like Rabbit’s word-play and how he is has established a niche as a sage (ha!) who brings poetic wisdom to songs. Senzenina is a great song, weepy, but still, great and the harmonies between the two different entities are beyond perfect. Also, not everyday an acapella makes it to a list of the best songs in a year.
7. Melanin-Sauti Sol
If we could all drop our moral stances and ridiculous notions about sexualizing of women, we would agree that this is a beautiful track, just like every single black woman that was celebrated is. It is also timely, a perfect collaboration with the fast-rising Patoraking.
First, it should be the song of the year in a fair world. But the world is not fair. Yet, it is the best written and produced song this year. In 2017, Sanaipei graduates to a fully conscious adult and pens one of the most poignant poems and finds the most soulful way to narrate it. The underrated beat, and guitar gives the song its somber mood. The video was a perfect icing on the cake.
5. Lethal-Smallz Lethal ft Sage
Many people have complained Smallz Lethal intro rap is a tad boring, may be because it is done in Kisii, and Ekegusii is not one of the sexiest languages on earth. But the song makes it to the top because it has the best hook in this decade. The beat is international and if you will be honest, Smallz Lethal rap, did marry the beat pretty well. But Sage woke up on the right side of bed this day. The song has not clicked 20,000 views, so criminally underrated.
4. Bablas-The Kansoul
This song is what we would call: The Kenyan Anthem. Have you ever needed a song that nudges you to make bad decisions? A song that makes you feel great about losing your morals and having fun? This is it. Bablas has seeped through all channels and made it an anthem. The line,’’Nataka nilewe waite ambulance’’ has become a common phrase.
3. Willy Paul ft Alaine- Yes I do
It is a hard choice between this song and JigiJigi. If I can get away with it, I’d say they tie. However, this one takes the lead seeing as it is more celebratory as opposed to the other one. Willy Paul is maturing vocally and so are his videos. Vocally, the song was perfect, with Willy Paul’s sultry, if romantic voice and Alaine’s sweet, if affected voice, it was a perfect duet, no wonder it is one of the greatest wedding songs in the recent times. The reggae beat was part of the magic. Plus, it was one of the most danced to and sing-alongs everywhere in Kenya.
2. Le Band-Number one ft Suzziah
Let me tell you a story about these young, attractive and gifted men. The one and only time I’ve seen them live was at Mr. and Miss USIU finals. They were amazing but somehow, shockingly, the crowd was dull. Le Band are much underrated and this is something that really irks me to the very core. These guys are brilliant and they know their stuff. Which makes this song with Suzziah top on the list. If you haven’t seen the video, the song is likely to give you a Sauti Sol vibe here and an Amos and Josh feel here. What I like most about the song is the perfect marriage with Suzziah. And the guy with the deep voice. A voice strong enough to knock off knickers. Suziah’s voice definitely rocked many a man’s boxers.
The bass in the beat is cruel. Not sure about Octopizzo’s rapping skills, but in this particular track, the lyrics are top drawer. Octopizzo has the infectious charm and the song has that rude beat that got heads banging, and with it, Octopizzo, cemented his place as the most authoritative rapper, from K-Tonwn and the entire East Africa.