The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every sector, especially people in the showbiz industry. However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom and some people have had a great year. They have had their respective breakthroughs and reached career milestones. Some might even argue that they wouldn’t have had a good year without the pandemic.
Musically, this has been one of the best years in history. A lot of good music was released this year and local music is getting more and more airplay. Earlier this year, Mbogi Genje caused an online buzz with their unique sheng in tracks such as ‘Ngumi Mbwegze’ and ‘Kidungi’. The trio from Donholm even landed a collaboration with household name Mejja and are in demand for radio and TV interviews. The only way for them has been up since then, and they have even landed endorsement deals which is a sign of the corporate world embracing their style.
Sylvia Ssaru has also had a better year than most. She released some songs last year, but this year has seen her move on to a different level. Raunchy lyrics accompanied by a fearless delivery of bars have seen her fan base grow daily.
Former Camp Mulla singer Karun has this year seen a renaissance of her career. The R&B singer/songwriter has a unique and fresh Afro-soul vibe and has made the most of this year with many live show performances. Her live performances are not one to be missed. She is an alumnus of the emPawa Africa project by Mr. Eazi and has followed that up with singles such as ‘Catch a Vibe’.
Since its inception last year, Gengetone as a genre has gone viral and has given rise to now household names such as Sailors and Ethic Entertainment. However, this year has seen the genre on a slow but gradual decline with some even say it is on its deathbed. Some artists have perhaps noticed this downhill trend and chose to pursue and boost their solo careers.
Rapper Reckless earned fame with Ethic Entertainment and was the group’s stand out artist, delivering catchy hooks and verses. He first signalled his intention of going solo when he featured in Khaligraph Jones’ Khali Kartel 3. Since then, he has released a couple of solo tracks on his solo YouTube channel. The rapper from Umoja has also managed to get Mejja on his song and even featured on Willis Raburu's debut release.
Originally under Ochunglo Family, Benzema has also been carving out his path as a solo artist. His breakout single as an individual artist was when he was featured by Noti Flow on ‘Foto Moto’. Since then, he has been releasing solo tracks while still churning out songs under Ochunglo family.
Music and dance group Matata that consists of 5 members; Marcus Ojiambo, Ken Kimani, Richie Mathu, Freddy Milanya and Festus Mwenda have taken over Gengetone. The crew based in Oslo Norway has been trending with their high definition and quality videos, energetic dancing styles and overall modern contemporary Gengetone vibes. This year has seen them release even more hit songs such as ‘Ruracio’ with a clear slogan of Gengetone to the world.
Rap trio from Umoja Estate Wakadinali is the definition of underground Kenyan hip hop. They have been gathered a loyal fan base over the years, but 2020 has seen them get even bigger. They released their highly-rated third studio album ‘Victims of Madness’ in November and landed an endorsement deal with Hennessey Kenya.
Kahush went viral last year with his breakout single ‘Mi Siwezi’ that received massive airplay. The rapper who is Health Cabinet Secretary Muhtahi Kagwe’s son has since followed that up by releasing three albums ‘Trial and Error’ in 2019, ‘Niko’ and ‘Wanted in Nairobi’ in 2020. This year he cemented his place firmly as one to watch out for in the game.
Paul Baraka alias Breeder Lw got the attention of the hip hop scene with his top-notch bars. ‘Bazenga Dadii’ was his breakout song on the airwaves and many are touting him as the future of Kenyan hip hop. Breeder is on high demand with many artists wanting to do a collabo with him.
The Kenyan comedy scene was primarily stand-up oriented, and stand-up was the only way to make it. Covid came with a ban on live comedy shows and comedy too had to embrace technology to adapt. This boosted the existing online comedy presence and has seen an increase of content being shared, especially on Instagram and YouTube. Many comedians have risen from social media, and some are even earning from it.
Dennis Mugo who played the role of the much-beloved OJ on popular TV show Tahidi High had grown somewhat irrelevant. He had been away from the limelight but made a comeback this year via YouTube with his show OJ Flix. On the show, he talks about quirky, relevant, funny and up to date well researched Kenyan stories. OJ and his team deliver comedy differently through his very funny perspective.
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Tom Daktari and Sammy Kioko have grown a loyal following on Instagram and YouTube for their comedy skits which portray life in Kenyan high school. The two comedians who also began with stand-up comedy get thousands of views for their constantly uploaded videos.
Three Men Army is a comedy trio of three who talk about different aspects of life as a Kenyan. Their videos going viral even earned them a radio show at NRG radio station.
With the constant popping up of new applications such as TikTok and the frequent updates on current popular ones such as Instagram and Twitter, it is becoming increasingly easy to get famous.
Socialite Shakilla got famous on Instagram after going on an online interview where she claimed to have slept with a couple of celebrities such as Willy Paul and Victor Wanyama and Willy Paul. She later admitted the claims were false after the latter sued her for defamation. Shakilla is playing the social media game and is making moves to get more famous.
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TikTok sensation Azziad Nasenya went viral for her Utawezana dance challenge. She has since released dance videos with celebrities such as Octopizzo and Willy Paul. Azziad also launched her YouTube channel where she does a series of celebrities’ interviews.
22-year-old King Kalala got famous on Instagram where she gave her strong and unfiltered opinions regarding issues on sexuality, relationships and broke men. Not to forget her deep voice that has turned many heads and helped in growing her social media popularity. She landed a job as a radio presenter on NRG; all in a space of a couple of months.