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Hail the Queens: Kenya's best upcoming female rappers

Features
 Rapper Veryl Mkali Wao. (Courtesy)

Last month, Wanjiku Kimani aka Femi One Femi was crowned the best female rapper during the recently concluded AFRIMMA awards. “We won!!! Best Female Rapper in Africa. The first East African Female rapper to take it home. It is such a big pat on the back for my team and I for all the work we have put in throughout the years,” the Kaka Empire signee wrote on social media.

This was after beating a whole lot of other equally talented rapstresses like Fena Gitu, Ghana's Feli Nuna, South Africa's Nadia Nakai, Nigeria's Ms Banks, Candy Bleaks, Sierra Leone's Nata, and Tanzania's Rosa Ree.

While this was an accomplishment of its own accord, ladies have continued to raise the bar in the rap industry.

Female rappers are creating some of the most exciting movements in Hip Hop. The girls are simultaneously eating and serving, healthy helpings of lyricism, swagger, and star power to an industry that oftentimes gives them crumbs.

As the year comes to the end, we spotlight some fresh queens who have to create waves this particular year and constantly battle with misogynoir inside and outside of the music industry.

Veryl Mkali Wao

The only rapper on this list who has also been nominated for this year’s PMVAs has been on the rise and has been knocking on doors since when she tossed herself into the music world. Hailing from Nakuru, Veryl dropped her debut album, Shadow of Death, an album that featured renowned Hip Hop artistes like T.G the Assasin, Patto Rebel, Vinare, Verdict, Kalimani Tha Mc and Romi Swahili.

The 14-track album showed her grit and how angry she was for the ultimate trampling of the industry. The lyrical femcee, recording and performing artiste and deejay was among the finalists of the Tusker Nexters competition. She later did a celebrity pairing with Mejja and Kamwana on Dala Wa.

Kuky     

Without a doubt, the rap industry is male-dominated but Kuky has been proving stereotypes wrong. The lyrical mistress fell in love with rap music as a child and has been on the rise, especially this year, which saw her collabo with King Kaka and later went on and dropped her debut EP, Gold. From the beats to lyrical delivery her album stands out as one of the best openers from a rap artiste.

Starting her musical career in 2017, Kuky had a taste of the unforgiving music industry. The journalist-turned-rapper balances her two careers, both of which are flourishing in their own right.

When releasing her EP, Kuky described the new project as one that cements her position in the industry as the lyrical mistress, reminding everyone that that rap is no longer a boys' club affair.               

Shekina Karen

When the OG Khaligraph Jones dropped Khali Cartel 4, Shekinah was part of the cast and she killed the flow with her unmatched bars. Her fast flow and talent are exceptional. Shekinah has fans excited, with many dubbing her as one of the next big femcees from Kenya. She has dropped tracks such as Iende Huntress and Genje.

Mwende

In the handful of years Mwende has been in the music industry, she has shown she is an artiste going places. The upcoming independent artiste has a way of writing infectious music and relatable narratives. Her latest EP, Huu Mwaka, is a testament to this. Despite being a newbie, she has gotten a sizeable following as a rapper and this is what keeps her on her toes.

Huu Mwaka offers feel-good instrumentation with a strong message. Barely a fortnight since her Debut EP hit the airwaves, she says it has been well-received across different platforms. 

Huu Mwaka takes the listener on a musical journey with a nostalgic Afrobeats sound combined with a modern dancehall style.

Alma Ras

At just 22, Alma delivers songs that are equal parts feisty and funny. She is a rising multi-genre artiste, singer, and songwriter. She is poised to make an impact in her local scene and around the world with her unparalleled sound and style. Through her emotion-filled vocal performances, Alma radiates raw emotion through ear-gracing instrumentation. Inspired by life experiences, she strives to push the envelope with her sound to make a dynamic style. Her lyricism paints a blank canvas that is rooted in experience and her willingness to reach the major headlines. From hip-hop to Genge to Afropop, Alma is an artiste to watch as she is set to cement herself in the music industry for years to come.

Groovy Jo

She is a versatile multitalented singer that can jump ship from the trap, hip-hop, drill, Afrobeats, ragga, and Afropop seamlessly. In 2019, her star started shining when she was selected among the Homeboyz Jumpman Freshman List and nominated for Best Female Artiste in the 2019 Unkut Awards. Her star quality is undeniable. Her infectious energy, sharp-witted humour and boisterous love for anyone she comes across makes for a captivating entertainer on and off stage.

Dyana Codds

The sultry, body-positive heroine, Dyana may be coy from the spurts of interactions she allows her fans to get off her, but her art speaks volumes of her confidence and security as a rapper. She has proven herself to be a serious contender in mainstream Hip Hop. The rapstress recently dropped an all-drill album featuring high-profile artistes such as Buruklyn Boyz, Wakadinali and Groovy Jo. The album dubbed Thank Me Later is a 13-track piece of work and her most recent video released is Foreign, featuring Buruklyn Boyz.

Nem R

Nem R is a soulful singer and hardcore rapper whose vocals, lyricism, and style are refreshing. She is a diverse songwriter and fierce lyricist. A once-in-a-generation star who is yet to explode. She has an EP series called AREA. Other notable women who have shown signs of not slowing down include Snaidah Don Dada, Shanty Bobo and Achicho Software. They have all time and again proved their mettle. From hardcore bars to rapid raps. 

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