With all that has happened, 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. However, it has arguably been one of the best years in terms of music. Despite a massive drop in income due to Covid-19 enforced measures resulting in closed clubs and venues, the industry seems to be booming. Musicians and creatives have had time to hit the studio and enhance their creativity, which saw the creation of some of the best Kenyan music.
Earlier in the year, we had an increase in albums' number, with Sauti Sol, Steph Kapela, and Kahush all dropping albums. There have also been a couple of breakout artists this year, such as Ssaru and Breeder Lw. It has also been the year of collaborations with some big names in the music industry, dropping projects together with even more artists set to do so.
Officially known as Henry Ohanga, the Kibera rapper ended the fans’ long wait by dropping his much-anticipated album Jungle Fever. Unlike his previous releases, which mainly touched on poverty and issues affecting the youth, his new album depicts the African culture and spirit. It shows Octopizzo as a risk-taker not shy of experimenting with different sounds and styles.
Jungle Fever, which comes two years after his last album Next Year, displays his mature sound. Octo's interests and love for music are well delivered between bars in this afro-rap rhumba fusion project. The 15-track album has several collaborations, featuring artists such as the legendary Suzanna Owiyo on the track Lela, Maya on Swaga za Wapi and Zambe. Some of the features that came as a surprise were his longtime friend Blinky Bill and fellow Kibera musician and Gengetone star Zzero Sufuri. Instrumentalist Owino Kitoto also features on the 49-minute long album.
When it comes to collaborations, no one has done more this year than this Genge legend. Wamocho with Mbogi Genje, Leo with 2020 breakout rapper Ssaru, and Pakua with Jovial are some of the impressive projects he has done. A big number of his collabos have been hit songs. Controversial musician Willy Paul through Instagram, announced that he has an upcoming banger with Mejja titled Nye. The announcement has had netizens highly anticipating the song's release, which is set for 25 November.
The R&B singer released his debut album Just in Love in September and has since been dropping gems. Otile has released songs with some African stars: Regina with Tanzanian Jux and Jamila with Nigerian Reekado Banks.
However, he set tongues wagging after announcing that he has yet another upcoming collaboration with Kenyan musician Tanasha Donna. The announcement came after Otile posted a video of him and Tanasha in the studio.
With his ability to adapt to different styles, Naiboi is probably one of the most versatile Kenyan musicians and most sought out by other artists for features. He has already shown this sleek versatility, dropping collaborations with Band Beca Inaniaffect and Black with Nyashinski. However, it seems that Naiboi is just getting started after he recently shared a teaser video of his upcoming collaboration. The video captioned 'Tungoje ufunguliwe ama?', shows him the studio with fellow heavyweights Khalighaph Jones and Nyashinski.
What collabo would you like to see from your favourite artists?