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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Genge music, or genge, is a genre of hip hop music with additional influences from dancehall music that had its beginnings in Nairobi, Kenya.[1] The name was coined by the producer Clemo and popularized by Kenyan rappers Jua Cali and Nonini, who started off at Calif Records, and is commonly sung in Sheng (Swahili slang), Swahili or local dialects. The term genge is a sheng word for "a group or a mass of people".

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Origins and characteristics

As Kenyan urban music became more and more popular, Kenyan artists and music fans wanted to have a common name for their music, and many names were suggested. Among them were Boomba music, kapuka, and gemba. Around this time, Nonini started a campaign to popularize the term "genge" to refer to Kenyan urban music and also specifically music by artists on Calif Records.

Calif-style genge was originated by Clement "Clemo" Rapudo of Calif Records and located in California Estate, Nairobi. It was popularized by rappers, including Nonini with his song Manzi wa Nairobi and Jua Cali with the songs: Ngeli ya Genge, Nipe Asali and Ruka. Due to disagreement on the definition of Kenyan urban music, the name genge is now more commonly used to describe music from Calif Records. However, genge is easily identified by its rapping style and conversational rhythm format that makes a song sound like a casual discussion in sheng.

The most notable genge artists are Nonini, P-Unit, Jua Cali, Influx Swagga, Flexx, Jimw@t, Rat-a-tat, Alpha Msanii, the late Lady S, and Pili Pili among others. Nonini was the most popular artist on the Calif Records stable between the year 2002 and 2004 when he left for Homeboyz Productions. He has since fallen out of favor with most genge artists and importantly, producer Clemo. Jua Cali, who stayed with Calif Records, is the de facto king of genge;[when?] riding high on his latest song, Kwaheri - a collaboration with the Sanaipei Tande. Nonini is the self-titled Godfather of Genge.

Genge has given rise to other subgenres such as the Ghipuka popularised by Kenrazy, however, it remains a formidable force as America-based producer Keggah, has added a fresh flavor to give genge a new sound that Kenyans are loving.

After years of silence from genge artists, in June 2018, an Umoja-based boy band called Ethic Entertainment, came out with their break-out song "Lamba Lolo" a song that garnered over 4 million views on YouTube. Other boy bands like Boondocks Gang, Ochungulo Family, Sailors Gang, Wakali Wao,Angry Panda, Wakadinali, Vintage Clan, Rico Gang came out and produced bangers that bore the subgenre, Gengetone,which has taken more influence from dancehall music and less hiphop music than genge. There has been a sprout of hundreds of youth releasing songs from the ghetto in Nairobi.

These songs generally talk about their struggles in the ghetto, with most songs usually taking on a story telling format wherein the main singer is reliving or sharing an event they witnessed with their friends and the lesson the event has taught them. These events often, but not always, revolve around sex, Marijuana, women, or interactions with people in positions of power over them.

On August 27, 2019, the hit banger "Wamlambez" by Sailors_254 was banned by KFCB for its obscene lyrics from public airplay to only restrict it to clubs and bars. It was regarded to be "pure pornography" by former KFCB boss Dr. Ezekiel Mutua. The song became a national catchphrase even by students, youths, and even notable politicians like former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had been seen dancing to it.

Some of the most popular genge tracks include:

Artist Title
Nonini Manzi wa Nairobi
We Kamu
Jua Cali Ruka
Bongo La Biashara
Ngeli Ya Genge
Bidii Yangu
Pilipili Morale
(featuring Rat-a-tat)
Kamata Dame
Jimw@t Under 18,

Sitoi Kitu Kidogo

See also


  1. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn (2018). "Kenya". In Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn; Fonseca, Anthony J. (eds.). Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 393. ISBN 9780313357596.
This page was last edited on 18 June 2022, at 08:11
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