From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Genge music, or genge, is a genre of hip hop 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 (slang), Swahili or local dialects. The term genge is a sheng word for "a group or a mass of people".


This type of subgenre is commonly among the youth in kenya and is now taking over the Tanzanian bongo which was dominating Kenyan industry for long.

Origins and characteristics[edit]

As Kenyan urban music became more and more popular, Kenyan artists and music fans wanted to have a common name for their music and lots of names were suggested; among them were Boomba music, kapuka, and gemba among others. Around this time Nonini started a campaign to popularize the term "genge" to refer to Kenyan urban music, but 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 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, came out with their break-out song "Lamba Lolo" a song that garnered over 3 million views on YouTube. Other boy bands like Boondocks Gang, Ochungulo Family and Sailors came out and produced bangers that bore the subgenre, Gengetone. There has been a sprout of hundreds of youth releasing songs from the ghetto in Nairobi. Most of these songs talk about sex, drugs, particularly bhang, and women.

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 the 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
Influx Swagga Ongea Dada
Last Night
Come Twende
Jua Cali Ruka
Bidii Yangu
Flexx Nyundo
Pilipili Morale
(featuring Rat-a-tat)
Kamata Dame
Jimw@t Under 18,

Sitoi Kitu Kidogo

Ethic Entertainment Lamba Lolo, Position, Saba, Instagram, Fyeka, Figa, Daladala
Boondocks Gang Rieng, Mavitu, Ital, Madam, Mboko Haram Mathogothanio Nirombose
Sailors Wamlambez(banned from public airplay) Pekejeng Queen B Wainame
Zzero Sufuri Zimenishika, Matisha Kashike Matiati Manzi
Ochungulo Family Bora Uhai Na Iwake Rmx Aluta Kirimino Thutha Kong'o Kaa na Mamayako Do Re Mi
Gwaash Sponyo Ball 'n' flexx Shooter Wabebe Kalongo(ft Boondocks Gang) Katambe Kichinjio

(ft Wakali Wao X Boondocks Gang)

See also[edit]


  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.