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Screenshot from Mapozi "Mr Blue" music video.

14 Bongo Flava Classics You Need In Your Life

Relive some classics from the "golden era" of Tanzania's Bongo Flava, which gained massive popularity across East Africa.

Today, Bongo Flava is the most popular style of music amongst the youth in Tanzania. It's also gained massive popularity in the rest of East Africa.


Since then, artists like Diamond Platnumz, Ali Kiba and Vanessa Mdee have since given Tanzanian music a wider international appeal, but East Africans may remember a "golden period" of urban music when Tanzania's Bongo Flava had taken over the airwaves.

From the radio and television, to the clubs, bars, minibuses and at every street corner, you couldn't escape this music. And why would you even want to?

The name "Bongo Flava" comes from "ubongo," the Swahili word for brains (which implies intelligence). Bongo is also a common nickname used to refer to Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania.

This unique style of Tanzanian hip-hop and R&B originated from the streets of Dar es Salaam. That's why its name translates to "the flavour from Dar es Salaam."

Let's take you back to the 2000s, where the likes of T.I.D, Matonya, Lady Jay Dee, Mr. Blue, Marlaw, Dully Sykes, Ray C, AY, and even a young Ali Kiba were revolutionizing the scene with every hit song they released. This era of bongo music blessed Swahili speakers with timeless music that we can jam to for many years to come.

Here's a list of some Bongo Flava classics that will take you back to a simpler time, and maybe even stir up some blissful memories.

T.I.D "Siamini"

Ray C "Umenikataa"

Jay Moe ft. Ngwair "Kimya Kimya"

Mwana FA ft. A Y "Habari Ndiyo Hiyo"

Mr Blue "Mapozi"

Berry Black & Berry White ft. Shirko "Na Wewe Tu"

Z.Anto "Binti Kiziwi"

Mr Nice "Kidali Po"

Ali Kiba "Nakshi Mrembo"

Marlaw "Bembeleza"

Lady Jay Dee "Siku Hazigandi"

Tmk Wanaume "Dar Mpaka Moro"

Bushoke ft. K-Lynn "Nalia Kwa Furaha"

Matonya ft. Lady Jay Dee "Anita"

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

6 South African Rap Albums and EPs to Stream Right Now

Stream these new South African releases for a dose of nothing but beats and rhymes.

Hip-hop is always changing. While the melodic style of rapping, which is now a standard in hip-hop, has led to a generation of innovative artists who aren't bounded by the traditional rules of rap, hip-hop fans will never tire of hearing rappers who rely mostly on their raps to catch the listener's attention.

If you are a fan of clever wordplay, impressive cadences and flows and the raw expression of rappity rap, then South Africa always has something for you. Such rappers may not be on the roster of major and influential indie labels, but they exist and are releasing music regularly.

From the clinical raps of Ginger Trill to the playful delivery of SimmySimmyNya, and everything in between, we bring you a list of six South African rap albums and EPs for your headphones.

Editor's note: This list is in no particular order.


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