Scene from Rayvanny and S2kizzy's "Pochi Nene."

7 Bongo-Trap Songs You Need to Hear Right Now

Don't sleep on Tanzania's burgeoning hip-hop and trap scene.

Even though Tanzania is renowned for its popular bongo flava music, let's not overlook all incredible hip-hop and trap releases that have been rocking the airwaves lately.

In no particular order, here are some of the waviest cuts of bongo-trap that you'll ever hear, featuring the likes of Chin Bees, Rayvanny, Rosa Ree, S2kizzy, OMG Tanzania and more.

Rayvanny & S2kizzy "Pochi Nene"

Ravyanny is the Tanzanian sensation under Diamond Platnumz' Wasafi imprint known for hit records like "Makulusa" and "Kwetu." He shows off his versatility with a new afro-trap rendition called "Pochi Nene" which features rapper and super-producer S2kizzy. The song translates to "deep pockets" and it's already on everyone's lips.

Chin Bees "Kababaye"

The self-proclaimed king of bongo trap himself, Chin Bees, is proving to be one of Tanzania's most gifted hip-hop stars. When he dropped the catchy self-boasting single "Kababaaye" in 2017 it quickly became the biggest trap anthem in the region. With a string of impressive tracks from his latest Ladha album, this flexible rapper is clearly curving out his own lane in the East African scene.

Moni Centrozone ft. Country Boy "Mwaaah"

"Mwaah" is the infectious trap single by Tanzanian rap stars Moni Centrozone and Country Boy. Produced by S2kizzy, this song showcases the flashy hip-hop and trap culture brewing in the streets of Dar Es Salaam.

Rosa Ree "Dow"

This article would not be valid if it did not include the self-styled "Goddess of Rap," Rosa Ree. The rising star's infectious 2017 track "Dow" easily positioned her as one of the finest bongo-trap artists in the region right now.

OMG Tanzania "Wanangu Na Wanao" feat. Rosa Ree

OMG is a Tanzanian hip-hop group consisting of three rappers, Salmin Swaggz, Con Boi and Young Lunya. The fiery trio is talented at blending western hip-hop influences with the local bongo flava sound. Featuring Rosa Ree, their latest banger "Wanangu Na Wanao" is a wonderful display of young bongo-trap brilliance.

Brian Simba "Stimu"

Signed to Vanessa Mdee's label Mdee Music, Brian Simba is one of Tanzania's most promising rap acts. The young rapper is known for his unmatchable flow and easy-going swagger. There's much more to anticipate from him in 2018 but for now let his newest single "Stimu" get you and your friends in a turn-up mood. "Stimu" is available everywhere now from Okaymusic.

Nikki Wa Pili ft. Joh Makini & S2kizzy "Hesabu"

S2kizzy contributions to Tanzania's hip-hop culture are so apparent right now. He appears once again in "Hesabu," a massive collaboration with heavyweights Nikki Wa Pili and Joh Makini. The chorus carries more indigenous melodies but the beat bangs just as hard.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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