Africa In Your Earbuds

Hear DJ Poizon Ivy’s All-Kenyan Mixtape for 'Africa In Your Earbuds'

Nairobi-born DJ Poizon Ivy comes through with two Kenyan takeover mixtapes latest installment of our series Africa In Your Earbuds.

Nairobi-born DJ Poizon Ivy comes through with an expansive, all-Kenyan double hitter for the latest installment of our mixtape series Africa In Your Earbuds.

Having relocated from Nairobi to Texas when she was young, Poizon Ivy will soon become the official DJ of Dallas’ new WNBA team the Dallas Wings. She’s also recently been featured on radio shows like Sway In The Morning, Dash Radio, and regularly contributes mixes to Nairobi’s popular station 103.5 Homeboyz Radio.

For her AIYE, Poizon Ivy surprised us by delivering not one, but two high-energy mixtapes, which she charges to her “unbounded Kenyan pride."

"I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. I am a Nai girl," DJ Poizon Ivy tells Okayafrica. “I have recently discovered that so much of who I am, as a lover of music and as a DJ, was subliminally created during my youth while riding matatus that blasted local music with my grandmother, while walking through town, and even through the integration of music into the school system. Nairobi is a very much a melting pot of so many cultures, tribes, and people as is evidenced in the music."

'Africa In Your Earbuds' cover artwork by DJ Underdog.

"Most recently, Kenya has been in the news for both positive and negative happenings," she adds. "Every nation in this world has its up and downs but with an upcoming election next year, I am choosing to use my platform as DJ to ignite a sense of pride amongst my generation, both those in the country and diaspora."

"If you listen to this mix, it is very patriotic and also nostalgic for those who are familiar. But I am also hoping to spark the interest of those who are curious to know more about this wonderful East African nation—more about the people, the culture, and the music," Poizon Ivy continues.

"This is an ode to those who have helped to 'inua na ku jenga jina la taifa yetu.' As in, an ode to those who have helped to lift up and to build our nation's name, from the past to the present. Both musicians and others alike. President Barack Obama, Lupita Nyong'o, Sauti Sol, Just A Band, and the list goes on."

Stream DJ Poizon Ivy's two "Kenya takeover" mixtapes below and see the full track list underneath.


1. Intro (Auma Obama’s introduction of President Barack Obama at Kasarani Stadium on July 16, 2015) X African Sunset – The Bata Shoeshine Boys

2. Dunia Mbaya – Princess Jully

3. Mariru – Albert Gacheru

4. Fundamentals – Ken wa Maria

5. Tiga Kumute – Salim Junior

6. Mtoto Si Nguo – Johnstone Ouko Mukabi

7. Feel It (Robba Doba Doba) – Yunasi Ft. Wyre

8. Koolio – Stella Mwangi

9. Furi Furi Dance Remix – Jimmy Gait & D.K.

10. Party Don’t Stop – Camp Mulla Ft. Collo

11. Coming Home – Nameless

12. Wazee Wakatike – Them Mushrooms

13. Kenya Nchi Yangu – Habel Kifoto

14. Kwangu 254 – Ali B, Bahati, Bwana DNA, Collo, Size 8, Suzzana Owiyo, Wahu

15. Sura Yako – Sauti Sol

16. Aoko – Jabali Afrika

17. Ndambararia – Kayamba Africa

18. I’m Not Sober – Jamnazi Afrika (Awilo Mike)

19. Chonga Viazi – Boomba Clan

20. Najivunia – Trapee Ft. Avril

21. Tushangilie Kenya

22. Leta Wimbo – Sema

23. Adhiambo C – Deux Vultures

24. Kinyaunyau – Deux Vultures

25. Kibow Wow – Wahu

26. Ninanoki – Nameless

27. Amenitendea

28. Zuzu Remix – Elani

29. Lini – Rabbit Ft. Rich Mavoko

30. Hello Baby - Avril Ft. Ommy Dimpoz

31. Teso – Tattuu

32. Mateke – Size 8

33. Lingala Ya Yesu – Pitson

34. Tam Tam Remix – Willy Paul Ft. Size 8

35. Bajuka Remix – DJ Flip Ft. DNA

36. Welle Welle Remix – Timmy Ft. All Stars

37. Dandia – Kristoff Ft. Frasha, King Kaka

38. She Say Dat – Wyre

39. Shika More – Longombas

40. Anisa – King Stone Ft. Bed Bug

41. Jaa Jaa – Mr. Lenny

42. Julie – Redsan

43. Hepi (Huku Nairobi) – Historians

44. Furahi Day – Nonini Ft. Nameless

45. Baby Don’t Go – Kunguru Ft. Mr. Lenny

46. Atoti – Gidi Gidi Maji Maji

47. Amka Ukatike – C’Zars

48. Hela – Juliani Ft. L.C.

49. Why Lie – Nameless Ft. Big Pin

50. Juala – Circuit & Joel

51. Weka Weka – P-Unit

52. Ting Badi Malo – Gidi Gidi Maji Maji

53. Shake – DNG

54. Deadly – Nameless

55. Tukawake – K-Rupt

56. Swing Swing – Kleptomaniacs

57. Githurai (Remix) - Mr. Googz, Vinnie Banton & Mr. Lenny

58. Kamata – E-Sir

59. Tafuta – XYZee

60. Karibu Nairobi – Jua Cali

61. Paulina – Rhaptaz Ft. Jimwat

62. Kiboko Changu – Amani Ft. Radio & Weasel

63. Bank Otuch – Vicmass Luodollar

64. Dumbala Reloaded – Jay A Ft. Sage, Kenrazy, Visita, Madtraxx & DNA

65. Dabotap – The Kansoul

66. Unbwogable – Gidi Gidi Maji Maji

67. We Be Happening (All Stars Remix) – Khaligraph Jones & Kristoff Ft. Frasha, Abbass, Nessa, Wyre, Ulopa & DJ Joe


68. Tokelezea – Abbas Ft. Chantelle

69. Kenya National Anthem


1. Intro (Lupita Nyong’o’s 2014 Acacdemy Awards Speech X My Land is Kenya – Moipei Quartet)

2. Usilete Compe – Bamboo

3. Jambo Bwana – Them Mushrooms

4. Keep It Moving – Shadz O’Blak

5. Wild – Xtatic

6. Dunia Ina Mambo - Just A Band Ft. Octopizzo and Stan

7. Oh Ndio – Five Alive

8. All The Way – Victoria Kimani Ft. Khuli Chana

9. Hakuna Matata (Mpenzi) - Swahili Nation

10. Bounce – Bamzigi

11. Mapenzi Tele – Nikki Ft. Kalamashaka

12. Songa Hapa – Kalamashaka Ft. Nikki

13. Sitaki – Mercy Myra Feat. K-South

14. Dandora Love – Zaka na Kah Ft. Kabee

15. Tuendelee – Kleptomaniaxx

16. Mama Milka – Kenzo

17. Mwikulu – RuffTone

18. African Princess - Sentimentah

19. Otongolo Time – Poxi Presha

20. Dunda – Bucaneers

21. Vanity – Daddy Owen

22. Kare – P-Unit

23. Talk To You - Patonee Ft. Amani, Big Pin

24. Kioo – Jaguar

25. Moto Moto – Amos & Josh

26. Risasi Ft. Suzuki – Mr. DJ

27. Kenyan Girl Kenyan Boy – Necessary Noize

28. Naskia Utamu – The Bugz

29. Doesn't Really Matter – Redsan & Kaz

30. Tetemesha – Redsan

31. Nibebe – Nonini Ft. Nyota Ndogo

32. Uhiki – Hardstone

33. Prezzo – Prezzo

34. Halo Halo – Wakimbizi

35. Double – Ukoo Flani Mau Mau Ft. Wenyeji

36. Feelo Ft. Bug - Mtoto Wa Kicole

37. Uliza Kiatu – H_art The Band

38. Tabia Mbaya – K-South

39. 4 in 1 – Darling P

40. Kiswahili – Idd Aziz


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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