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Muthoni the Drummer Queen: 10 Things I Love About Kenya

Kenyan rapper & singer Muthoni the Drummer Queen shares the 10 things she loves the most about her country.

In our '10 Things I Love' series we ask our favorite musicians, artists & personalities to tell us what they like the most about their home country.


In this new installment, rapper & singer Muthoni the Drummer Queen—who recently released her latest music video for "Make It Right" featuring The Rambling Wheels—shares the 10 things she loves the most about Kenya and its capital city Nairobi.

1. Diversity

Esoterically, Nairobi is the capital city of the the cradle of humanity, considering that the human species came to be in Kenya. More pragmatically, because for years Kenya did not practice a devolved system of governance, everything was situated in Nairobi. Meaning rural-urban migration was really high, thus Nairobi is the melting pot of Kenya (which is comprised of at least 42 ethnic communities).

Nairobi has this huge multicultural international community because, among other reasons, we host the United Nations operations in Africa together with a group of international conglomerates who pick Nairobi as the headquarters for their Africa/Middle East or Sub-Sahara operations. All these people from all over the world and all over Kenya socialize together and create a really unique experience of life.

2. Internet Connection

Basically, Kenya has the best internet connectivity in Africa. It's super simple to get connected at home, plus the telcos have great rates for internet on mobile devices. It's really a great look. You can work just about everywhere, and the connection is stable and for the most part, affordable.

3. The Hustle

The grind is real in Nairobi. Life is fast and tough, so you have to have those extra skills to make something extra on the side to meet your financial goals. So the whole city is always grinding, always thinking and scheming, always trying to make a new thing. Thats why people are so inventive and creative and hardworking in Kenya as a whole, and in Nairobi, you can almost taste it

Muthoni the Drummer Queen. Image courtesy of the artist.

4. Great Customization

Because mass production of apparel and home accessories does not really happen in Kenya—the system is broken, the raw materials required are not available in the quantities needed to sustain industrial manufacturing and corruption has crippled the manufacturing end of things—it means everything you need is pretty much handmade and customised to your liking. It means the laborers are very good at inventing things and often, imitating designs. Basically almost everything in my home or in my wardrobe has been handcrafted for me, to my specifications.

5. 24-Hour Supermarkets

We have supermarkets open 24/7 which not only creating more employment, but make shopping a super convenient activity for night owls like me. This is one of the best things about Nairobi, that I can go detergent shopping at 3am.

6. M-Pesa

Kenya invented a money transfer system that allows people to move money to each other (pay for bills/buy goods/pay for services) using their phones. Its called M-Pesa. It's basically made a bank account obsolete. Plus you can also have your savings account on the phone. DOPE.

7. Festivals

The best festivals in Africa were created in Nairobi—Blankets & Wine and Africa Nouveau.

8. My Squad

Basically the people of my heart. Our collective is known as YKNL (Youth Knows No Limits), and we love to create life. All our members are involved in the creative industry—BongoSawa making apparel, Hadithi which is a communal storytelling platform, Mookh which is an online payment system, MDQ, Blankets & Wine which is a beast of a festival, Sunday BestHip Hop Karaoke + WTF all of which are concept parties and affiliates with visual artists and DJs

9. Nairobi National Park

It's actually not that unfrequent to wait in traffic for a while while a pride of lions occupies the main road for a few hours. To be honest, Nairobi National Park is stunning. Right in the middle of all the development and technology, there is this incredible stretch of Savannah that belongs to the animal kingdom. The morning Safari drive is the best use of a morning ever.

10. Maasai Market

The Maasai community are an incredibly beautiful, resilient and super swaggerific people. Twice a week, traders and artisans from the Maasai community set up a market where we get to buy the beautiful blankets, beaded jewelry and artifacts that the Maasai are so famous for.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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