From Kenyan drill to bongo flava and everything in between, here are the best East African songs of the year so far featuring Buruklyn Boyz, Zuchu, NJERI, Diamond Platnumz, Khaligraph Jones and more.
The first half of 2022 has seen many rising stars of the region cement their place in the charts with some exquisite bodies of art.
As the new generation of East African artists innovates their look and sound they’re gaining from the rest of the world every day. From the likes of Buruklyn Boyz, NJERI and Zuchu, we have seen some spectacular singles and projects so far this year. On the other hand, the heavyweights kept their fans happy with plausible releases that raised the bar for all artists from this side of the continent.
Khaligraph Jones 'Invisible Currency'
The 17-track project is an engrossing exploration of Khaligraph Jones’ sonic evolution, personal growth and artistic development drawn from a long momentous career. The album title, Invisible Currency, perfectly exemplifies his current status as a bonafide African star coming of age while enjoying the perks at his peak through continued dominance.
Tanzanian bongo princess Zuchu dropped her first single of the year “Mwambieni” in January. The track produced by Mr Lg, has a class bongo feel taking her back to her roots. Her career has skyrocketed since being introduced by Diamond Platnumz as the newest member of WCB Wasafi .
NJERI 'Dear Romance U Got Sweet (D.R.U.G.S)'
Rising Kenyan R&B songstress NJERI released her debut project D.R.U.G.S which earned her the cover of Spotify Africa’s Fresh Finds Africa playlist. The project is the story of a journey from toxic love to healthy love. It takes you through the motions of the bad and the good, the happy and the sad, reminiscing the past but also learning to love oneself and live in the moment.
Buruklyn Boyz 'East Mpaka London'
Exciting Nairobi-based drill duo Burukyln Boyz released their highly-anticipated debut album East Mpaka London. The album features many emerging acts in the Nairobi scene such as Silverstone Barz and Big Yasa. This release really puts the duo on the map as one of the most exciting artists to watch from Africa this year even earning the cover of Spotify’s RADR Africa playlist.
Boutross 'Kabla Mtindo'
Kenyan shrap pioneer Boutross dropped the Kabla Mtindo EP as a teaser project to ensure his fans don’t lack content to work with before his album Mtindo. This is his first EP in his catalogue. He has featured Ndovu ni Kuu , Xtatic , Swahili Papi, CKO, Shrap OG Jovie Jovv, Munyax, DEZ and Chinbees from Tanzania.
Rich Mavoko 'Kiboko' ft. Nviiri The Storyteller
Tanzanian singer Rich Mavoko his debut album, Fundi, earlier this year. The lead single from the album “Kiboko” features popular rising Kenyan star Nviiri the Storyteller and it is a catchy afrobongo track from the two buzzing acts.
Sauti Sol member Savara released his self-produced debut solo album, Savage Level. It is an album that cuts across themes including love, awakening, consciousness, anxiety, growth, and excellence at all costs. Known as The Vibe Curator, Savara has left an imprint of who he is in every song on the album, documenting how his style continues to evolve
Diamond Platnumz 'Fine'
Diamond Platnumz released his EP, First Of All in January. A special cut from the EP is the track “Fine,” an afropop banger praising a woman’s beauty. The video was shot in Lagos by TG Omori. This EP also features collaborations with artists such as Adekunle Gold, Focalistic, Mbosso and Jaywillz as well as Pabi Cooper and Costa Titch.
Arrow Bwoy 'Focus'
For Ali Yusuf—better known as Arrow Bwoy—his second album is an extended promise to his Ugandan mother to make her proud. But being Kenyan as well, the singer’s loyalties to the sound that raised him pop up all too frequently through Focus, the follow-up to 2019’s Hatua. Swahili intermittently intersperses with English and Nigerian pidgin and the “Digi Digi” hitmaker’s versatility triggers fireworks on “Bella,” On “Unconditional Love,” trumpets go gaga and drum solos layer Arrow Bwoy’s declaration of a love that passeth all understanding, with a laser focus that would make Cupid proud.