The Most Boundary Breaking Artists of 2022

The start of a new year usually means expensive gym subscriptions you’ll commit to for all of two weeks, promises to really start saving this year and a wavering determination to drink less. Whether you stick to your resolutions or not, the one constant every new year is the evolution of the music scene. 2021 was characterized by experimentation from the breakout of the Alt-Nai scene, to the assimilation of Chicago/London influenced rap- Drill, the scene was blazing. 

During the ever-looming Coronavirus, artists created new ways to interact with fans. Hitmakers such as Boutross broke the internet with the Tik Tok challenge “Yea Yea Yea” and Elsa’s partnership with Valentino rocked the world. Corporation Odibets joined hands with rapper Khaligraph Jones to scout for rap geniuses among Kenyan youth.  South African sound Amapiano held Africa in a  chokehold and Kenya was no exception. Brandy Maina incorporated these new sounds in her music to make  something unique and rooted in creative collaboration with the most up and coming African sounds. Veteran comedian Eric Omondi dragged Kenyan event organizers and artists for not fighting for the industry with a level of sass only a comedian can serve. Rising comical figure, Lil Maina imprinted  his name in the music scene with quirky bangers such as “Kishash”.  

2022 is set to be even bigger, and in the first quarter alone the following artists have been changing the music industry in a huge way. 

Double Trouble

Don’t doubt the hype around Double Trouble just because they aren’t from  Nairobi. From their raging single “Hainanga Error” to their fan favorite coastal Swahili accent in “Ngwata” they certainly have more planned for 2022. Catapulted to public knowledge by Octopizzo, Beneh and Trouble Too Real have a penchant for snare-tight riffs and lyrical punchlines accompanied by striking visuals.. Their genre defining collaboration “Big Boyz Club” with Buruklyn Boyz, Big Yasa and Young NC shows they are finding their seats in the game by infiltrating Mombasa, Nairobi and soon all of Kenya.

Big Yasa

Big Yasa is one of the few artists I 100% believe in. As we question how long the Drill culture will survive, he’s constantly giving haters the middle finger with his dark melodies and knack for storytelling. His meteoric rise isn’t an overnight success but a combination of blood, sweat and tears. Releasing singles such as “Cold” the rapper is zooming towards success and nothing is stopping him. 

Bakhita

There’s a lot we can say about Bakhita – whether it’s creating concepts for new videos, releasing euphonious numbers such as “Ukunda ” or connecting marginalized communities (LGBTQ+, African women) Bakhita’s 2021 was buzzing.

Bakhita is always looking to expand upon their already impressive reach in the Alt-Scene.  If you are a Tik Tok head (like I am) they’ll definitely have you drooling over their content. Coming off 2021 project “Purge” their heart melting husky voice ensures a hypnotic good time for the fans. As Bakhita prepares for the release of “Anxiety’s Bitch”, we’re all excited to see what this multidisciplinary artist comes up with for 2022.

Lone Tree Band

There are few groups that embody the spirit of rock as much as Lone Tree. I first came across the exceptional rock group in late 2021 and I reminisced back when we had Xfm.  Consisting of 5 members: Teresa Sanders,Patrick Sanders,Gabe Gebremedhin,Silas Piper and Ben Matsaert.

Lone Tree is the band of 2022. From the sonic “Rude Bwoy” to the compelling “Wind Song” you’re immediately swayed by the medley of instruments and killer vocals. Their synchrony leaves you asking for more as the band nails the brittle and bombast structure of rock. Receiving numerous accolades, Lone Tree is an astounding rock group to watch in 2022!!

As a music fan, I cannot wait to see what 2022 brings. Will new apps emerge that change how artists connect with their fans? Will we have new names causing havoc in the industry? I can’t answer these questions now, but what I will do is overplay “Kishash” while lip-synching on TikTok.