Alfayo Onyango @O_Alfayo
Deejay Coco Em has been selected as the first-ever Kenyan act to play at the popular annual Afropunk Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will go down on December 30 and 31.
His selection leads to the inquisition whether there are any more hidden gems the Kenyan music industry might be holding under the wraps. Young DJs are coming of age and taking after the veterans we have enjoyed for ages such as Pinye, Adrian, ZJ Heno, Hypnotiq, Stylez and Joe Mfalme, among others.
We dive into the extensive 254’s music scene in pursuit of DJs that are pushing the envelope beyond the norm of scoring gigs only domestically, to experimenting different do-it-yourself approaches to get an equal opportunity to shine at the local and global stage.
Beginning her deejaying career in 2015, Shishi is the heartthrob for all Nairobi music lovers. She began with a pair of headphones and Virtual DJ software on her laptop.
She uploaded her mixes on a platform called Mix-cloud, which acts much like a YouTube for DJs. It was all for fun, but people started catching on through social media and the reaction only motivated her to keep producing better mixes.
She prides herself in delivering eclectic and eccentric genre-less music that oozes vibes set to bring the soul out of you. So far, she has become a resident DJ at the Backyard Bass Bar at the Alchemist, a road-DJ for Nairobi-based artiste, Vallerie Muthoni and is among the headlining acts in Kilifi New Year Festival 2019.
He is the one sixth of the EA Wave artiste collective, an urban contemporary group known for their futuristic music style. Jinku is not only a disc jockey, but is also a music producer, and sound engineer. Although he is known to be incandescent performer, he is also one of the best re-mixers in the Kenyan music hub.
He has been involved in productions by artistes such as Vic Mass Luo Dollar and Mayonde, in numerous capacities, and has a beautiful way of making tribal beats.
He has an affinity for the percussions and drums, which he uses to inject energy to his sets. Jinku has had the privilege of being featured on international publications such as the New York-based lifestyle magazine, The Fader.
Tintin has been so instrumental in pushing forward the Kenyan hip-hop music. He is easily one of the most hardworking professionals in this craft and he is growing a steady fan base through mixes that are exclusive to Kenyan content. His mixes have become common in matatus as he helps spread the culture out of mainstream channels.
For the folks that do not believe in mainstream music being shoved down their throats, you may be fond of underground scenes such as Crooked Q’s red room rave: Temple in Westlands. DJ Lee.M is a name growing in the electronic music DJ ranks.
He is 254’s master of the electronic music playground right now and you can catch him unleashing deep tech mixes attracting crowds from all corners.
This has enabled him to score major shows in events hosted by major event organisers 6:AM Entertainment and Kenya Nights, including Earth Dance.