What makes a Kenyan Hit song?


Campmulla Taio

Kenyans are interesting people, no doubt about it. Their taste in music however, is something to be questioned. Some of the local hits that get the largest airplay in Kenya have the wackiest lyrics ever just but to say the least.  So what really makes a Kenyan hit?


A danceable beat: Most people don’t pay attention to the lyrics of a song but mostly the chorus. If the chorus is catchy, it is a definite spin and if it is not it is binned. Kenyans love club hits. So, if the song in question has drop-dead beats that one can vigorously dance to like there is no tomorrow, or you can easily sing at a karaoke gig then it is a hit.


Easy to remember: Kenyans are not complicated people. We like things that are easy to remember, something catchy, something we can relate to. That is why a phrase can be repeated a gazillion times in a single song and still be loved by the fellow Kenyan audience, ”ivo ndo kunaedanga”.


Women: For a song to become a Kenyan hit there must be some beautiful lady dancers in it. This ladies offer the most coveted eye-candy for the wide and vast male audience. In most cases, apart from some gospel tunes, these ladies are mostly scantly dressed and they have to dance provocatively- seductive way. This acts as an incentive to lure people to watch the music video a lot until it makes it to the league of a Kenyan hit.


Quality of video: The quality of the music videos has greatly progressed and improved. Some Kenyan artists have gone to the extent of digging a little bit deeper in their pockets and going out of country to shoot their videos. The likes of; Jaguar, Jimmy Gate and the former Camp Mullah Crew have gone the extra mile so as to produce quality video. The colour, lighting, picture quality and sound quality aspects of the videos have greatly improved as compared to the crappie videos done back in the day where a black and white video would do.


The artist sense of style: Sense of style does not refer to the genre of music they pursue rather this refers to their personal brand. It seems as so long as an artist has a cool hair-do cool haircut, a died Mohawk per say, some locks and a fancy weave or wig of colours that vary like the many colours of the rainbow they definitely qualify to make a Kenyan hit. Form of dressing has a lot to say about a person. It also seems those dressed in tight pants of bright colours, short dresses and glowing fancy dresses, suits and ties are in the category of those that make hits.


By Roseann Ng’ang’a, Daystar University




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