Spotify’s Gengetone Fire playlist shines a light on the bubbling Kenyan sub-genre

Spotify has a must-follow playlist featuring the best in gengetone music.

If you’re unfamiliar with gengetone, it’s a sub-genre of Kenyan hip-hop that grew out of the genge movement from the early and mid-2000’s. The term genge is a Sheng word for “a group or a mass of people”. Gengetone is predominantly influenced by hip-hop, reggaetón and dancehall music. Some acts you might have heard of include Ethic Entertainment, Boondocks Gang, Sailors 254, Ochungulo Family, Matata, and the Mbuzi Gang.

According to the Wikipedia entry for genge, “the name was coined by the producer, Clemo and popularized by Kenyan rappers Jua Cali and Nonini who started off at Calif Records, and is commonly sung in Sheng (Swahili slang), Swahili or local dialects.”

“Recently, young creators have revived and evolved the local beat, drawing from dancehall and reggaetón to create the new sound of Kenya’s streets. And as for lyrics? Artists use the genre to rap about their lives and express their hardships.”

Spotify’s editors for the region noticed that the resonant beats were sticking with listeners across Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya. In response, they launched Gengetone Fire, a Spotify playlist that features artists from across the scene and stays true to the reality on the ground, which is that the genre pays no mind to mainstream media.

It is for the streets, by the streets, and it spreads quickly.

Check out the Gengetone Fire playlist below.

You can follow @SpotifyCanada on Instagram.