Genge music, or genge, is a genre of hip hop music that had its beginnings in Nairobi, Kenya. The name was coined by Clemo and popularized by Kenyan rappers Jua Cali and Nonini who started off at Calif Records, and is commonly sung in Sheng (slang), Swahili or local dialects. The term Genge is a sheng word for "a group or a mass of people".
As Kenyan urban music became more and more popular, Kenyan artists and music fans wanted to have a common name for their music and lots of names were suggested; among them were Boomba music, kapuka, and gemba among others. Around this time Nonini started a campaign to popularize the term "genge" to refer to Kenyan urban music, but also specifically music by artists on Calif Records.
Calif-style genge was originated by producer Clement "Clemo" Rapudo of Calif Records located in California Estate, Nairobi. It was popularized by rappers, including Nonini with his song Manzi wa Nairobi and Jua Cali with the songs Nipe Asali and Ruka. Due to disagreement on the definition of Kenyan urban music, the name genge is now more commonly used to describe music from Calif Records. However, genge is easily identified by its rapping style and conversational rhythm format that makes a song sound like a casual discussion in sheng.
The most notable genge artists are Nonini, P-Unit, Jua Cali, Influx Swagga, Flexx, Jimw@t, Rat-a-tat, the late Lady S, and Pili Pili among others. Nonini was the most popular artist on the Calif Records stable between the year 2002 and 2004 when he left for Homeboyz Productions. He has since fallen out of favor with most genge artists and importantly, producer Clemo. Jua Cali, who stayed with Calif Records, is the de facto king of genge;[when?] riding high on his latest song, Kwaheri - a collaboration with the Sanaipei Tande. Nonini is the self-titled Godfather of Genge.
Genge has given rise to other subgenres such as the Ghipuka popularised by Kenrazy, however it remains a formidable force as America-based producer Keggah has added a flesh flavor to give genge a new sound that Kenyans are loving.
Some of the most popular genge tracks include:
|Nonini||Manzi wa Nairobi|
|Influx Swagga||Ongea Dada|
Sitoi Kitu Kidogo