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The top 10 Sheng words used on Google Search and their meanings

Buruklyn Boyz and Google teamed up to showcase most used Sheng words on Google Search

Buruklyn Boyz and Google team up to showcase most used Sheng words on Google Search

Google has announced the winners of the #SearchInSheng campaign and #KwaheriOpenVerseChallenge, which saw Kenyan rappers create their own version of the hit song “Kwaheri Remix”.

The competition, which was launched by Google, provided data of the top 10 most used Sheng words on the platform and challenged rappers to create an original verse that incorporated the top 10 Sheng words in the lyrics.

The words included; Mbwakni, Mbogi, Rieng, Dem, Rada, Saseni, Omoka, Dere, Chwani, and Mabeshte.


The song that kicked off the #OpenVerseChallenge was a collaboration between Hip Hop group Burukyln Boyz and Music Producer Kagwe Mungai, who were commissioned by Google to co-create the song using the top 10 most used Sheng words on Search.

The music video is available to watch on Google's website.

The “Kwaheri Remix” is an adaptation of the Kenyan classic “Kwaheri” which was originally released in 2008 by Jua Cali and Sanaipei Tande under Calif Records.

An #OpenVerseChallenge is a social media trend that allows upcoming artists to showcase their skills by creating their own version of a viral song.

The winners of the challenge were

  • Shalom Charles Kianga (Spinx_Mafia),
  • Mwongeli Mutuku,
  • Brian Mawira Mbae (Ma_wira).

The #SearchInSheng campaign was inspired by new research from Google, which shows that Kenyan Hip Hop culture could be behind the increase of Sheng words on the platform.

The data also revealed that the top 10 most used Sheng mainly originate from Hip Hop lyrics and youth culture.


Participating in the Search in Sheng project was exciting because Sheng is like our primary language! Seeing a brand like Google recognize the power of Sheng and Kenyan Hip Hop is amazing,” said Burukyln Boyz.

Sharon Machira, the Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Kenya, said, “As with any slang, Sheng words evolve and change every day, but thanks to our improvements in AI, Google Search can quickly return helpful information no matter how new the word is to local slang. It is also exciting to see how Google Search is contributing to Kenya’s Hip Hop culture.”

  1. Mbwakni - Derived from Dholuo word mbwakni which means to be jumpy/fidgety/irritating. Sometimes Mbwakni used to mean fake.
  2. Mbogi - Crew, group, squad.
  3. Rieng - Plan/plot
  4. Dem - Female
  5. Rada - Understand or to be aware of a situation. Derived from the English word Radar
  6. Saseni - Greetings
  7. Omoka - Derived from Luo word "moko" which means to get rich. Jamoko means rich person
  8. Dere - Driver
  9. Chwani - Sh50
  10. Mabeshte - Friends group, squad

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