The year 2021 saw a good number of artistes in East Africa, hit the studio and put together a collection of songs for their fans in the name of an Album or an EP (Extended Play).
Musicians who released albums and EPs this year [Pulse Picks 2021]
#PulsePicks2021 : Some musicians have a few great singles and then disappointingly meh albums
Some musicians have a few great singles and then disappointingly meh albums. Others drop records with a handful of bops and then a bunch of filler songs that everyone skips, save for about three devoted fans.
However, there are also singers and bands whose albums are gold from start to finish, and when you find them, it's a rare and wonderful thing.
Plenty of artists released new albums in 2021, but the best albums of 2021 aren't just acceptable, they're exceptional. And I'm sorry to say that not every new record dropped in 2021 was a total winner.
On that note, here is a list of albums and EPs released in 2021.
Alikiba – Only One King
Kings Music Records CEO Ali Saleh Kiba alias Alikiba officially launched his 3rd Studio Album Only One King on October 6, 2021.
The first listening party of the Album happened at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A good number of celebrities turned up to accord King Kiba support as he unveiled his 16-track album.
In the Album he has featured Kenya’s Nyashinski on Washa, Sauti Sol on Let Me and Khaligrah Jones on Habiby.
Other celebrated African artists on the album include Tanzania's K2Ga, Abdu Kiba & Tommy Flavour, Nigeria's Patoranking, RudeBoy and Mayorkun, Ghanaian Sarkodie and South African hitmakers Blaq Diamond.
Ali Kiba’s first studio album was titled Cinderella and his second album was Ali K 4 Real.
Octopizzo – Fuego
Namba Nane’s finest Henry Ohanga aka Octopizzo released his 6th studio album dubbed Fuego on November 19, 2021.
In the 15-track Album Octo has featured; Milo Madness, Narde and FreeMan.
Fancy Fingers – Father Studies
Announcing the completion and release of his debut 10-track studio album, Polycarp "Fancy Fingers" Otieno stated, "I poured my heart OUT. And made it a piece of art," and we couldn't agree more!
Fancy Fingers' 10-track album is a beautiful reflection of a father's heart
In the album he has featured: Nyashinski, Dela and Mordecai from H_art the Band. It was Fancy’s debut album after Sauti Sol embarked on the Alone Together project.
Bien-Aime Baraza – Bald Men Love Better EP
The African king of bald men, Bien-Aime, released his first solo EP titled Bald Men Love Better in collaboration with well-known Kenyan jazz maestro, Aaron Rimbui.
Bien-Aime's project Bald Men Love Better is the first release under Sol Generation Records through a joint venture with Exodus Entertainment.
The five-track EP features hits such as Mbwe Mbwe, Bald Men Anthem, Stamina, Coming Home and Reset Rewind.
Guardian Angel – Victory
The year 2021 saw awarding-winning gospel singer Guardian Angel release two albums; Thanks for Coming and Victory.
In May 2021, the singer released his first Studio Album dubbed Thanks for Coming. The Album had 11 songs with features from: Timothy Kitui, Nakoch Mselah, Derick Deus and Henry Soul.
On November 11, 2021, Angel unveiled his second studio album called Victory. The 10-track album has collaborations from Moji Short Baba, Solomon Mkubwa and Goodluck Gozbert who are from Tanzania.
Daddy Owen - Chapter IV
On October 16, celebrated Gospel artist Owen Mwatia popularly known as Daddy Owen launched his sixth studio album titled Chapter IV.
The 15-record Chapter IV album was inspired by his journey as an artiste and minister in the gospel music industry as well as his 40th birthday which he celebrated earlier this year.
In the album he has featured: Dunco, Nakaaya, Bella Kombo, Judy Stevens, Slejj and Ivlyn Mutua.
Femi One – Greatness
On May 31, 2021, Wanjiku Kimani popularly known as Femi One released her first studio Album titled Greatness. The Album has 14-tracks with features from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
In the album Femi featured: Jay Rox, Feffe Busi, B2C, Oksyde, Joh Makini, Sanaipei Tande, Zakah and Jadi.
Greatness carries her signature punchlines, locally comedic nuances, thought-provoking rawness and Sheng (Kenyan slang).
Bahati – Love Like This
On June 13, 2021, all roads led to the Trademark Hotel at Village Market for the Listening party and official launch of Bahati’s new Album Love Like This.
Bahati’s Album has a total of 10 songs with features from; Nadia Mukami, Jovial, WCB’s Rayvanny, Jazmine and Sat 8.
Willy Paul – The African Experience
In November, musician Willy Paul released his second studio album, The African Experience. The album 19 songs with features from: Juma Jux, Daphane, Kelly Khumalo, Eddy Kenzo, FIK Femeika and Gyptian.
Mr Seed – Black Child the Album
In September Gospel singer Mr Seed dropped his first studio album dubbed Black Child, the Album.
In the 11-track Album he has featured; Masauti, Teddy B, Vivian KE, John Black, Bella Kombo, Lil Baali, Nedy, Nimo, and Kate Actress
MasterPiece King – 24 the EP
On July 26, Gospel singer Emmanuel King, aka Masterpiece, launched his debut EP 24, the EP at the Westwood Hotel, Westlands.
The invite-only event was attended by fellow musicians, family and friends.
The six-track EP has featured several artistes, among them Mr Seed.
Naiboi – Otero EP
Michael Kennedy Claver popularly known as Naiboi, released his EP titled Otero on October 29, 2021.
In the 10-track EP Naiboi has featured Tanzania’s AY, Femi One, Nyashinski, Arrow Bwoy, DJ Steve, Truth254, Darrio and DJ Kalonje.
The Otero EP opens with a track titled Kenya Power where he brags about how unpredictable he is in the music industry.
Harmonize – High School
Konde Gang President Harmonize released his second studio album dubbed High School on November 5, 2021.
In the 20-track album he has featured: Naira Marley, Ibraah, Angella, Busiswa, Sarkodie and Shola Mwamba.
Rayvanny – New Chui EP
In October, Next Level CEO Rayvanny released an EP called New Chui. The EP had a total of 6 songs with only one feature from Abby Chams.
Nikita Kering – A Side of Me EP
The year 2021 show award-winning singer Nikita Kering release an EP called A Side of Me,
Kering’s debut seven-track EP was reviewed as, “a masterpiece, a compilation of what you’ve seen / heard & what you haven’t. She bridges relatable situations, experiences and stories, creatively coming up with a body of work that people could identify with.”
King Kaka - Happy Hour EP
Rapper King Kaka, born Kennedy Ombima, released his highly anticipated Extended Play (EP), Happy Hour on November 30, 2021.
The Kaka Empire CEO launched ‘Happy Hour’ at an invite-only event in Kilimani, Nairobi.
“It is a big day for me. Today we are celebrating my second birthday. My birthday is on May 7th but today I am dropping my first EP in 13 years, it’s titled ‘Happy Hour,” said King Kaka.
The EP has 10 songs with features from; Wakadinali, Amos and Josh, Rich Mavoko, Okello Max, Kristoff and Ndume.
Exray - Movement
On April 8, 2021 Boondocks member Exray Taniua unveiled his first studio album called Movement.
The 20-track album features the following artistes: Masauti, Mejjam Dyana Codds, DJ Deklack, Wangui, Trio Mio, Seska, Mercury, Vivian, Gazla, Tesla, Ohms Law, Ordinare Bingwa, Jacob, Chantelle, Kumi Dallas, Kamagera, Paka, Odi wa Muranga, Zikii, Kappy and Byron Letrupers.
Moji Short Baba - Cheza Gospel
In May 2021, gospel singer Moji Short Baba released an EP titled Cheza Gospel.
The Cheza Gospel EP featured 6 bangers with the only collaboration being from Collo.
MacVoice – My Voice
In September, young and talent bongo flava recording artiste signed under Next Level music, MacVoice was officially introduced into the music industry complete with an EP dubbed My Voice.
MacVoice is not a new name in the Tanzanian music industry. Previously, he was being managed by the legendary Chege Chigunda, but parted ways a year ago.
While working with Chege, MacVoice managed to release songs like: Bamba, Te Amo, Damu ya Jana, Msokoto, Valentine, Mama, Utarudi among others.
The EP had 6 songs with collaborations from Rayvanny and Leon Lee.
Bensoul - Medicine EP
In May, Sol Generation signed and east African recording artist, Ben Soul came through with a brand new extended play project titled “Medicine” which consists of four tracks.
Characterised by acoustic arrangements and soulful lyrics, Bensoul’s Medicine tells stories based on love, desire and the pursuit of forever. Throughout the EP’s four tracks, the Afro-soul multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter creates an ambiance that’s equally casual and intimate.
Nviiri The Storyteller – Kitenge EP
Taking cues from the multicolored African cloth it’s named after, Nviiri the Storyteller’s Kitenge explores the many threads and textures that make up the fabric of romantic relationships—from courtship to conflict, compromise and heartbreak, and ultimately, forgiveness.
It’s a relationship soundtrack underpinned by Nviiri’s dextrous and expressive guitar, culminating in the lighthearted Birthday Song, which features Sauti Sol, Bensoul, and a Twista-style speed rap from Khaligraph Jones.
The Kitenge EP was officially released in March with a total of 6 songs; Baridi ft Sanaipei Tande, Mae Wendi, Kitenge, Niko Sawa ft Bien, Bembeleza and Birthday Song.
H_art The Band – Simple Man
In July, Kenyan boy band H_art the Band dropped their third studio album dubbed Simple Man.
Simple Man has a total of six songs namely: Simple Man, Wait for It ft Matt Owegi, Every Day, Na Bado ft Nyashinski, My Jaber ft Brizy Annechild, and Milele.
Maandy Kabaya - Frisky
In November 2021, Maandy Kabaya released a new album dubbed Frisky. The project comes after the rapper’s hit album Kabaya released in 2019.
Maandy’s bad girl attitude shines through every track as she delivers punch lines and cleverly constructed lyrics that show her mastery of riding beats cooked up by a variety of celebrated producers including new age hit-maker Jegede, and the classic heavy hitters, Ogopa DJs.
Through carefully created and curated lyrics, Maandy expertly weaves traditional hip hop themes of partying and the pursuit of a good time with undertones of women empowerment. Singer-songwriter, Fena Gitu joins Kabaya for the sixth track, Bad Gal Anthem, a rallying call for women to take back the power in whatever conversations they may be in.
Frisky has a total of 12 songs with features from Breeder LW and Ndovu Kuu.
Mbosso - Definition of Love
Tanzanian recording artist and former Yamoto Band member currently signed under WCB Wasafi, Mbwana Yusuph Kilungi better known as Mbosso, released his first album called Definition of Love on Valentines Day.
Definition of Love is made up of 12 tracks and two bonus tracks. It features several top African artistes like Diamond Platnumz, Rayvanny, Darassa, Liya, Spice Diana, Mr Flava, Baba Levo and Kilimanjaro Band.
Lava Lava - Promise
In February, WCB Signee Lava Lava released an EP called Promise, at a time when the world was celebrating the month of love.
It has a total of 6 songs with features from Diamond Platnumz and Mbosso.
Yaba - Rhumbacane
The EP titled Rhumbacane, is Yaba's first official EP release as a solo artist following his departure from the duo group, The Red Acapella.
Rhumbacane is inspired by sweet Rhumba music but its uniqueness is that the musical style mixes the genre of Rhumba, Trap and Soulful Benga. The EP is 30 minutes long having 6 songs
Khaligraph Jones - Invisible Currency
Award-winning Kenya rapper Khaligraph Jones is set to releas his album titled Invisible Currency in 2022. In the 17-track album Papa Jones has featured: Alikiba, Prince Indah, Mejja, Blackway, Rudeboy, Adasa, Kev the Topic, Scar, Xenia Manasseh, and Dax.
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