1. Sauti Sol – 741k
Sauti Sol is the most successful group in Kenyan music by all standards. They have been producing music for more than a decade now and have been popular all through. Over time, they have evolved from a local band trying to make a name for themselves into an internationally recognized group that has fans all over Africa. Sauti Sol has some of the most viewed Kenyan music videos. Two of their videos, ‘Melanin’ and ‘Short and Sweet’ have over 20 million views. Sauti Sol’s international following has contributed most to its position on this list.
2. Otile Brown – 739k
Hot on the heels of Sauti Sol is Otile Brown, who is only 27 years old. Otile sings mostly in Swahili and his music is not that different from the Bongo music released by most Tanzanian artistes. This similarity is probably the reason why Otile has such a huge following. He has many fans in Tanzania. Otile is likely to get to 1 million subscribers before Sauti Sol. His most viewed videos, Dusuma and Chaguo La Moyo wangu have 27M and 26M views, leaving Sauti Sol’s most followed videos in the dust.
3. Willy Paul. 670k.
Willy Paul is one of the most famous musicians in Kenya. He amassed quite a following as a gospel musician then made a controversial cross-over to the secular side. Despite the apparent hate directed against him for his transition, he has grown even more popular. After he went secular, he used what Ezekiel Mutua would call “obscenity” to remain relevant, releasing songs with titles such as “Lamba Nyonyo.” Multiple high profile collaborations including with Alaine and Nandy have helped grow Willy Paul’s brand outside Kenya’s borders. Of late, he has abandoned his “obscenity” strategy and is slowly getting back to making the sort of music that made millions fall crazily in love with him in the beginning.
4. Bahati. 617k
Bahati is Willy Paul’s nemesis. They both started out as superstars in gospel music and have over the years grown to become giants in the music industry in general. When Willy Paul made the transition to secular music, Bahati stayed in gospel. He would later distance himself from the rest of the gospel industry and begin working with secular artists, even releasing songs with the most notorious of them like Benzema and Odi wa Murang’a. His music remains immensely popular. Bahati is also the 4th most followed Kenyan on Instagram.
5. Khaligraph Jones – 450k
Khaligraph is perhaps the best rapper in Kenya. Thanks to his hard work in developing his craft, he ranks among the best rappers on the continent. He has been steadily gaining fans from the rest of Africa, especially in West Africa. He recently collaborated with a top African rapper from Senegal, Sarkodie, in a song that was well received. Khaligraph has been one of the most consistent artists in the country and has become quite influential. Recently, after he made an appeal to the government, he led a delegation of artistes in meeting the deputy president William Ruto to negotiate for the lifting of lockdowns on counties.
6. Nyashinski. 403k
Nyashinski is a Kenyan darling by all accounts. He took a long break from music when he and his family moved abroad. When he did come back, he took the Kenyan music industry by storm and seems to only be getting better. His channel so far has 74 million views and has multiple videos with more than 5 million views each. His latest banger, a collaboration with Chris Kaiga, has 8.5 million views in 5 months.
7. Nadia Mukami – 348k
There’s no 24 year old Kenyan making waves like Nadia Mukami. In two years, she has transitioned from a nobody into a queen in Kenyan music. Her prowess in swahili lyricism and her melodious voice have won over the hearts of Kenyans. Her music video “Nipe Yote” got 700,000 views in 2 weeks on YouTube, which is remarkable by Kenyan standards. She seems set to take over East Africa.
8. Akothee Kenya – 318k
Akothee is one of the more controversial Kenyan celebrities. This controversy helped when she started her music career. However, Akothee has produced legitimately great songs over the years. She is the only Kenyan artist to have collaborated with Diamond Platnumz and Flavour of Nigeria. She has also won an Afrima award for Best Female Artist in East Africa. She is among the top ten most followed Kenyans on Instagram and one of the super moms with great achievements that we celebrated on this year’s Mother’s Day. She juggles her music career with raising 5 children and running her businesses, most notable of which is Akothee Safaris.
9. Ethic Entertainment – 312k
Ethic is one of the most famous music groups in Kenya and is the only Gengeton group to make it to this list. Every official music video that they have released has gotten over 1 million views. Pandana, their most popular song on YouTube, has 6.7 million views and is the 3rd most viewed Gengeton song in Kenya.
10. King Kaka – 290k
Rabbit aka King Kaka is a well known Kenyan rapper. He was rising in popularity until he decided to start using his music for activism. His first song in this direction, “Wajinga Nyinyi,” went viral and got him into trouble with politicians like governor Anne Waiguru. After Wajinga Nyinyi, his music videos have become less popular in general, probably because of their activist stance.
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Successful YouTubers in this generation make a lot of money and comedians are among the best performing individuals on YouTube. Getting enough subscribers to earn good money is a tough journey but it’s usually the only way for comedians to monetize their art. There are hundreds of comedians on YouTube trying to make it big. Only a few have gotten to a point where they can live off their comedy. Below is a list of the most successful Kenyan comedians on YouTube.
1. Henry Desagu – 550k subscribers
He calls himself the prince of Mwihoko. Among his distinctive features are his Kikuyu accent and his love for kitenge shirts. When he was starting out, he used to create multiple fake accounts on YouTube which he would use to comment on his videos to give the illusion of popularity among viewers. Today, however, he effortlessly gets tens of thousands of views within days of releasing his videos. You will find his videos every now and then on the trending list. Below is one of the most popular Desagu videos, with 2 million views in 10 months.
2. Eric Omondi – 509k
Eric Omondi is the king of Kenyan comedy in the eyes of many people. The fact that he is second on this list only highlights just how successful Desagu has been. Eric, who is also the second most followed Kenyan on Instagram, started out on the Churchill Show and has consistently built his brand to become a top comedian not only in Kenya and East Africa but also on the continent. He won a continental award for comedy and used that to give himself the title of “President of Comedy Africa.” He is keen on fulfilling his presidential duty of entertaining Africans. His latest project towards that is the controversial Wife Material show, which had been stopped but is expected to resume this May.
3. Flaqo Raz – 346k
Flaqo is most widely known for his “Otis” and “Mama Otis” videos, which are much loved and often go viral. The most remarkable and perhaps the most attractive thing about Flaqo as a comedian is that he can play up to five characters in one of his skits. A typical Flaqo video will involve witty and comic exchanges among Otis, his mother and his father with Flaqo playing all three roles. If you don’t know this and someone told you that the mother throwing slippers and insults is the same person as the son ducking and trying to run away, you would not believe it. Flaqo’s extraordinary creativity have seen him rise, especially during the initial part of the pandemic when people spent more time online.
4. Monk Kenyan Comedian – 302k
Monk has been immensely successful. One of his most popular uploads is a two minute video about an unusually faithful Kenyan man successfully withstanding an onslaught by a beautiful girl. It has an unbelievable 11 Million views!! Monk has capitalized on the experiences of young Kenyans and has become an expert at using relatable situations to draw laughs from his audience.
5. Mca Tricky – 275k
Mca Tricky first began cracking our ribs on NTV’s Churchill Show. His character was a street kid from Nairobi. He grew immensely popular and used this to build himself a platform online. He is one among the multiple comedians who have interned at Churchill’s show and gone on to make a successful career for themselves in the industry.
6. Sammy Kioko – 274k
Sammy Kioko is another one of Churchill Show’s alumni. He has made a name for himself in online comedy by recreating funny high school experiences. He has partnered with Mwalimu Tom, another comedian on this list. Together, they release comedy videos set in school. The show they run on YouTube reminds one of Tahidi High. It’s a high level production usually set in a very convincing school environment and with multiple extras. These videos are popular and have collectively gathered 16 million views on his YouTube channel.
7. Tales of the Crazy Kennar – 261k.
The Crazy Kennar makes his audience laugh by recreating funny social occurrences and making fun of various elements in society. A lot of his content is derived from the world of dating. For example, a popular video of his shows a lady and a man who are talking in a room, each with intentions that are the exact opposite of the other’s. In another video, an SDA faithful who has been heartbroken decides to drown his sorrows with fanta and multiple KDFs.
8. Alex Mathenge – 234k
Alex dresses up as a policeman and exploits all the weird and funny habits Kenyan police have to make his audience laugh. He has paired up with multiple comedians including Henry Desagu and Mca Tricky to released viral videos. Recently, in Ringtone’s alleged arrest which was staged as part of the publicity effort for an upcoming song, officer Alex was the police officer who made the arrest. He has even shot some comedy with politician Kalonzo Musyoka and has released a music video that has so far racked up 1.5M views.
9. Tom Daktari – 217k
Tom Daktari and Sammy Kioko were recently interviewed by Churchill. In the interview, they shared their experience and journey in comedy. Tom Daktari is most known for his role as the teacher alongside Sammy Kioko who plays a student. Together, this duo has released a lot of funny content based on high school experiences, putting both of them among the most followed comedians on YouTube.
10. Ujinga Za Victor Naman – 182k
Rounding up our list is Victor Naman and his stupid antiques, as his channel name suggests. Victor’s stupidity on YouTube has earned him over 30 million views on YouTube. On his YouTube home page, Victor has placed a video that he did imitating Raila in 2018. The video has only 445 views. On the same page is a video of him getting arrested that he did two years later. It has 1.3 million views. It’s a perfect way to summarize the excruciating journey that each of the individuals on this list has gone through to get to where they are.
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