Afro-pop music has an interesting appeal. Yes, it is the African equivalent of pop music in the States but it shows the very best music Africa has to offer. Africans have been well represented in that genre and it has actually put us on the global map. The likes of Wizkid, Davido, and Sauti Sol are all but great examples of artists who are pushing African music to the world.
Among those artists currently pushing the Afro-pop agenda is Mzungu Kichaa. He has been around for 10 years or so and his music is worth your attention. Seriously. He released his new project in January Huyu Nani and it is really good.
I’ll be honest, this was the first time I was listening to his music so I didn’t know what to expect. His name already tells you that he can speak the Swahili language but nothing about the kind of music he does. Well, it is Afro-pop for sure but there is a little bit of everything.
A quick history lesson about him before we dig deeper into his new album (Correct me if I’m wrong). Espen Sorensen is his real name, was born in Denmark but grew in Tanzania. This explains his fluency in the Swahili language.
His earliest works saw him focus on Bongo Flava but has that isn’t the case with his latest work Huyu Nani.
A Little Bit of Everything
Mzungu Kichaa takes inspiration from several genres to make it his own version. He is inspired by Bongo, EDM, contemporary urban, reggaeton and rap music. Those elements are infused in different songs and work to varying degrees of success.
Let’s remember one thing here, this is Afro-pop. The African version of Pop music. Not every song will be good. Luckily for Mzungu Kichaa, his songs aren’t that bad to be considered trash.
That being said, the last four tracks of this record are, in my opinion, the weakest songs. Nani Huyu, for example, is him talking about how he is a big deal. I’m sure that is true but I’m not really into such songs. Fun fact about this song is that it got featured on one of Apple Music’s playlists. This is that situation where the song you like the least becomes the most popular. Good for him though; he deserves a wider audience.
Happy is a weird EDM song. Not bad, weird. You can appreciate the effort being put to make the song but I honestly don’t know how I feel about it. There is something off about it. And no, it’s not him. He puts his best efforts in every song. I’ll not even try to dispute that.
My only complaint about the last four songs is that they don’t have the same kind of energy as the first 7 tracks. The album starts off well but slowly loses traction to the end. Again, it’s not bad but you can tell the difference in terms of the vibe you get. There is just something about the guitar riffs in You Got Me than the really mature and introspective lyrics in Mind Body Soul.
Speaking of You Got Me, it is definitely my favourite track in Huyu Nani. The chemistry between him, KK, and Grace Matata is simply amazing. Also, the music video is really amazing. You should definitely have a watch.
He actually gets the RnB tracks right as Mpenzi, and Asha Wangu also serve as notable highlights. The features too are a pleasant surprise. Given that I barely knew any of the acts (except Lady Jaydee and Sauti Sol), they really gave it their best and made the whole album better.
Huyu Nani is a great album to listen to if you’re into Afro-pop music. The production is amazing, Mzungu Kichaa is very confident as an artist and there is not much to complain about. Aside from my personal opinions (😅).
You can get this album on Apple Music, Boomplay, and Spotify. Best place to listen to is Boomplay because of its accessibility. Also, I’m working on the review of Boomplay as a streaming platform so make sure you follow the Anomaly Diary for updates.