In 2022, the hip-hop world experienced a real reshuffling of the decks. At the beginning of the year, megastars like Ish Kevin, Kivumbi King, and the whole Loud Sound gang delivered landmark projects which are driving the rap culture in Rwanda to greater heights. Rap is built on movement, and 2022 proved that the well of talent in the hip-hop world is as fresh and exciting as ever. A new generation of artists like Bruce the 1st, Bobby Banks, and OG2tone is entering new heights in their careers, dropping some of the year's most compelling releases.
Before we bid goodbye to this year, we look back at some of the best rap projects that came out in 2022.
When Kigali's best driller Ish Kevin officially signed with Onerpm, the moment felt like the well-deserved culmination and an opportunity for the talented rapper to reach new eyes and ears.
After only a few months since he entered the Nigerian distribution label, he dropped his long awaited second mixtape, Trappish II, and the rest was history.
Trappish II, holds big names in the industry such as Ycee who appeared on the most viral track of the projects 'Clout', Kivumbi King, Confy and Yannick YMK, one of the pioneers of Kinyatrap among others.
In his recent interview with The New Times, Ish Kevin said that this mixtape was produced to accomplish what the Trappish movement started by giving comfort to the youth and the young generation making rounds in the industry.
The project was produced by the best producers in Rwanda including Bob Pro, Pro Zed, Bailey pro among others.
After dropping DID, an album that acclaimed Kivumbi King as one of the best lyricists and rappers in Rwanda, the young poet didn't stop delivering hits and his latest EP 'Frequency' is among the best rap projects ever produced in the history of Rwandan music.
Dropped on 8 July2022, the EP holds big tracks like 'Amarira' which featured 4EVA, a club banger dubbed 'Salute', 'Ntacyo Nzaba' and 'Ntawivuna'.
Kivumbi King keeps churning out projects that are taking Rwandan rap to another level, and he is among a few Rwandan musicians who performed in big cities around the world in 2022.
Kenny Kshot, the Nasty C of Kigali also took a pen and mic this year and released back to back flows that resulted in his maiden mixtape, 'Intare'.
Premiered on his birthday, February 2, the 10 track piece holds different genres from London drill to Brooklyn trap, Afro Pop and everything that sounds unique.
The mixtape features top rising rappers in Rwanda's music scene such as tricky hit maker, Logan Joe, Kivumbi King, E.T Ndahigwa to mention a few.
Produced by Pro Zed and a 19-year-old producer, known as Ehlers on the track, and having tracks like 'Ibiraro', 'Imana Nkuru', Gangstar and Ubwonko, Intare Mixtape is among the best rap projects produced by the young generation making music in Rwanda.
A young artiste on the rise is making wonders in Rwanda's music industry and his new EP is something that will take years for local rappers to challenge. That's Bruce The 1st a.k.a 'Wambere', a kid who is unlocking the art of sampling in Rwandan rap songs.
On December 21, Bruce dropped Sad Boys and the seven track project is already number one trending on AudioMack Rwanda.
The highlight of the project is 'Sad Boys', a drill song produced by Bailey that caught the attention of many music lovers over how it holds sample voices of street kids narrating street life.
It is composed of seven new songs: 'Sad Boys' ft Kivumbi King and Kenny K-Shot, 'What' ft Riderman, 'Kumihanda' ft Juno Kizigenza, 'Way to Win', 'Self Made', 'Mbwira' and 'Hallelujah'.
Rwanda Rw'ejo II
Loud Sound Music, which is behind the rise of drill genre, came back in style this year with the release of Rwanda Rw'ejo II, a continuation of Rwanda Rw'ejo 1 which dropped in 2020 and had some of the hit tracks that influenced the rise of drill genre in Kigali.
Rwanda Rw'ejo producers include longtime collaborators of Loud Sound like Yannick MYK, Ehlers, Joeca$$h, Pro Zed, among others, and feature renowned artistes like Confy, Ish Kevin, Bushali, Nikita heaven, Kivumbi King, Trizzie Ninety Six, Derek MYG and many others.
Some of the songs on the album which are still topping charts include Volume, Envy, Pressure, Success, Urukumbuzi, Sample and many others.