Rwanda: Five Promising Rwandan Artists That Record Labels Should Keep an Eye On

14 September 2023

For the first time in the history of Rwandan music, projects produced by home-grown musicians are dominating the global charts, producing projects that sit right next to the likes of Asake, Wiz Khalifa and Gunna, among other mega stars on various streaming platforms.

Major record labels in and outside the country are showing interest in Rwandan musicians, but most of the youngsters remain independent without being signed to a record label or management line, which hinders their growth and music distribution.

Wondering who are the top five young Rwandan artistes who have the potential to be signed by major local and international record labels? The New Times has you covered

Ariel Wayz

Ariel Wayz's vocal skills show why she is one of the most sought-after musicians in Rwanda at the moment, deserving to be signed by not only local record labels but some of the biggest in the world. The young artiste continued to set records in 2022 with her second EP 'Touch The Sky' as one of the best projects ever released by a Rwandan artiste, making her one of the artistes that could change the music game in 2023.

She's currently working on her debut album, which could be released this year.


Rwandans first heard of this young talented artistein 2022 when he featured on Loud Sound Music's second album 'Rwanda Rw'ejo 2' and since then, Shemi has managed to stay at the top of the charts. He eve entered 2023 with his debut track 'Peace of Mind' as one of the most trending songs in Rwanda.

Shemi's verse on 'Bluecheese' and his remix of Chris Brown and Wizkid's 'Call Me Everyday' alongside MaestroBommin have secured his place at the top of the game, making him one of the promising artists to watch in 2023.


One of the best Afro-pop singers in Rwanda, Nillan shot to stardom after the release of his debut album 'City Boy', which was widely acclaimed and introduced the youngster to the Rwandan music industry.

'Sober', one of the tracks on the album, is one of the popular songs by a young Rwandan musician and was recorded in Switzerland by some of the country's best producers.

There is no doubt that Nillan, who is also a producer and a graduate of the Nyundo School of Music, is one of the youngsters in Rwanda who can give millions to any record label that would sign him.

His latest EP titled 'Dramatic' is one of the most trending in the country today.

Ish Kevin

Ish Kevin has been hailed as the architect of a new Rwandan cultural movement, a localised trap genre with global ambitions known as Trappish music. A rapper, songwriter, digital influencer and entrepreneur, Kevin is one of the most popular Rwandan musicians in Rwanda, with many major record labels at his disposal.

The young artiste was previously signed to major record labels such as New York-based ONErpm, a global leader in artist and label services, before opening his studio and record label.

Despite starting his own label, Ish Kevin is one of the promising young Rwandan artists who could sign a major deal with some of the world's biggest record labels.

His single "No Cap", a robust banger that was hailed as one of the hardest drill songs of the year by GRM Daily, helped to build Ish Kevin's popularity, leading to his recent stadium-sized headlining concert.

His latest release 'Trappish2', a seven-track mixtape, features a number of well-known local and international musicians.

Ish Kevin's lyricism has been also recognised across the continent with a nomination at the Senegalese Galsen Hip Hop Awards.


MaestroBoomin is one of the few Rwandan rappers with hard bars that have caught the attention of not only Rwandan music consumers, but the world.

Born Brian Kimonyo, MaestroBoomin has come a long way since he first started honing his mic skills as a 16-year-old growing up in South Africa and the USA.

After catching the attention of South African star Nasty C and other renowned rappers such as Drake, J Cole and Jay Z, he started freestyling with his friends at West Nairobi School and later fell in love with the art of music.

In June 2020, MaestroBoomin dropped a freestyle called 'Sign Me', a project that brought him to the streets and since then he has started featuring local rappers like Ish Kevin, Arnaud Grey, Kivumbi King and many others.

The 22-year-old is one of the few East African rappers to make it to BBC Extra, a digital urban contemporary and black music radio station owned and operated by the BBC, making him one of the biggest Rwandan musicians capable of generating huge profits for major record labels.

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