25Flow- Lyrical Gods From Back In The Day

A close look at music, it has a myriad of components that compel you to like a song. The beats, melodies, harmonies, hook, the intro, and outro, Ad-libs, we can rant and rave for so long. But today let us take time to appreciate the lyrics constitute of music, right here in the 254. The seamless marriage between spoken word and beats to create a timeless hit from these very hoods we live in.

Anytime you hit the club you would notice a distinct tenor once the Dj plays old school Kenyan song, or as we call it – Local. The acts in the early 2000’s who are very pivotal in what we have today had the ultimate recipe to forging timeless bangers.

Here are my top picks from the old school era of 25Flow that I feel had had unparalleled talent on lyrism.


Issah Mmari is one of the greats to ever do it in Kenya. Peep his last body of work before he passed on in 2003 titled- Nimefika. His lyrical wit on this album propelled the 14 tracks to be radio singles stand alone. Lines like “Ni E-sir, pewa mbili kwenye Kichwa lyrical tongue twister na Mista K-I-Swahili nani yuko na shida na mimi”. Most people will sing word for word to his catchy rhymes and loop his songs to catch the intellect behind it. Mix blend of Swahili and Sheng booked him a top spot when our music was looking to stand out.

Abbas Kubaff

Kariobangi-South’s living legend is a true wordsmith. Just grab a copy of the 1999 Album Nairobbery when he teamed up with Bamboo in the group K-South and soak into stupefying story telling. Doobiez uses the simplest of lines and turns the rhymes into funny thought provoking gags. He can paint a scene of his canvas and take you from start to end and you will understand every detail. “Doobiez ni mchizi mi msanii toka civil/ SiShikiki, Stishiki na vitisho/” get familiar.

Abbas New


Here is one cat who kicked off his career and cemented his place by fighting for the spot. His first record was a diss track aiming at the popping acts at the time. He can be credited for throwing shade at acts that were so fierce they elicited a response from likes of Wodhes. The biggest beef was between him and Doobiez but also his best collabos came from Abbas. His lyrical prowess stems from poetry and open mic freestyles. I like his mastery in the lingo, sheng, English reaching a wider audience and speaks on issues of the hood politics as well. “Nahit the ground running kama makanga 58, niko on the real hustle wangapi wana-relate”

Chiwawa pic


3 lads from Nairobi school back in 99 came to the scene to out rap everyone. Collo, Nyashinski, and Roba each brought a unique talent to the table bringing Kapuka to the front. Listen to “tuendelee” which is considered biggest diss track of all time in the 254. They employ a feel good rap and easy sing along punch lines in their verses hence making themselves relatable.


Ukoo Flani Mau Mau.

The clan is the ultimate representative of music for the streets by the streets. An initial clan of 24 members who paint pictures of the suffering in the hood using music shot in the limelight early 2000’s. Their aim was to have Hip Hop as the voice of ghetto suffrage. Their hard hitting poetic lines made you shiver or feel angry about the government. “Ipe upendo hip hop halisi/kwenye streets, mitaani machizi, vile inafaa”. Ukoo flani was a success story in having real impact to young people who were into crime and thought there was no way out. You need to be attentive to catch the wit in their song but the story telling is beyond exceptional.
Stay Tuned as we look at the new age acts who bring the A game on the pen.

Ukoo Flani 1

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