Wagwan Fam? The Millennials’ Guide to Grime

Grime has never been bigger in Nairobi, but do you know your Dizzee from your Bizzle?


The music of Kenya is very diverse, with multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages. Yes, Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Local music, Bongo, Afro beats and other genres may run the mainstream media, a new genre is fast rising and is being fueled online.

It began as the sound of London’s underground, but now grime has grown up, blown up and gone global.

There is a phenomenal wave of artists taking over the Kenyan music industry with unique styles and hippy vibes. a group of creatives who have refused to stagnate, who have chosen to follow what they love to do and unafraid to be themselves. The world doesn’t know it yet, but the revolution is happening and we are here, right now.

Clad in shades and a bomber jacket, Shiro Lehero is getting ready to hit the radio studio at the What’s Good Radio premises on a Wednesday right before 1pm.

Her show, Bass Jump, arguably the first show to showcase Grime in Kenya and later on HBR 103.5FM picking up, has been is Africa’s plug for exploring the dopiest tracks from Kenya and the UK’s underground music scene. Not one to stick to the script, she cuts in with a Japan underground grime music.

Shiro, a globe trotter and proud of it, is the creator of a grime event set to go down in Nairobi. The first ever grime event: EQ Black Grime.

Born and raised in Rome, Italy, this young Kenyan woman fell in love with the events industry when she was studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Industry and Events Management in London.

It is there that she immersed herself into the UK music scene and discovered all the amazing things that music and events should offer, beginning the birth of Equilibrium. And this weekend, they showcase for the first time what Grime music can do to a generation, way far from its origins in the UK.


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In 2002, back in east London, a new music evolved—it was different, angry, loud and unapologetic—the sound of an angry but optimistic black Britain.

Fiercely independent and without a doubt, innately provocative, it was a brittle voice of hope.

Yet, it remained outside the mainstream doors, only welcomed among the crowded dancefloor doors of London.

Fast forward to 2017 and still the UK’s record industry is yet to acknowledge “grime” as the country’s most significant aural rebellion since punk.


With its recognizable beats that hook you from the start, flavoured with the machine-gun rap skills of the artists somehow spoken in Swahili, musically Grime holds one thing that not even the UK record industry can take away from it—the hope and message of freedom.

That message is now crisscrossing too different parts of the world. Grime’s top boy, Skepta did partner with Levi’s to run music production workshops in Tottenham’s Selby community centre, BBC Radio 1 Xtra has accepted the music genre on their playlist and with the genre no lnger confined, we thought it was time to take cues:

IBIZA #MERKYFestival ?? cc: @ashleyverse

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  • Mandem [mann-dehm]

Collective term for a group of males.

i.e. “The mandem are chilling tonight, bruv.”

  • Peng [pen-gh]

adj. Attractive. Beautiful. Only used for describing the female sex. In Kenya, we add ting, i.e Peng-ting

i.e. “MATE, girls are Koroga Fetival? They are peng-tings!”

  • Wagwan [waah-gwahn]

Greetings. Afro Caribbean way of saying “what’s going on; or wassup.”

i.e. “Wagwan, fam? You good, yeah?”

  • Wasteman [weyst-man]

noun. Derogatory term carrying connotations of failure and uselessness.

i.e. “BRUV you 35 and still live with your mum. What a wasteman.”

  • ‘Nuff [nuff]

A lot. In plenty or surplus. Caribbean Corruption of “enough.”

i.e. “Nuff people turned up at the party, mate!”

  • Fag [fagh]

noun. Cigarette.

i.e. “Yo, you got a pack of fags?”

  • Creps [kreps]

Footwear; sneakers. See also: “trainers”

i.e. “Check out them new creps, bruv?”