Nyashinski : The Incredible Story of a Kenyan Hip-Hop Legend

Nyashinski, real name Nyamari Ongegu, is one of Kenya's biggest artists, making a name for himself first as part of 3-man rap group Kleptomaniax and later as a solo star.

Kleptomaniax was formed by three friends in 1999 while they were still students at Nairobi School; Nyashinski, Bazokizo hitmaker Collins Majale (Collo) and Roba (Robert Manyasa).

Their talent soon earned them a record deal with Ogopa Deejays, which was at the time Kenya's biggest record label pioneering urban hits from the likes of E-Sir, Nameless and Big Pin.

A steady stream of releases such as  Freak It, Maniax Anthem and Haree saw Kleptomaniax' popularity rise but at the same time, the commercial Kapuka music they had perfected offended Kenyan hip-hop purists such as Chiwawa and Bamboo.

In response to barbs thrown at them by the rappers, Kleptomaniax released, in 2004, what turned out to be the biggest diss track in Kenyan history and their biggest hit, with an unforgettable opening verse from Nyashinski.


"Ka ningekuwa msanii wa sanaa ya silaha..." is an opening line the average Kenyan is likely to complete for you.

The song inspired the 'Tuendelee ama tusiendelee?' phrase that is nowadays used to rally people at all types of gatherings, from corporate functions to political rallies.

Kleptomaniax released two commercially succesful albums; M4E (an abbreviation of Maniax Forever) in 2005 and Now is The Time (NIIT) in 2009.

They parted ways after the release of NIIT to focus on their solo projects.

It was at this point that Nyashinski disappeared from the local scene entirely as he moved to the US.

Little is known on what Nyashinski was up to in the US, but he once revealed in an interview that he secured employment as a truck driver.

After 10 years abroad, Nyashinski made a stunning return to the Kenyan scene in late 2016 as he dropped the smash hit Now You Know explaining his absence.

He questioned whether fans would have supported him if he stayed and lamented that Nigerian acts were now headlining shows in Nairobi.

Nyashinski went on to release Mungu Pekee which went on to garner millions of views despite only putting out a lyric video.


Malaika and Aminia were released on the same day in 2017 with Malaika ending up as one of Nyashinski's biggest hits.

Malaika, left many awed as Nyashinski showcased his ability to sing and craft smooth lyrics about love.


He has gone on to release nothing but big tunes such as Bebi Bebi, Hayawani and most recently, KEBS.

Nyashinski has also headlined a number of major shows in the country since his return.

[caption caption="Nyashinski"][/caption]