2019 has been another good year for the growth of the Malawi Music Industry. The work ethic given by most of our artists is something to definitely applaud and worth mentioning; a bit of inspiration for all the artists that slacked this year.
The Slice Magazine carried out a bit of research through music fans, entertainment journalists, and research on each individual’s work ethic through the release of music audios and videos; performances; progress of the artist as a brand, etcetera. Needless to say that we regard the aforementioned points of research as the criteria for our list. In that spirit, here is a list of the URBAN artists we believe owned 2019.
10. Temwa (New Entry to our list)
The “Mudya basi” hitmaker earned a UMP nomination this year under the Female Artist of the year category. A nomination which received quite the criticism from a lot of twitter users as most felt the artist did not deserve to make the list. However, her song, Hangover, did well on the YouTube scene with 15K Views and was part of the artists that performed at Lake of Stars this year.
9. Jay Jay Cee (Number 9 on last year’s list)
Jay Jay Cee was voted in 9th place on the Slice List last year, 2018. Maintaining his place; an artist not shy of releasing new music is an artist to make it on your favourites list. Jay Jay Cee has been quite busy both in the studio and on stage this year as he released his “Mulingo Wina” album in September this year; which saw him host a show for the album launch in Mzuzu on 27th July. To top it off, his song FAKA was among the most selling TNM Caller Tunes of 2019 according to the Tnm stats.
8. Seven O More (New Entry to our list)
Seven O More took it off from where he left off 2018 by releasing the video of his controversial “Anatha” song. He went on to release “Akathima” with a music video that has so far hit 12K YouTube Views. His work ethic this year earned him a UMP Awards Nomination for the category Male Artist of the Year.
7. Phyzix (New Entry to our list)
“One thing about Phyzix people do not look at…” one music fan said, “…is the work ethic the man has.” And indeed, Phyzix has been one of the hardest working artists of the year – with a couple of gigs including a Sand Music Festival Performance; his own Ghetto Festival City Shows; the release of his album SOLID and; the music videos; Phyzix had quite a year and definitely deserves the respect he demands.
6. Kell Kay (New Entry to our list)
For an artist, Music is everything. For a Malawian artist, releasing an album is quite rare. Kell Kay did everything an artist is supposed to do this year with his album Love After 24 which saw him host shows in both Blantyre and Lilongwe for the album launch. He ended off the year with a Male Artist of the Year UMP Awards Nomination and a Video of the Year UMP Nomination for his song “Go” which was 900K Views short of reaching a million views on YouTube. 100K Views for a Malawian artist a decade ago? Doubtful… the industry is certainly growing.
5. Hayze Engolah (Number 10 on last year’s list)
Here is to a man who understands the brand in an artist. Hayze Engolah has this year used his level of fame to venture into the merchandise business through KNQR. The brand has since made its way to fame through his music videos; social media publicity and a showcase through major fashion events like FASHION4CHANGE.
Music wise, the self-proclaimed Matafale gave us three music videos this year: On the Low, Pressure Makes Diamonds, and the recently released Dashin’ Remix. The rapper also had a good number of gigs throughout the year from the Mr and Miss MCA at Comesa to a performance at the UMP Awards at Crossroads Hotel. Indeed, Hayze Engolah is ready to KNQR the country. Are we finally getting the album, EPs and the documentary promised to us in 2018?
4. Kim of Diamonds (Number 6 on last year’s list)
One of the few Malawian artists who focuses a lot on making music. From releasing an album last year, Kim of Diamonds took no breaks and went on to release 8 singles this year including “Intuition” which features Classick. The artist also released the visuals for “Heart Go” around October this year. If the singles and the videos aren’t enough to impress you, Kimberly went on to win the Female Artist of the year Award at the UMP Awards. And hey, accolades are everything.
3. Eli Njuchi (New Entry to our list)
Want to see a Malawian artist’s appreciation comments? Open your Twitter and search “Eli Njuchi”. The 17 year old dancehall artist has been receiving the love he deserves throughout the year – which saw him make a Lake of Stars Debut Perfomance in September. Eli Njuchi released “Zitatu” and the “Illuminati” music video – reaching 15K Views so far. At such a young age, the artist earned a 2019 UMP Award nomination under the Male Artist of the Year category.
2. Gwamba (Number 3 on last year’s list)
One of Malawi’s most consistent artists. Gwamba had a good, as every other year since he came on the hip hop scene, 2019. The rapper released his ‘Mama Said God First’ sophomore album as a gospel rapper and went on to host a highly attended-to album launch in Lilongwe. The rapper also had an appearance and performance on SABC 2 around April this year. To top it all off, Gwamba’s yearly work ethic saw him get another nomination at the UMP awards as one of the 5 Male Artists of the Year.
1. Wikise (New Entry to our list)
About 6 songs released this year but the first song that comes to mind has to be “Chikamphulikire”. The artist, who came to the Malawian Music Scene after the release of his funny video Shabarakati, has definitely owned 2019. Not only did his “Chikamphulikire” hit single win the Song of the year award at the UMP Awards, the song has since earned 126K Views on YouTube. Wikise has also had quite a number of gigs this year including his recent performance at the itel show. He also won the artist of the year award at the UMP awards and hey, the debate of who owned 2019 definitely has to be closed this far.