Odi pop, former underground genre, is making its way to becoming mainstream one Nairobi prestigious music festival at a time


Odi pop or Odi style is a new genre of music that is making a name for itself on mainstream radio after a long time of Naija and Bongo domination.

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Odi pop is a fusion of fast dancehall beats and hardcore sheng or street slang. The style originates from, Kayole, Umoja, Dagoretti, Rongai and Dandora and is very popular among the youth whose preferred language is Sheng.

Over the past decade, Kenya’s music scene has had four main music genres: Genge, Kapuka, Hip-hop & Afro-pop but genres like Bongo from our neighbours Tanzania and Naija from Nigeria have dominated the music scene in Kenya leaving most of our artists scrambling for relevance.

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This genre might prove to be a turning point for our entertainment scene. Odi pop is slowly becoming the preferred genre if mainstream airplay is anything to go by. This style of music started out as an underground genre of music – as most genres do – before Collo (Kleptomaniacs) pulled it from the shadows and into the spotlight with his hit song “Bazokizo”.

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The popularity of “Bazokizo” opened the door for other Odi pop musicians; in 2017 Jabidii &Timeless Noel released “Shoot Satan”, “KDF”’, and “Vimbada” and the Ochunglo family in collaboration with the Kansoul released “na iwake’, songs which in turn cemented the genre’s place in Kenya’s music scene.

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The genre has had its fair share of critics, most citing four-boy crew Ethic’s “Lamba Lolo” as an example of the genre’s tendency to veer towards obscenity and lewdness.

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Over the weekend, Ethic performed at The Koroga Festival, an event that has been graced by international acts like Yemi Alade & Femi Kuti. It seems, then, that Odi style is here to stay.

Here are some songs that fall under the Odi pop category.

Saba by Ethic

Zimenishika by Zzerosufuri

Na iwake by Ochunglo family

Wabebe by Gwash

Wamlambez by Miracle baby & Shalkido


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