Bongo Flava Music Description

Bongo Flava is the nickname for Tanzanian hip-hop music. Bongo is the plural form of the Swahili word ubongo, meaning "brain", referring to the 'street smarts' contained in the lyrics and is also a nickname for the Capital city Dar Es Salaam, from where the style originated.

The term was first coined in 1996 by Radio One's 99.6 FM's DJ Mike Mhagama, who was seeking to distinguish the local movement from American hip-hop and R&B. It is the most popular musical style amongst the Tanzanian youth today, having been pioneered by the likes of Mawingu Band, Dar Young Mob, DJ Boni Love, DJ Kim Magomelo and the Boyz, Adili a.k.a Nigga One and Mr. II.

Bongo Flava also draws on traditional Tanzanian musical styles like taarab and dansi, creating it's own unique sound within the African hip-hop landscape. It is also a popular musical style in culturally related neighboring Kenya.


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