DESPITE THE ESCALATION of covid-19, the music industry is one of a few sectors that experienced a boost in the country this year, with home grown musicians putting their spin together on new sounds to make Rwandan music merge at the top. The production, content, creativity, and innovation among artistes promised a bright future for the industry. The New Times brings you a list of Rwandan artistes that changed the game in the year of 2021, in no particular order. Logan Joe It is safe to say that one of the songs that trended this year include ‘Tricky’, a slow drill song from new kid on the block, Logan Joe. Since the release of ‘Tricky’, Logan Joe attracted many music lovers which made his name appear on a number of hits like ‘Feel My Pain’, ‘Forever’, ‘Ibitambo’, songs that give a clear image of the next generation in music. The fast rising singer is part of the artistes that performed at the Trappish Concert that attracted thousands of revelers. Kenny Kshot The 22-year-old rapper is now a big deal in the industry, thanks to number of hits that took over the music charts in Kigali. His song ‘Ibitambo’ is one of the most streamed and played songs in the country since 2020, and also a banger that generated much attention for his career and catapulted him to new heights in the industry. During the Versus show on RTV, Kenny Kshot freestyled on an exclusive beat , which trended on different social media platforms and exposed him to a national level. He responded by dropping the song in the freestyle and since then, the singer is still praised as the head of rhyme and flow in the new generation. His verse on the all-time hit ‘Kantona’ is one of the reasons his name is at the top of the industry in 2021. Ariel Wayz The 20-year-old girl is regarded as one of the most gifted artistes Rwanda has, with potential to become even bigger. Having made songs like ‘Away’ that hit a million views within less than a month, and ‘La vida Loca’ that won the attention and admiration of many music lovers in the country, one wouldn’t hesitate to mention her among game changers of the industry in 2021. Her golden voice, live performance and her capability to sing in international languages makes her one of the best musicians in the country at the moment. Ariel Wayz is also known to break the internet, by sharing pictures that trigger debates on the internet. Ish Kevin The fast rising artiste is a game changer, not only in Rwanda, but on a global scale according to top foreign media houses. By summer, Ish Kevin had already sealed his place as Rwandan Drill’s front-runner with “No Cap,” a sturdy banger acclaimed as one of the hardest Drill songs of the year by GRM Daily. From that, he was ranked ninth in top 12 best African rappers who made 2021 a wondrous year for the rap culture on the continent according to a latest ranking by The Native. Ish Kevin stands at the top of the industry, after introducing vibes that were nowhere to be found before in Rwanda’s music sector. His track ‘Amakosi’ introduced the gang love that is mostly seen in the UK rap scenes, an act that is taking Rwandan music to another level, which is also uniting almost all the young generation in the drill and Rap craze through his movement dubbed ‘Trappish.’ His upcoming mixtape will feature some renowned African artistes that have never collaborated with Rwandan musicians. Chris Easy You have certainly heard ‘a lit one’ in hits that are making it in clubs and other events of Kigali. It’s a signature phrase by Chris Easy, an upcoming artiste taking Kigali by storm in the genre of afro-beat. Five months ago, Chris Easy introduced himself in the industry with a banger dubbed ‘Fasta’ which won the attention and admiration of many music lovers in the country. The song introduced a new heavy afro wave that puts everyone listening to it in the partying mood, which also made it generate more than 700,000 views on YouTube. Last month Chris Easy came back in style with the release of his recent song ‘Amashu’, which is making it to top charts locally. Besides singing, he is also one of the best video directors in the country. Mike Kayihura From live sessions at Lavana, to mega shows like the All-star Game, Movember Fest and the Fantasy Concert, Mike Kayihura’s live performance is a force to reckon with. Since his first release ‘Anytime’, Mike Kayihura stole the attention of many by dropping chill vibe tunes like ‘Tuza’, ‘Jaribu’, ‘Trust Me’, ‘6:30’ among many others. This year, Mike has outdone all his big performances, something that music fans use to label him as the head of live music in Kigali. His creativity, lyricism and melodies make him a unique artiste. Niyo Bosco The visually impaired artiste is at the forefront of the afro-beat craze in Rwanda with his tracks taking over local air waves and TVs. Through Songs like ‘Piyapuresha’, ‘Seka’, ‘Ubutsinzi’, ‘Ishyano’ among many others, Niyo Bosco has managed to make himself a household name in Rwanda’s showbiz. The 20-year-old is currently managed by a showbiz journalist Irene Mulindahabi, who took him to ‘Uno Music Studio’ to record his first song ‘Ubigenza ute’ after being attracted by the uniqueness of his talent. Apart from singing, Niyo Bosco is among the best song writers in the country. Junior Kizigenza Since the first day of 2021, Juno Kizigenza has been delivering the best for his fans and is promising to continue the route of changing the Rwandan music industry. After dropping ‘Nazubaye’ in February, Juno attracted a large community of music and party lovers through the lyrics and beat this song holds. Since then, the 21-year-old has released hits after hits up to date. His recent songs ‘Please me’, and ‘Birenze’ are a practical proof that the upcoming artiste is just starting his journey. Confy At just 22, Confiance Munyaneza best known as Confy is already making headlines in the music industry. Growing up in a family of music lovers, comfy was exposed to music, which was the main inspiration that attracted him to join this sector. Today, he is likened to Omah Lay of Nigeria and Kidi of Ghana because of his songs such as ‘Panga’, ‘Pole Pole’ and ‘Jowana’ that took over in a short period of time. Apart from making hits, Confy is known to have the best chill artistic videos. Papa Cyangwe It is safe to say that Papa Cyangwe’s flows are top tier without forgetting his beats and fashion styles. The new kid on the block merged in the pandemic through Rocky Entertainment and since then, he has delivered well. From hits like ‘Imbeba’, ‘Kutsutsu’ to ‘Sana’ and ‘Bambe’, Papa Cyangwe is one of the few artistes that used 2021 as their ground to merge good vibes in Kigali. 2021 saw him signing big deals and headlining big stages such as Bruce Melodie’s 10 year anniversary concert.