Hip Hop Zambian Music in Zambia

hip hop zambian music

Zambian hip hop music is the latest trend on Zambia’s music scene. This genre blends traditional Zambian tunes with elements of rapping, sampling and scratching – and can often be found as part of live performances or DJ mixes.

Over time, various regional styles have developed over time. One such popular movement is Copperbelt’s Kopala Swag (kopala is colloquial for copper). Macky 2 and Chef 187 are two rappers renowned for pioneering this style.


Zambia may not be known for its music, but the country boasts a vibrant hip hop scene which continues to flourish. Hip hop first gained popularity in Zambia after discos became more mainstream; local rap/hip-hop styles known as Zam-Ragga were inspired by American acts such as Sugarhill Gang while evolving out of rock roots.

Since then, Zambian music industry has experienced rapid expansion. There are now an abundance of talented artists in Zambian hip hop scene including Macky 2 and Slap Dee – two notable hip hop zambian musicians who stand out.

Macky 2, or Mulaza Kaira in full, is one of Zambia’s premier hip hop artists and singer/producers. He first gained international notoriety as one of three contestants on Big Brother Africa season 9 where he won third place overall. Since then he has gone on to win multiple awards and be part of his popular Macky 2 Hope Foundation which helps orphaned and vulnerable children throughout Zambia.

He released his debut album ‘Ndimupondo’ under Digital X label with Alfa Entertainment and J-Kayo in 2011, to widespread acclaim across Zambian radio stations. For his efforts he was nominated at Zambia Music Awards for Best Mainstream Artist, Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album and Best Collaboration.

Slap Dee is a Zambian hip-hop artist that has been making waves for more than a decade in the industry. A self-taught rapper, Slap Dee has overcome some hurdles during his career such as losing both parents. With an array of skills under his belt and songs that tackle issues plaguing Zambians on an everyday basis, his songs remain powerfully relevant today.

At a time when African music is widely perceived to be diminishing, Zambian hip-hop has proven that there is significant talent within Zambia’s music scene. There are numerous aspiring artists throughout Zambia that could take their talents further if given enough effort and support from audiences and musicians alike.

Slap Dee

Hip hop music in Zambia is quickly gaining momentum and its rap scene has experienced rapid expansion. Though local rap is the dominant genre within Zambia’s music industry, there are also several international artists and rappers that have found great success here.

Slap Dee is one of Zambia’s premier hip hop musicians and is well-renowned for his signature witty rap style. His songs reflect much of his personal experience and have established him as an iconic face within Zambian Hip Hop community.

He possesses an extraordinary gift for beatmaking and songwriting, often being recognized as one of Zambia’s leading producers. Additionally, he’s an exceptional listener able to understand his audience’s tastes and preferences.

His raps are instantly recognisable, while his delivery is polished with an air of maturity that sets him apart from many other MCs in the local scene. Not only are they full of catchy hooks but they can evoke emotional responses in his listeners too!

Slapdee has been performing music professionally since 2006 and signed to XYZ Entertainments. He is widely considered the pioneer of Zambian Hip Hop music, winning multiple awards over time.

Slapdee overcame his difficult beginnings to create music that resonated with young people. As one of Zambia’s few artists who has come from an impoverished background and become successful and making an impactful statement about life today.

His highly anticipated album Black Na White 2 will be released in March 2017, and includes songs such as “The Realest”, “No Wonder”, and “Devil You Are A Lair”.

Slap Dee has amassed an ardent following who support and keep him relevant. A proud XYZ artist, Slap Dee has collaborated with Bobby East, Koby, DJ H-Mac and B-Mak among many other artists.

Slap Dee recently made an appearance on BBC Radio, discussing his rap music, life challenges and his success at forging relationships. He also addressed rap battles and how they have allowed him to tap into younger audiences.

King Illest

Hip hop Zambian music has received immense attention over recent years. Zambia is home to an abundance of talented rappers who are making waves in Zambian music culture.

King Illest is currently one of Zambia’s premier hip hop artists, enjoying commercial success and winning several awards in recognition of his talent within the music industry.

Born Mainga Mukando in Zambia’s Southern Province, King Illest has collaborated with many acclaimed local and South African musicians onstage, garnering him widespread acclaim in Zambia and beyond for his distinctive sound and unique performance style. He has amassed a substantial fan following throughout Zambia.

He won Best Artiste Southern Province at the Kwacha Music Awards in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Recently he released the smash hit song “Bacheende,” featuring Macky 2.

He is widely-renowned for his unique musical style that blends both rapping and singing into one performance. Recently he visited South Africa to form relationships with local acts and expand his brand outside Zambia.

King Illest has two singles out now to kick start June. “Mbelele” and “Muzike,” two tracks sure to please his fans, have both been released for sale.

Not only is he known for his musical skills, but also for his exquisite fashion sense. From fur coats to accessories from designer runways he always looks as though he just stepped off a catwalk!

Kalandanya Music Promotions recently signed rapper Mbelele up and has released his first track entitled “Mbelele”. Fans and critics alike will likely respond positively to this debut single from him!

Chef 187

Hip hop music in Zambia has quickly become one of the most beloved genres. Artists such as Chef 187 have made waves within this genre by changing how hip hop is performed and made relevant to Zambians.

Chef 187 (Kondwani Kaira), born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia is an African hip-hop musician known for his love of singing at an early age and eventually taking up music as his career choice. His brother Macky 2 (a rapper himself) is his younger sibling who introduced him to hip-hop music.

He draws influence from West Coast and R&B music styles while adding Nyanja and bemba lyrics into his lyrics, to produce an eclectic style that not only belongs to Zambia but has universal appeal.

He has released five albums so far: Bon Appetit (2019), Bon Appetit Deluxe (2021), Amnesia (2017), Heart of a Lion (2015) and Amenso Pamo (2015). Among them, his most well-known hits are “Ndafilwa Ukuichindika,” Sinawala,” and Kuma Lila Ngoma”.

Chef 187 has released several songs from his forthcoming album. To create it, he is working with other artists such as T Low, Jemax and Solomon Plate.

On this album, he emphasizes the significance of relationships in his life. Not only is he an incredible husband and father, he’s also extremely loyal to his fans and enjoys keeping them up-to-date on any new music releases or surprises!

“Too Busy,” is an uptempo rap song featuring angelic vocal performance reminiscent of Prince Luv’s “Jealous.”

It features an infectious tune with an energetic beat, making this track an attractive club hit that could draw crowds into clubs.

“Nameless One” stands out on this album with its focus on self-sufficiency and includes a diss track against those deemed unworthy of his time and consideration.