In 2020 just when the world was put on lockdown thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rapper Femi One managed to keep her fans entertained in the comfort of their homes after she released the song ‘Utawezana’ that became an internet sensation thanks to a dance challenge started by Tik Tok star Azziad Nasenya.
In 2021, she made history by becoming the first African Female Brand Ambassador for Monster Energy Drink.
The Adonai hit-maker also holds the number spot as the female rapper with the most YouTube subscribers in the whole of East Africa.
Since then, Femi One has been releasing music keeping her name at the top of the charts. Her hard work and consistency seem to be paying off after being crowned 2022 Best Female rapper of the year at the Afrima awards.
“This adds up to the many highlights of my career because I think this makes me the first female rapper in Kenya and East Africa to win in the category,” Femi One said.
Femi battled it out with rapper Fena Gitu (Kenya), Ms Banks (Nigeria), Nata (Sierra Leone), Feli Nuna (Ghana), Candy Bleakz (Nigeria) and Rosa Ree (Tanzania).
Other winners from East Africa include Tanzanian singers Rayvanny and Zuchu who won Best Male and Female East Africa, respectively.
“I have been very consistent in making sure I produce music and I believe this has helped me get the recognition that I am now getting beyond Kenya and across the continent,” Femi One said.
Rapper Femi One started her career 10 years ago after featuring in the ‘Ligi Soo’ remix song by King Kaka.
She was later signed by Kaka Empire, a record label owned by King Kaka, real name Kennedy Ombima. She went ahead to release the hits ‘Tippy toe’ and ‘Utawezana’
“This is the best time to be a Kenyan artiste, we are seeing a lot of new blood in the industry who are doing an amazing job. Kenyan artistes are doing the work but we are not getting enough media publicity. I also believe that some people who have influence are trying to push for a negative narrative about us. As artistes we are involved in major projects, we are getting endorsement deals and we are also doing music collaborations,” Femi One said.
Some of the success stories she says are lost in between clout chasing artistes who dominate the headlines.
She has spent her career engaged in a battle against being boxed in and has on several occasions remarked that women encounter more challenges in the music industry than men.
“It’s harder to become known purely for talent than for looks,” she remarked.
The Kaka Empire record label signee has contended with these double standards and expectations to emerge hip-hop champion whose rapping skills have ensured her continued relevance in the genre.
“All the years I have been an artiste I learned that consistency is key; you cannot afford to be one-hit-wonder. A good management team is also important for support and people who go out of their way to make sure your career is on an upward trajectory. Patience is also very important because sometimes things might not work out as planned,” she said.
“I remember when I released my first hit song ‘Tippy Toe’, it did so well that I started feeling anxious about my next song, will it do as great and even surpass its numbers, or would I be a one-hit wonder who is only remembered by one song from an entire album? I would postpone the next release and if you were keen there was a time I went silent; there was no music. But I am glad I was able to get over this because then came ‘Utawezana’ and many others after.”
Femi One’s Profile
Full Names: Wanjiku Kimani
Popular as: Femi One
Occupation / Profession: Hip-Hop Artiste
Race / Ethnicity: African
Femi One Biography
Rapper Wanjiku Kimani aka Femi One was born on 25th April, 1994 in Mwiki, Kasarani, Nairobi.
She attended school in Nairobi and attended high school at Gakarara Secondary school. She had plans to go back to school to pursue a course in media.
Femi used to be a tomboy until after she joined Kaka Empire and rebranded herself.
Femi one was introduced to the scene by King Kaka in his major hit ‘Ligi Soo’ remix. For the longest time, she referred to herself as Femi One Shiku. Femi one appeared in one half of the song with other female rappers and she really stood out for her flow and demeanour in the song. It was a major break for her career and Kaka took her under his management by signing her to Kaka Empire.
She has since made a name for herself with her signature sheng rap music and her much-needed attitude to carry any hip-hop song. She has collaborated with many heavy hitters in the industry such as Mejja, King Kaka and many more. Femi One Shiku has also morphed into Femi One and is the most consistent female rapper in Kenya.
She got into music right after high school and was signed right from then but she hopes to get back to school to study Mass Communication in the near future.
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Daniji Emmanuel is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles on various niches focusing on Entertainment topics. He’s also published interviews, conducted research and written opinions on the creative industry. BigDan, fondly called, also consults and handles brand promotions for people and organizations in the creative industry.
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