People, People and Society

Nyashinski biography and profile

Nyashinski is one of Kenya’s longest active performance artists having started as a rapper in the Kleptomaniax group. His real name is Nyamari Ongegu and hails from Western Kenya’s Kisii community. Some of his popular singles and collaborations include Properly, Malaika, Hapo Tu, and Free. We give you a short Nyashinski biography and profile below.

Nyashinski age and education

Nyamari hasn’t shared his real age, but if we calculate using the time he left high school, he is between 38 – 40 years old at the time of writing this article.

He went to Nairobi School, a national school in the Westlands area of Nairobi. It is while here that he met his two friends and formed a rap group named The Kleptomaniax. The Kleptomanniax group members were Nyashinski, Roba (Robert Manyasa) and Collo (Collins Majale).

Nyashinski holds a degree in Environmental Planning Management

Nyashinski journey in music

Nyashinski and his Kleptomaniax group officially joined the fast growing Nairobi hip hop scene with the 2002 release of Freak It, produced by the Ogopa DJs stable. They followed it up with Maniax Anthem, before they finally took the clubs by storm with Haree. However, many remember Kleptomaniax for their diss track Tuendelee against Genge artists who’d jabbed their Kapuka style of music.

As a rapper, Nyashinski and the Kleptomaniax group released two albums: M4E (acronym for Maniax Forever) in 2005, and NITT (Now is the time) in 2009. The M4E album led to their nomination for MTV Europe Music Awards for Best African Act as well as the Kora Music Awards for Best Group Eastern Africa.

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In 2002 immediately after launching on the big stage, Kleptomaniax became the darling of young people by winning the Chaguo la Teeneez Award for 2002 and 2003. They went on to win Best Group at the Kisima Music Awards in 2005.

The trio would receive another nomination for Best African Album (M4E) at the Tanzania Music Awards in 2006.

It was at this stage when they first went silent as a group with rumours of a split flying all over. They would go on a USA tour in 2007 and would diffuse the rumours with a 2008 comeback with NITT album that saw them nominated for Pearl of Africa Music Awards as Best Kenyan Group as well as Kisima Awards for Best Video for the song Magnetic. Then they would go silent again as a group, this time for good.

Nyashinski solo music career

Apart from Collo who launched a solo career immediately, Nyashinski and Roba appeared keen to explore other paths. Nyashinski would head to the USA where he said he once worked as a truck driver.

As they say, east or west home is best: after almost eight years in the USA, Nyashinski would come back in 2016 to his first love – music. And he made his comeback known in style, with the release of a club banger Now You Know, that also became a hit on the radio waves. He had also transformed from a rapper to a singer, and did it phenomenally.

Since then, he hasn’t stopped, producing hit after hit. He has produced solo projects as well as collaborations with both local and international acts. He was on record campaigning for promotional companies to stop giving Kenyan musicians only curtain raising opportunities while giving all the glory to Nigerian, Jamaican and Tanzanian artists. Many argue this campaign has helped Kenyan artists cement their importance in the music ecosystem.

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Nyashinski wife and children

Musician Nyashinski has made his private life private. Yet like any person in the public limelight, this is a difficult thing to do. We now know he had a kid in the USA and flies there at times to check on him.

Nyashinski is currently married to Zia Bett Nyamari who he met in 2017 when she was a student at Daystar University. She is currently a fashion designer with Zia Collection. The two had a private traditional wedding in late 2019 and a white wedding in December 2021 at Nairobi Chapel. They welcomed their first child together in March 2020.

zia bett nyamari and nyashinski
Nyashinski and wife Zia. Image/Courtesy

Nyashinski top songs

It is difficult not to love Nyashinski’s music. He is among the few pioneers of Kenyan hip hop that has remained active and on top of his game despite stiff competition from newcomers and new music styles such as Gengetone. His songs and collaborations include:

  1. Properly by Nyashinski ft Femi One, and written by Cedric “CEDO” Kadenyi
  2. Free by Nyashinski
  3. Malaika by Nyashinski
  4. Hapo Tu by Nyashinski ft Chris Kaiga
  5. Now You Know by Nyashinski

Nyashinski has also recently collaborated with top acts such as Sauti Sol, and has featured in the famous Coke Studio Africa performances. He is rated the top most streamed Kenyan artist on Spotify in 2021 and early 2022.

Nyashinski net worth

Like most African musicians, it is difficult to know Nyashinski’s net worth. However, he is among Kenyan artists that can comfortably by in the millionaire’s club owing to his successful comeback solo careers.