Meet Nakuru’s Finest Emcee, Veryl Mkali Wao: “I am the Queen of Hip hop in Kenya”

March 20, 2023

Veryl, a Nakuru City native, is a budding rapper who began her artistic journey in 2014. She dropped her debut album in 2020 – Shadow of Death, which is a social satire on the dark side of a female emcee in Kenya and all the obstacles women face daily.

She spoke to Pulse Magazine:

What inspired you to do rap music?

My brother Iby Sean introduced me to a recording studio in Nakuru when I was little, and I have been in love with the studio ever since. I was initially motivated by Ukoo Fulani Maumau Camp. I (loved) rap music as a result of this impact. However, I am not restricted or limited to it. My goal is to create excellent and motivational music.

What would you say was your earliest memory of hip-hop?

I have been following and watching rap videos since time immemorial as well as watching rap shows. I also liked listening to the likes of E-sir.

Let us in on your creative process.

This starts with an idea or an inspiration that normally stems from my daily encounters. Then in some scenarios, the beat or the lyrics come first. If the beat comes first, I usually inform my producer Edd the Beatsmith or Level Next to come up with a tune. I then have a vibing/jamming session, which is combined with the writing session. After the writing then the recording is done last. If I am in collaboration and especially on my project, then I need to vibe with the guest artiste so that we can have that chemistry on the track.

In your album ‘Shadow of Death’, you talk about the challenges femcees go through…

The inspiration for Shadow of Death came about from me just trying to tell my stories and my experiences as a female artiste trying to make it in this world. I am also working on an EP, but I cannot disclose more. Some of the major challenges include sexual harassment, in the sense that a majority of men are only interested in your body and not your skills. Other times it is financial constraints due to various obligations. Another challenge is balancing motherhood and a demanding career.

You are one of the few consistent femcees. What has kept you going?

My incredible support system that consists of my family and friends. My crew, which goes by the name, Eleven Eighty Three (1183) has also been supportive.

What would you tell upcoming femcees?

I would tell the young ones to be themselves and be bold about it. I will quote the Legendary KRS, when he said, “Do you Man if that Works”. So just be yourself because that is the most real thing you can do.

What have you achieved so far? 

I have managed to get in the good books of showbiz. Some of my achievements include being nominated as Breakthrough Artiste of the Year (2021), being nominated as the New Artiste of the Year in the Pulse Music Video Awards (2022); winning E-sq Battle Rap Queens( 2019) and winning the Hip Hop Garage Battle Rap. I was among the Tusker Nexters Finalists (2022) and also became the 1st Runner-up Nairobi Festival (2022)

Being named amongst the Tusker nexters finalists is so far my favourite achievement because I achieved so much in such a short time. My biggest highlight was doing a song with Mejja, who I admire. The song is called Dala Wa featuring another Talented singer called Kamwana.

Quick fire:

Khali or Octo?

Khali of course.

What is your topmost kept secret?

It won’t be a secret if I tell you.

The most overrated rapper?

Any Gengetone rapper you know.

Who is your biggest competitor?

I compete with no one. Everyone knows I am the queen of hip hop in Kenya.

What rumour about you would you like to set straight?

People think I sit on a high horse, but I am a down to Earth lady.

Dating, married or single?

Dating. I am seeing a special someone.

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