Stella Mwangi — easily the leading Norwegian hip-hop artist of Kenyan descent — features in the high-octane remix of “Obe Baba”. Once again sister slays! The song, penned and performed by Kenyan artist Rajiv Raj Rajville, builds on the phrase “Obe Baba”, which means “Oh my!” in the Kisii language. (The Kisii are a community of Bantu people who inhabit the counties of Kisii and Nyamira in Western Kenya, obviously).
Amid finger snaps and electro accents, Stella raps with fluency and commands all y’all to get up off your ass: “Wake up baby, this is a wake up call, stand up no matter how many times you fall, get up, the view’s too nice.” She then talks about smoking something. For his part, Raj offers Stella some love: “Come to my crib, let me show you banana…take you to my crib and I’m giving you banana.” Well, we all need potassium — Stella included!
“Obe Baba” is the latest in a steady stream of music that Stella — a.k.a. “The S.T.L.” — has released since singing at Eurovision in 2011. From “Biashara” to “Bouncer Raeva”, you can’t slow this lady down.
Obe Baba Remix Ft. Stella Mwangi
Why Stella Mwangi matters
For folks living outside of Norway, the country conjures up images of well-to-do white people eating smoked fish and living large off state oil funds. But amid the sea of blonds that color foreign conceptions of the country live Sikhs and Vietnamese, Pakistanis and Poles, and a thriving community of African immigrants. Back in 2011 Kenyan-born Stella Mwangi won the right to sing at Eurovision — and reminded us that Norwegians come in many shades beyond white.
Stella saw Eurovision as much more than a vehicle to celebrity. The daughter of political refugees who dared to challenge Kenya’s President Moi in the 1980s, she sobbed hysterically at the national final as the votes rolled in from all those pasty Norwegians. “It’s like I’d had this baby inside my stomach. And then when I saw all the votes I realized it’s finally happening… I had to cry, and I couldn’t stop it,” she told me in an interview at the time. “There were days when if you were Norwegian you had to look like this or talk like this. Norway proved those days are over.”