Bongo flava is the nickname for Tanzanian hip hop music. The genre developed in the 1990s, mainly as a derivative of American hip hop, with additional influences from reggae, R&B, afrobeat, dancehall, and traditional Tanzanian styles such as taarab and dansi, a combination that forms a unique style of music. Lyrics are usually in Swahili or English.
The name “bongo flava” is a corruption of “bongo flavour”, where “bongo” is the plural form of the Swahili word ubongo, meaning “brain”, and is a common nickname used to refer to Dar es Salaam, the city where the genre originated. In the bongo flava, the metaphor of “brains” may additionally refer to the cunning and street smarts of the mselah.