Issah Mmari Wangui (May 20, 1981 – March 16, 2003), better known by his stage name E-Sir, was a Kenyan hip hop artiste. He was the elder brother to fellow Kenyan rapper Habib.
He was famous for his deft lyrical ability and command of the Swahili language. The phenomenal popularity of his music disproved the myth that Kenyan music could never compete with imported pop.
Even long after his death, he is still widely regarded as one of the best rappers to emerge on the Kenyan hip hop scene.
Issah “E-Sir” Mmari was born in California Estate, and raised in South C estate Nairobi, Kenya. He first came to be known in 2001 with his song ‘Jo‘, done in the same style as Black Rob’s ‘Whoa’. The song was E-Sir’s major hit in the Kenyan music scene and was featured on the Ogopa DJs debut album. He went on to release his debut album Nimefika in 2003 which was a big hit, with virtually all the album tracks becoming radio singles in their own right. E-Sir won in four categories in the 2003 Kisima Music Awards. Hits included ‘Mos Mos‘, ‘Boomba Train‘, ‘Hamunitishi’ and ‘Leo ni Leo’. He also recorded ‘Bamba’ featuring Big Pin & The late K-rupt.
The latter also died in tragic carjacking incident the same year.E-Sir is widely regarded as the best music talent to emerge out of Kenya. He is still loved even after his death and his music is still commonplace in Nairobi’s entertainment scene.
E-sir’s younger brother Habib is also an established rapper in the Kenyan music industry. He has couple of singles to his name, some of them with his partner Manga, who is his cousin. Their hit single ‘Fever’ topped charts in many local Kenyan radio stations.
E-Sir died in a road accident on March 16, 2003, while in the company of fellow label mate Nameless (real name David Mathenge). He was on his way back from a concert in Afraha stadium Nakuru town to help promote his album. His death created shock and grief particularly as it came when his career was taking off. His collaboration with Nameless titled ‘Maisha’ was released posthumously and was also a hit.
Album 2003: Nimefika Track listing of album released under Ogopa DJs:
- Jobless corner 1 (Skit)
- Kamata(Ft. Mr. Lenny)
- Moss Moss(Ft. Brenda)
- Jobless Corner 2 (skit)
- Lyrical tongue twister
- Boomba Train(Ft. Nameless)
- Leo ni Leo
- Nimefika ‘Jo’
- Kamaiko (skit)
E-sir Won 2003 Kisima Music Awards:
Song of the Year for ‘Boomba Train’
- Best Male & Hip hop Artist of the Year
- Best Album of the Year for Nimefika