Hip hop year opens at Cityville

07:13 by Kaggwa Andrew

“It has always been hard standing out as a rapper; it is generally because fans generalised many as rich spoilt kids,” Navio told Channel O in 2011.
And anyone curious about how hip hop has held its own, achieving the upper hand as Uganda’s most exported music, can bypass but not underestimate the power of gatherings such as JT and Ruyonga’s Yego Night.
The rap cocktail is a celebration of hip hop with a rather simple concept; a minimalist stage with a DJ, band and relatively few lights.
It is one of those nights where a string of underground rappers get a chance to spit like there is no tomorrow. Last Wednesday, Cityville carwash in Bukoto came to life as this year’s first Yego night took shape.
Unlike the previous four nights where organisers dashed for rap’s big names such as Navio, GNL and Keko, this time round they toned it down with Tusker Project Fame finalist Sitenda, Patrobas, Bananzeri, DJ Twonjex, Rabadaba and the duo of Abramz and Sylvester.
Guests were sipping on different alcoholic beverages and chicken, but they were not your average revellers; they were majorly corporate couples that truly love their music, a few whites, as well as rappers such as The Mith, Enygma and Slim Emcee.
At around 8:05pm, the blasts of light rays and sound signalled the arrival of Sitenda. She opened with a free style featuring one rapper I was seeing for the first time. It was shocking that they were indeed free styling because it sounded pretty arranged to pass for a collabo.
She was then joined by Moze the beat boxer; this dude can create any sound with his lips. With Sitenda’s guitar, the beat boxer helped Sitenda create an acoustic rap melody for her debut neo-soul single Ela. The song easily settles in her potential as a vocalist and she easily transcends into those artistic notes we didn’t see her do on the talent show.
She was followed by a string of rappers, though it was strangely Rabadaba that set the house on fire with hits such as Okimansuza, Mukyamu, Tonsobola, Love Potion and his latest, Dine and Wine.
The thing about Yego night is that it has always brought to the fore originality and the lyrical power that rap is. However, we can barely say the same about last Wednesday.
Some rappers were simply a stereotype of the American type of rap ruined by guns, sex and drugs culture. I don’t understand why a local rapper would sing about guns, referring to us as ‘my N**gas’ or even calling girls b**ches. Just distasteful.
The problem with many local rappers is that they live in their heads; they believe they will be better than Kanye or Jay-Z overnight, and thus for them, their arena is not Uganda but America. They compose lyrics that seem to approach a particular Nicki Minaj fan rather than a GNL one.
However, after many performances that lacked an identity of either Africa or America, the night was rejuvenated by Sylvester and Abramz with Akaseera, Mulyamamba, Kyendi Kyendi and Mukkuse, among others.
Ruyonga and Bananzeri was the last duo called out by the night’s MC Daniel Omara. They were the only ones that utilised the imaginative skill of DJ Twonjex and a live band, opening with Kendrick Lamar’s rhapsody, Don’t Kill My Vibe.
It was one hell of freestyle before later climaxing with Ija Nkutware and their latest, Zukuka.

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