Benezeri has decided to retire or rather hopefully take a hiatus from the UG hip-hop scene, the material Benezeri has released over the 5 years he has been rapping clearly sets him apart as the most hardworking new school rapper, 3 albums, 3 concerts, over 50 songs released and over 10 music videos. The team here would also like to wish Benezeri success on his next journey and hope he can keep contributing to UG hip-hop in so many other capacities until he finally decides to break the hiatus, check out his letter below.
4th April 2017
Thanks for the memories
In 2012, as an 18 year old Year 13 student of Vienna college, I finally realized my dream of listening to my first single, ‘Girls From Kampala’ (Prod. by JT at Yego) play on radio. I’d requested for it unwaveringly on Facebook and finally it played on the TXR show, hosted at the time, if my memory serves me right, by Big Tril and Cynthia. We had just gotten to the dorm from prep when I heard it play. I literally run across the pitch and back screaming, telling everybody I met that my song was playing on the radio. I called Rudende, my cousin, and thanked him profusely because he is the one I had handed the song to, and I didn’t know whether it would fit the radio’s standards. A few weeks later, ‘Uncle’ Paul Bakibinga, a close friend and former classmate of my father’s (and therefore a close family friend of ours growing up), played the song on his BBC show, Focus on Africa. I received a call from my father in the middle of that day to inform me that Jaja Akiiki (the mother of my mother) had called them saying she had heard them talk about me on BBC that morning. I could hardly believe it but he encouraged me to listen to the replay of the show later in the day and sure enough the song had been premiered on BBC. That same term, thanks to the editor, Raphael Okello, and the interviewer Ronald Mayanja, I was granted my first interview, covering three pages of New Vision’s Swagg magazine, including the entire front page.
These events were a culmination of a journey that had began 5 years earlier in s2 at Aga Khan high School. I was writing rhymes at the back of my school books in class, rapping with friends before and after soccer games at the football pitch, battling contenders on the basketball court. In 2010, when I joined s4 at St. Mary’s School, Kitende, the dream began to take shape. I started writing full songs in my rhyme book and performing for the thousands of students of the school. 2011, I joined Vienna college for A Level and that year I beat hundreds of MCs to win the Sprite rap challenge, a week before my 18th birthday. I began writing my first album and Girls From Kampala was the first single I released, in 2012, 5 years ago.
Now 5 years later, I’ve succumbed to a strong conviction to honorably bow out of the art that I’ve devoted the last 10 years of my life to. It definitely hasn’t been an easy decision to make but for the last 4 months it’s been heavy on my heart and this morning (3:11 am 4th April 2017) I once again failed to complete my night’s rest because of this conviction. Living in a foreign town, without a smartphone has allowed God to speak to me clearly in the silence. Once again, I’ve reached a crossroads in my life and He is pointing me into this direction.
I’ve given my all to the art. And that’s an understatement. I’ve made grave sacrifices. I’ve loved it faithfully. Putting it above everything. The love was unconditional. I expected nothing in return. It was just an outlet for me, meaning I put in more than I got back. All the money I ever got went into music. A hundred or so million has been sunk in this music project. In five years, I’ve put out three albums, held three concerts, released over 50 songs, over 10 music videos. I believe time has come for me to move to the next chapter of my life. I believe in doing one thing well. I never want to do two things halfheartedly. I’m leaving because I don’t want to be a mediocre rapper/ artiste. It’s either excellence or nothing, and yet the road ahead in this industry looks like one of deeper sacrifices.
Some of you have been my fans, some of you have produced my songs, shot my videos, sponsored my shows, some of you have managed me, some have advised and encouraged me, some have spread my music, some of you have listened to, and read, my concert pitches, some of you have played and broadcasted and published my songs and reviews and articles to the masses, while others have asked (some even paid) me to perform, some of you have nominated me for awards, some of you have handed me your awards and certificates, some of you are musicians that have accepted to collaborate with me and perform with me. To each one of you, I’m grateful beyond words. I’ve built special relationships that have changed my life. My close friends, I’m grateful to you all. In particular, I’d like to thank Izaya and Achille, who have tried to discourage me from this decision in phone conversations over the months. It breaks my heart to have to go with my gut this time.
Finally I’d like to thank my parents and siblings who have supported me morally every step of the way. You’ve attended all my shows, listened to my dreams and closed your eyes and ears to the unkind world concerning the life I chose. Mummy, you were my biggest fan, you spread my songs to all your friends and congratulated me upon each song and video. Your best songs were Ndiwabulijjo, Mama, Abeyo and so many others. Daddy, you let me be. You invited me to perform at your book launch. You cancelled flights to attend my shows and when you travelled you showed my videos to your friends. I know you particularly liked Togwamu Suubi and Zuukuka. As the first born of my family, I believe that every decision I make impacts other people. I’ve put in my all into this music career of mine. Onto the next chapter now.
I can’t say, I’ve achieved everything there was to achieve from this, far from it. However, I feel strongly that God is calling me elsewhere.
Maybe, just maybe, one day, 5 years from now, I’ll feel strongly convicted to comeback. I’d be 27 like Jay Z when he released his first album. I leave that to God Almighty.
Till then, I remain
Benezeri Wanjala Chibita