By Byaruhanga Felix (@TheNinjaFelix)
If you’ve clicked that link don’t see your name or your favorite new skool rapper’s name below, don’t catch feelings, just share your thoughts with us via twitter @TheNinjaFelix or @TheTribe_UG. For ease of coming up with the list and reducing arguments we had while creating the list we divided UG hip-hop into two eras that’s before the Klear Kut (old skool)and the post Klear Kut era that’s after their break through. I chose the post Klear Kut era to be as the start of the new skool rapper’s era in UG hip-hop for a bunch of reasons and that’s a whole other article for some day. But don’t get me wrong I’m not using Klear Kut as the standard comparison for new skool rappers. So let’s move on to the criteria we used to come up with the names of the new skool rappers who made a killing this year; we considered lyrical ability, consistency, quality, originality, packaging, complete projects and one’s potential to be bigger brand.
After the shut it down remix we were all waiting for CODE’s follow up after the entire star studded remix but CODE went ahead to prove us that he had bigger projects than the remix. He started a Revolution with his #CODEConnect platform that not only gave him a way of interacting with fans but also birthed ideas to keep him relevant. He followed up his conscious “revolution” track with Enter The Ring. With enter the ring that was CODE showing his own lane and has broken barriers on different stations and the web.
When they talk about Tucker this year the first thing to come to your mind this year is #TuckerTuesdays. With#TuckerTuesdays the Airportaxi co-pilot has stayed relevant, interacted with his listeners while maintaining his lyrical muscle which has seen him garnering respect from different people as one of the best lyricists among the new skool rappers. And without Talent Africa projects he has stayed consistent and ahead of his fellow rappers.
One mixtape, two albums and two concerts Benezeri shows that hard work pays off and you don’t have to attain a stadium status to have a concert but rather know your target fans. Benezeri has managed to carry a message through his songs while at the same time he entertains his audience through songs like Zukukuka, Blest and others thus creating an impact on the youths of the country that listen to his music. One might argue that Benezeri deserved a much higher spot on the list but presentation of his product still needs polishing.
St.NellySade & Banamutibwa
2014 saw these two lugaflow army rappers releasing visuals for their projects like letter to Babaluku by Banamutibwa, Blessed Cypher, & Nina plan by St. Nellysade. Both St.Nellysade & Banamutibwa didn’t release any ground-breaking projects this year but we can’t over-look their efforts in organizing the End of the Weak world champions that happened recently in Uganda. They created a platform for young and upcoming rappers and there’s nothing more satisfying like providing a platform for one to achieve his/her dreams/goals. Furthermore you can’t speak about St.Nellysade’s 2014 without talking about his appearance on the UG Cypher one of the major projects that brought together the rap heavy-weights in the country which proves his relevancy and dominance in the Ugandan rap industry. St.Nellysade is the current president of End of the weak Uganda taking over from his fellow Lugaflow army rapper Banamutibwa.
He is the other half of ‘House Ov Stone’ which is a combination of him and his elder brother who is a hip-hop producer. Play 01 has been a producer on one of the major projects this year on which he also happens to feature like the Blessed cypher in early January which he also edited the video for, his ‘Bad Manners’ track and of recent the ‘Blessed Cypher’ on to which he sampled Star wars theme song, blessed it with a verse and delivered a super hero themed track with assistance of his fellow rappers.
Patrobas is not on the list because of “256” though some of you have caught up with the track this year just because the video was released this but the track dates back to the July of 2013. But through his Dustiville umbrella Patrobas has stayed consistent with releasing tracks this year such as ‘talk around town, falling in line. He even went on to feature on one of the best hip-hop albums this year (Mith’s Destination:AFRICA) alongside other rap giants in the country.
Yes, Gravity Omutujju, you may not agree with his idea/sound of hip-hop but yeah he has contributed to the growth of the hip-hop industry. He has moved the genre on to the streets and to the common people in downtown markets which has helped to break a barrier for the hip-hop market. He has had more shows than most rappers in addition to his concert. If you have a product to sell that touches the common people in downtown streets and “boda-boda” cyclists then Gravity Omutujju is the guy to use to push the product. His lyrics resonate with the downtown people who make him relevant and his been consistent ever since “swagazilla”.
The first time I saw Nemesis it was back in 2013 at urban TV when Kyle had invited me to the shoot of one of his TV show episodes. It was also the first time I heard him rhyme/freestyle and as Kyle was closing the show I asked him what criteria he was using to choose people who freestyle on his show cause Nemesis was better than the other rappers that had appeared on the show that day. Fast forward to 2014 Nemesis signs with Baboon Forest and he has appeared on one of the major tracks out of the camp this year and of course we can’t forget his battle with Ruyonga.