Is Ugandan Christian Hip Hop Getting Attention From The Media Outlets? The Artists Speak Out
Hip Hop world over is one of the biggest genres, but that cannot be said of in the Ugandan Christian Hop Hop fraternity. The media outlets have their own views saying the music is not yet to industry standards among other issues, we were in touch with some of Uganda’s top Christian Hip Hop artistes who shared their views on this recently high controversial topic.
We asked them THE GREAT QUESTION;
Do you think that Gospel HipHop music here in Uganda receives enough attention from the media specifically radio and if not, why?
This is what they have to say…
Ruyonga, from a very experienced point of view says…
No it does not, they don’t feel it’s melodic enough, they don’t feel it’s soft enough. Christian Hip hop artistes need to recognize that and be more aggressive on finding other avenues, a way of getting the word out, because radio is all about that, getting the word out. If you find a way of getting the word out there without using radio, radio will take notice. They actually will.
If you want to go through radio you have to abide, you have to figure out a way. For us to be able to put out #1hunid, we had to put out “Pesa”, “Tutuuse” etc…you first get to their ear, give them something they will play, then bring them something you would play. Otherwise, they should just find other avenues like Facebook, soundcloud…that is honestly if the Christian Hip Hop artistes have a problem with not getting airplay on radio. They wouldn’t care anymore if they were still getting word out to their fans, because that is what they need radio for. So just be honest with yourself and what you want.
On whether the genre itself is marginalized;
The genre itself is kind of marginalized because it doesn’t take itself seriously enough…you can’t marginalize someone who takes themselves seriously, it’s just hard.
For example some of the unpopular genres became successful because they internalized; they went inside and started building from inside out, the Kendrick Lamar’s weren’t being showed love, they created a situation. At some point even the Lecrae’s weren’t getting love, he had to create those opportunities. There was a time when the black sheep of Gospel was definitely rap, that is not going to change because Lecrae got a Grammy.
You have to create an opportunity to be taken seriously and that starts with ourselves if we move different, if we move in a way that’s is respectable. If a guy with a very nice shoe passes by and another with sandals, you are going to notice the guy’s nice shoe. You just need to know how to step.
Brian Wade speaks from a disappointed position…
It doesn’t receive enough airplay, the media doesn’t play our own! They only play foreign music and yet those foreign countries don’t play our music in their countries.
Also some people in the media think they drive the industry, so they decide on what should be played, for example: at PowerFM Becky loves a lot of Zambian music, that’s why she wants people to love it. So they over play that and that’s not our own, The media is Just betraying us.
Hip hop as a genre can make more artistes but boys are scared of this corrupt media that despises Hip hop or rap artistes. They have a mentality that rap isn’t their thing, but you find them celebrating foreign artistes of which those artistes don’t even know. What are those media houses basing from? Why do you play Pompi here when your very own music doesn’t play in Zambia? Got more to say about that, but for now… am just tired of some radio stations…
Amon Crucial thinks the issue is with the artistes…
First of all, allow me to say thank you so much for the work you do for the Kingdom! I seriously salute you… my answer is NO because of the following;
1. God first – my fellow Rappers, I can assure you, hardly find time for God but am sure they are busy for God, they are simply artistes yet they forget they are not just artistes, they’re ministers. They are church hoppers and this affects all things.
2. Anointing – many brethren are in the “game” because they think they know how to play it. they can flow so well, nice punch lines, all that stuff even nice beats but the anointing, waaa. It is one thing to do a song and it touches people’s souls and then singing a “nice” song just for the occasion.
3. Faking it/not original– all the rappers sound the same, few have been able to stand out.
4. shallow/confused/don’t know who they represent this explains why some gospel rappers have dropped out and some have started secular music promotions. (Am sure you know them)
5. Society – the society of Uganda, is local…so Hip-hop is new to them, to beat all odds, we just need to get deeper in God and write deep lyrics that will change a hip-hop song to a praise/worship song! I conclude by saying… UNLESS THEY STOP ACTING THEIR CHRISTIANITY, AND THE SEEK GOD FIRST, music will keep “trying”. I hope I didn’t go off topic. Otherwise, thank you. RESPECT.
Benjamin Prince still thinks the’re a few nuts and bolts to fix…
1. The idea of talent managers is still a dream to gospel music. Artistes can’t fund both promotion and good production.
2. Media needs to deliberately decide to give these artistes both airplay and on stage to expose them to opportunities for growth. In this regard, Power FM must adjust its policy in favor of hip-hop artistes. The challenges of hip-hop artistes and all gospel artistes are quite obvious. Media holds the final say to our fate…now!
Josh SB, a producer/artist thinks there are some key points to be noted…
Personally I still feel Gospel Hip-hop music is not yet well received by the media houses but I wouldn’t put the blame on the stations. The issue here is the listeners themselves.
Stations exist to please the listeners and that’s how they’re able to attract traffic and be able to make money. So the main issue is the fact that UGANDANS generally don’t have a huge taste for hip-hop music, 90% enjoy the African groove popularly known as AFRO BEAT. So if the radio stations are going to attract the audience they also have no choice but to play the music the audience wants to listen to. I for one know most of the deejays n radio hosts LOVE the music we (hip hopers) are releasing today and they try their best to sneak it into their mix sessions and radio shows but the need to give the audience what it wants always causes them to play a lot more of OTHER genres than hip-hop.
Secondly, Christian hip-hop artistes are not yet united enough to create a force/following that can help them breakthrough. Union is the greatest weapon in any field. Afro beat artistes are united and always release a lot of material and back each other and help push each other through collaborations, concerts and they take every opportunity they get to show up and minister however big or small the event is.
It’s at such events where radio personalities get to spot and appreciate talent so that if they actually like what they hear they can confidently sell the artist to the listeners but unfortunately hip-hopers hardly organize or show up at events and all we do is just sit and wait for our music to played on radio. Doesn’t ALWAYS work that way.
That’s a weapon that gospel rappers have not yet picked up and it’s one of the biggest weapons we could use in the kingdom as hip-hopers. We lack a UNITED FORCE that can help stamp and push our music OUT THERE. If the fans OUT THERE love the music first, it’s easy for the radio hosts to play it because they know the listeners will receive it.
Thirdly I think our quality and authenticity in hip-hop music is generally not yet there. I know so many extremely talented hip-hop musicians but their music is still not yet packaged very well in terms of production, mixing & mastering, branding, and performance skills. All these aspects affect how the audience will receive your music other than just airplay. Hip-hop artists are still lacking in that aspect considering the fact that most of them are either at campus or just got done with campus but have no income source to help package their music professionally.
Having in mind the issues I have raised above, hip-hop artistes need to know that we have to create a united force where we help each other to prepare and produce quality music, learn more about how the industry works, push our own music, organize concerts and tours and generally create a FOLLOWING that understands the language we speak and that way everyone else will join and start to appreciate Gospel hip-hop and hopefully create more opportunities for gospel hiphopers to reach out through various media like radio, TV, print and web.
Sonny Soweez, a female MC has little but insightful thoughts…
If i am to compare the airplay of Gospel hip hop on the local radio stations lately from way back…It has improved so much and in my opinion, Ugandans are starting to appreciate the art of hip hop as a genre.
Javie, a producer/artiste/radio host thinks it’s time to go back to the basics…
Go back to the foundation which is CHRIST. There’s no content in the so called “Christian hip-hop music” at all. Too much entertainment beyond ministry, it’s like dope beats come first then lyrics and yet it should be the other way round. We need to understand the word because if we do, all that will follow is the righteous of God will have no choice but to manifest (favor, connections, provision, wisdom, etc). The spirit of wisdom will enable you to discern times, you will be in the right place with the right people at the right time, and this includes knowing and where to find the right managers, promoters, label owners and the like. It’s not rocket science, it’s simply going back to the basics which is the cross. Servants of the most high shouldn’t struggle and if all things belong to us, all we need to do is tap into that anointing that has no measure. If a rapper is not ready to stop relying on his own wisdom which is foolishness to God and stop being pleasers of men, he/she will never see victory.
Lyll Mykk thinks the problems can be resolved…
Am not going to give causes. Am going to suggest solutions. (that means his answer is ‘no’ to our question)
If you have been observant, almost 9 out 10 posters advertising local gospel shows and concerts in Uganda don’t give an appearance for a holy hip hop rapper. Our fellow artistes think our genre is mediocre and has no followership so we don’t deserve to play at their events.
Almost every rapper I know shares, posts. Retweets and supports all events, song updates. etc from artistes doing other genres. When it comes to a rapper releasing a new song in a concert like the hip-hop alive at mega mix these other artistes didn’t show up to show their support and they don’t even share developmental projects by rappers on their walls.
I have personally approached some artistes for collaboration opportunities for the sake of vetting hip hop behind the doors of lovers of the other genres and most doors have remained shut at my face.
It’s not about the Christian media not playing Jesus hip hop. I believe it’s about other artistes doing other genres to give rap music a support and a push. The rappers are doing good music. Studio production is excellent. Packaging is on point. All we need is support from our brothers.
Lagum producer/artiste (formally lyriczz) thinks there is still more work needed…
Well…I think it’s relatively easy for us to get our music on these gospel stations. So we certainly do get quite a bit of airplay. With that being said, The radio stations need to satisfy their listeners. “Supply and Demand.” If there is no demand for it, then why supply? I think we should create that demand by making high quality hip-hop music.
Ernest Rush thinks it’s time to explore other avenues…
To be honest, I don’t know much about that, and neither am I on anyone’s side. But if they don’t play the music, then the radio stations have their reasons to, it could be a negative reason, or an affirmative one. But all in all I don’t see a reason why a radio station wouldn’t play a drop dead hot Ugandan track, unless, they have a bad history with the artiste, or beef just. Am not sure to be honest. am an artist too, and trust me, I don’t really mind a lot about that, because I know if my music is up to par, they will play it, if it ain’t, I wouldn’t play it too.
Maybe am too busy chasing some other ambitions, but the radio stations got to support our industry man, you know what am saying. Either way, the artistes should find a way to promote themselves if the radios fail to play their songs. I hear of YouTube, never used before, but looks pretty awesome, some good branding, videos, pictures, and music all together trust me, no one wouldn’t want to check out their music if all the above are at most perfect.
With that said…the Hip-Hop genre is on the verge of either greatness or drop out.
So, that’s it from some of the artistes. Feel free to share your thoughts…