EXCLUSIVE: A Chat With The Homie, Life After MTN Rap Battles, Debut EP & UG Hip-Hop.
One of the things the UG Hip-Hop Awards do is introduce new acts to the Ugandan audience. This year it was beyond the usual as they tied in the MTN Pulse Rap Battles which added flavor and also brough new rappers to the fore front. One of the acts that stood out was The Homie as he obliterated his opponents line for line, bar for bar. That night he was the crowd’s favorite however he didn’t emerge the winner of the MTN Pulse Rap Battles. He came in a close third and bagged UGX. 5M. Like most musical oriented competitions, the winners tend to disappear after they have secured the prize, but not The Homie. Since the battles ended he has put out a single “Say Goodbye” and an EP dropping on Sunday 19th July. So, as we wait for the EP we decided to catch up with the rapper to understand how the journey has been thus far, challenges and ofcourse his top 5 Ugandan rappers. Have a good read!
What’s good Homie?! Thanks for doing this. How have you been surviving the lockdown, maintaining creativity and all that?
Man it’s a pleasure, well ofcourse everyone dreads the current situation but im a glass half full type of guy , so Ive been using the free time to create as much as I can and do research on my peers, I’ve probably listened to the entire catalogue of people I consider inspirations and competition, and to cap it all of I wrote and recorded my six track debut EP, East African Boy.
Let’s dive into it, let’s talk about the MTN Pulse Rap Battles [MPRB], how was your experience on that competition and has it moulded you in anyway in any way?!
The MPRB was an experience of a lifetime, I met so many talented artists, so many!! I always believed I could rap but now I had to prove it and be judged by people I considered idols, I have never been so excited about anything ever, I finally had the platform that I was desperately looking for, before hand I always told my bro and the people at home, “I swear if I get to spit a 16 for Nav, he’ll sign me man I swear”, if only it was that easy.
Away from that I got to see that to be as established as the artists I looked up to, you had to put in work because for every episode I had to have like 3-4 of my hardest verses memorised and sometimes we would shoot two episodes in one day, and then there is freestyle which I had never done in my life, I’m a punchline guy and I would want every bar to be structured perfectly infact the first time I ever freestyled was on the show, yet among my competition everyone was freestyling like it ain’t even a thing but since there was money and a career on the line I pushed myself and after the competition I could bust out a verse in less than 10 mins or freestyle immediately when called on because of the preparation that I had to do for the show.
I think the rap battles were a perfect platform for me caused I have always fed off competition and I’m like the biggest fan of battle rap, although I think the highlight of the whole MPRB is the finals at the Hip-Hop Awards , being backstage with real artists and then performing in a room full of UG Hip-Hop elites and having the crowd go wild, that’s by far the greatest night of my life. Just the comfort of knowing, yo this shit is possible, excuse my French, was a dream come true in itself, and ofcourse it has moulded my work ethic and drive to push further regardless of the competition
How has the journey been since the MPRB to now?!
The journey has been amazing, I got some ka money from the competition, I finally got my name out there and people want to work with me now. Furthermore my family and friends now believe in me and take it abit more serious when I say I’m going to be an artist full time, and Iv,e been working on alot of music, and the future looks bright from where I’m standing.
From your view currently how’s the UG Hip-Hop game looking like to you right now as a freshman?! Tell us the good, the bad and ugly of it and how you would want it to change?!
The good is that there is alot of good music being put out and also there are significantly more hip-hop acts compared to a few years ago, so there is some competition, in addition to that the hip-hop fraternity are starting to create their own platforms, for example the Hip-Hop Awards or the MPRB and that’s encouraging cause it showcases alot of new content.
The bad is I think we can do better, and actually be a notable mention in Africa hip-hop scene, I mean BigTril made a song that should be an example to every rapper out here that you can take your music go the entire distance.
The ugly is I think there’s alot of hate from some rappers who use conventional hip-hop beats and those that rap on afrobeats but I think if we are to move forward we have to work together, after all to each his own and would you blame an artist for trying to reach his/her target audience
I wouldn’t change anything I would just want us to build more structures for rappers, like how the DJs have their whole association, I believe if such a thing was put together for the hip-hop community, it would be a step in the right direction.
Let’s talk about your E.P, what’s the story behind it?!
East African Boy, this EP is basically a celebration of the good things that have been happening in my life. I’m at a place where I can finally work on my music and I have wanted that for a long time, so as I was gathering concepts for the EP and I was telling my cousin how I’m gonna release the hardest body of work, he said something that stuck out to me, “lots of people can rap, but can you make good music?” and that made so much sense to me, so after 5 months of going bar for bar in a competition I wanted to prove to myself that I can be versatile and I believe I did that with this project, and I was personally surprised how well it came together.
Century Vybz producer is a genius and we understand each other so well that when we are in studio it doesn’t take long before we have something recorded, P.S, I wrote 80% of the project in studio, as opposed to the overthinking that I usually do when I’m working on a song. I enjoyed myself on this one and I think the listeners will catch the same vibe. In these hard times I aimed to make a project that will make you feel good. I believe I grow everyday and this EP speaks to that, finally the name was inspired by who I am, a Rwandan who was born and mostly raised in Kampala, so when I’m in Rwanda I’m the guy who grew up in Uganda and in Uganda I’m the Rwandan guy so I kinda didn’t belong anywhere till I realised I could embrace them both and use the best out of each thus…EAboy.
What do you want the takeaway to be for anyone who listens to this project?!
I think that’s mostly up to the listener but I’ll say this, this EP should be a weighing scale for my abilities as an artist and that doing you and following your own direction is the way to go because after all it is your art, you are the artist
You know before you leave I’ve to ask for your Top 5 UG hip-hop acts, drop them!