By Byaruhanga Felix (@TheNinjafelix)

When they mention Babaluku the first thing that comes to your mind is The God-father of LugaFlow in Uganda which is right but when you sit to level with him one on one he is more than just a lugaflow rapper, he is a teacher and more than that to the Youths who have gone through his BAVUBUKA FOUNDATION. He approaches hip-hop in a different way from which it’s widely viewed in our country which is entertainment.

My mind does a rewind. I arrived at the Bavabuka Headquarter which is located in Namasuba in the afternoon. The place is a bit loud with calm Pan-African rap music playing in their lounge and people rehearsing in the other room. The place has a creative flowing African vibe about it with some of awards they have won up on the top cabinet of their library.

Some Of The Awards At Bavubuka HQ
Some Of The Awards At Bavubuka HQ

I was given a quick tour of the place by the Bavubuka coordinator Gilbert Daniels and a briefing of whatever goes on at the Bavabuka Foundation with all its sections (Bavubuka Allstarz, Bavubuka Sports and Bavubuka Dynasty). At this moment as the tour goes on Babaluku comes into the room while rapping along to the music playing while holding a bunch of books and he adds them to the library (a lot of learning goes on at the Bavabuka home). After the briefing with Gilbert the interview with Babaluku kicked off with my major interest being about the B-Global Indigenous Gatherings Of 2013.

QN: What’s up man? It’s dope to finally meet a legend in the game. First off let’s talk about the B-GLOBAL INDIGINEOUS GATHERINGS, that’s going to take place what does one have to do to be part of it and all the details of the event.

Thanks man, the five day event [B-GLOBAL] is the brain-child of celebrating a
decade of hip-hop in Uganda. When we were going to celebrate a decade last
year you know, we wanted to do uniquely very different than we ever done
before. There has never been a hip-hop festival in Uganda; there’s never been an
event that has ever gone for more than two days for hip-hop. So we wanted to do significantly something that will carry the greatness of saying that at ten years at a decade we did a 5day series of events that were in commemoration & celebrating the journey of growing indigenous hip-hop at in Uganda. So, we started B-GLOBAL Gatherings to open up space for Ugandans not to treat hip-hop as an entertainment platform but as an education based foundation.

So, we believe when we improve on the education and we invest in the demographic of youthful culture that are coming up we will get a new force that will be part of the hip-hop community to get into the circles and be influential. So that’s where education becomes key so we have to grow hip-hop from the angle of just being an emcee, a deejay or a b-boy to attaching ourselves to the relevant platforms that are growing in Uganda.

 I mean B-GLOBAL is literally in solidarity with all indigenous communities around the world. So what B-GLOBAL does for us, it keeps our voice on a global platform for all indigenous communities around the world to know there’s a voice of hip-hop in Uganda, it stands for the values of indigenous people of Uganda, it encourages and promotes all the moral values that comes with the indigenous expression. You know that’s why B-GLOBAL is one of the most authentic visions to ever hit hip-hop in Uganda. The Gatherings will take place at The HUB KAMPALA and they’ll free.

QN: Let’s discuss hip-hop in Uganda? What are your views on its current state since you’re one of the people that started it?

I have positive and negative about it but let me start with the positive views. Hip-hop now in Uganda is a success and a voice. People are starting to listen and we’re able to draw a significant difference with that kind of music. It has worked in the demographic of the young people who are marginalized to be able to have an opportunity now, to have a voice at the table. Not only that but hip-hop from the entrepreneurial perceptive has given young people unconventional methods of being able to find ways of employment to support other communities.

The Negative side of it is lack of education and information. You see because we’re an entertainment based culture it’s easy for us to gravitate from the joy and the happy moments. At the end of the day we forget to do research and learn about what we do in our specific fields. And of course there’s the colonial syndrome of not having an authentic approach or desire to resonate our own indigenous expression whether it’s languages or way
in which our stories.

QN: You’re known to criticize English rappers in Uganda, why?!

First and fore most because the content is irrelevant. If you’re in Uganda and
you’re rapping about Uganda why should you use metaphors that are from New
York? Why not use Ugandan English context of expression because we have our
own language and context of expression here.

 So, you know it’s not criticism it’s not doing the knowledge, it’s not doing the 5th element. If you’re an emcee from UG hip-hop requires you have to be original, so what’s your originality that’s what I would ask all the English rappers. So it’s not criticizing English rappers I careless if they rap in English or anything, my thing is that be relevant to your people. Don’t just sound like 50cent then drop a little Elly Wamala (R.I.P) then you say you represent Uganda.

QN: Why English rappers would you say are on the right track representing Uganda or are relevant like you put it.

The closest to it is Krukid (Ruyonga) and that’s because I have known him for a while I have seen his work while he was in America. There are some of his songs hat I understand that have been more of better songs about Uganda than a lot of rappers that are on the ground here.

And also Atlas he has a good attitude being a kid who is raised in Canada to
represent his country well both mentally and musically. You know when you have
a conversation with him about the context of hip-hop he could tell you a lot about originality.

Lyrical G too he has stayed true to the game from back in the day when I met him up to now. He showed up with 16bars in luganda for the first ever studio session I had with him.

Babaluku is one of the originators of Lugaflow and the top influential rappers in uganda (see full list here). Through his Bavubuka Foundation this year they have organized a five day hip-hop forum known as  the B-GLOBAL INDIGENOUS GATHERINGS that will be finalized with the hip-hop summit on the last day. There will be different guests like Heat Wave from Canada to grace the forum and our own Ugandan rappers (Atlas, GNL & Others). So, starting on the 22nd of December make your way to The Hub Kampala and celebrate Ugandan Hip-hop.


Contact the writer;

Twitter: @TheNinjafelix

Facebook: Byaruhanga Felix Felifed


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