INTERVIEW: The Tribe UG Chats with Naxa.
By The Count (@TheCountMarkula)
One of the best things about the music industry is the fact that it continues to grow. There is always a new artist coming up from one direction or the other. On episode two of The Tribe UG Podcast, we tried to throw some light on some of the young talented rappers that were putting in work and trying to shape and shake the industry in a number of ways. That list contained a number of names, including the young Christian creative, NAXA.
The Tribe UG was able to organize a chat with Naxa, where he was kind enough to share some insight into who he is and what fuels and drives him. He also let us in on some of the goals, dreams and plans that he has in store, as well as how he intends to achieve them. We started with the basics.
Who is Naxa?
I am a rapper! A hip-hop artist! A Christian creative.
I am also a Youth Pastor and a very big lover of music.
Why Music? Why Hip-Hop? Why Gospel?
I grew up listening to a lot of music! So much music, so many genres! I fell in love with music!
I gravitated toward HipHop because I feel like it is quite flexible. It allows me to fully express myself on a bigger canvas, whether I want to vent, to teach, to explain myself… It is the easiest way to tell my story.
I am born again, and by that fact, my story changes as it comes from someone with a different view of things. I found this relationship with Christ late in life, and I feel like telling my story through HipHop might reach someone who relates, which might inspire him or her in one way or another. I want my music to have an impact on people.
This was a nice look behind the scenes, but we had to turn up the heat. We conducted a quick survey and a number of music fans mentioned that their issue with “gospel” music was with the fact that the emphasis is often put on the message alone, but not enough on the actual quality of music. We asked Naxa what he thought about this.
It is not enough to have a good message! Presentation matters! It always does. We should always remember that it is music first, then HipHop, before we even add the word Gospel to it. The message itself is better appreciated and easier to receive when the execution is better. That is why I always strive to hold myself at a certain standard.
Adding the “gospel” to it should be a celebration of good work, not an excuse for mediocrity.
This probably explains why Naxa’s music keeps getting better. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing an artist grow and improve his craft. It is great to see them make moves that others might not be making.
Speaking of moves, we asked Naxa to let us in on the different ways in which his music is distributed.
I have a website, https://www.naxa.life, this is where I release and sell my music. The music is released exclusively on the site before it is available anywhere else. My loyal fans that have been with me from the jump are able to find and purchase it there at all times. I intend to have my merch available for purchase on the site as well soon. For now, the merch is available on the Instagram page @naxa_apparel. Back to the music, you can find my music on all streaming platforms. Recently, with the help of Skyline Media, I released a couple of MTN CallerTunez too.
The man clearly has a plan. On episode four of the podcast, Ninja-C mentioned that there is so much more you have to do after you create music today. So many moves you have to make in order to maximize its reach. Naxa was clearly listening! He is making the most of the platforms available and trying to take full advantage of them in order to cover as much ground as possible.
The conversation stayed on the subject of Reach; we often hear stories of artists coming up within churches, but many of them never make it beyond the walls of their establishment. One might say that artists in churches tend to be like DSTV advertising DSTV on DSTV, or in church terms, they are often a case of a pastor preaching to the choir. We asked Naxa what his view was on this and what his plans are with regard to making it beyond the walls of his church.
It is true that there is a lot of music that remains within the church, but that is not my aim. I am happy to have many listeners from the church, but ultimately, I would love to evangelize. I would love for my music to reach someone who is not familiar with the word of God, or someone that might have lost touch with it. I might not be the one that brings them to Church, but I would love for my music to contribute, I would love for it to plant that seed. This is why I try to make sure that my music is available for everyone.
We have heard about a collective of Christian Hip Hop artists known as “Entikko”, so we asked Naxa to tell us more about it and how they intend to break barriers that might be in their way, seeing as they are a Niche within a Niche.
Entikko is a fellowship of Ugandan Christian Hip Hop Artistes. The collective allows us to support and encourage each other. The goal is to boost each other and promote the Christian section of the HipHop industry in Uganda. We aim to build together, so that the younger/future generations of Christian rappers do not have to struggle the way we have had to in order to achieve their goals.The plan is to make sure that we create quality music and videos, as well as position ourselves strategically. The focus is not just on quick and easy wins, we understand that the bigger picture is long-term.
What are some of the major pain-points you have had to endure as a Rapper?
I have had to figure everything out on my own. It is not necessarily a bad thing, because it has obviously shaped who I am today, but there hasn’t been much in the shape of mentorship to set me up here and there. This is why it is important for us to try to avail such options for the next generation. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a particular structure in place, when it comes to Christian Hip Hop, so we’re making it up as we go. Another issue is the division between the churches. You might find that there are some opportunities for you to perform in another church, but your church might take offense if you went elsewhere. Even the others might not let you perform there simply because you are from a different church. In the long run, this ends up limiting our opportunities.
A friend once said, “Sometimes churches are like gangs and, as members, it would not be appreciated if you chose to fraternize with a rival gang.”
Naxa shared so much information, we might need another interview just to uncover some of the other things he hinted on, but we decided to end the interview on a lighter note.
The Ugandan music industry is blessed with so many talented artistes. Name three Rappers you would love to work with, as well as three other Ugandan musicians from other genres.
Navio, Lagum and definitely Pryce Teeba (I really like Pryce)
Precious, Irene Ntale and Lilian Mbabazi.
When we spoke about Naxa on episode 2 of The Tribe UG podcast, some of us did not know who he was. Luckily, we were willing to check out the work he has put out there and we were pleasantly surprised. Naxa recently released the New Level EP, and from the production on Tracks like “Closed Borders” to the features from artists like Mal-x and Dagg Mizzo… The project clearly showcases just what Naxa is all about. We will definitely have to stay tuned as he takes his career to the next level.
Watch his brand new video “Love me The Same Way” below & stream it here.