Welcome back to Clear The Air Series. If this is your first read in the series, welcome! Last week we put out part one of the series – Clear The Air, Part One: A defence for Ugandan Trap music (read it here). This week’s episode will move further away from the trap music topic and focus on why we need to teach one as we reach one.
Bullying and threatening people are something of antiquity and it isn’t new right? It is 2017 and hip hop has actually bullies who exist online in most cases. They will make a young and aspiring rapper to quit before they hardly started. They will make you think you are not worth participating in anything hip hop. They will tell you aren’t hip hop without giving you any genuine or specific reason.
“Those chaps act like lions online” – Haggai on NuveyLive Podcast Episode 14
I love bullying, only if it is knowledge bulling me! My continued experience with hip hop has shown and taught me that; there are so many young people subscribing to hip hop along the different elements. In Uganda most youth will tell you “I am into Breaking” another will say Rapping. And in most cases one may do graffiti and breaking or Deejaying and Rapping. They love the art and want to have fun – knowledge should be an element they should be offered.
When they go astray as regards what is what or which is which – a hot lash of insults often creeps. Others will simply pay no ear and hope – “just another wacky rapper gets dissolved”. Rapping/Emceeing is where the arguments never end – which is a good thing. But, if they don’t help young artists develop, we have a problem!
A while ago, many (online) were disputing whether Cleo The Sphynx was eligible to facilitate a lecture on Hip hop at this year’s Hip Hop Boot camp. With bitterness or skepticism it was a hot topic. There is no authority on knowledge is what I know. I am sure she has things she has experienced especially as a female rapper (notably her lecture was based on) and would be important for the class that is younger than her. Millennials and any person involved with hip hop at an entry-level need some knowledge.
The bashing or making of statements wasn’t necessary – if someone dedicates their time to air out what they know or would do research on to extend to others, we should be grateful.
I am a professional teacher and I know what a learning process can be like: the learners can teach you something you don’t know and even if your knowledge is not so great – research always comes in handy. As a teacher you facilitate or influence a process of learning and I guess Cleo you did that as well.
It would have been nice to hear her than focus on a poster saying she would be at Masindi.
Moving on; when the OGs are not respected by the young ones you shouldn’t be surprised. If there isn’t a reason for the two parties to have a conversation then something might be going wrong. It is likely no one is receiving knowledge! Ignorance isn’t bliss if you aren’t progressing. The hip hop boot camp thank God narrows that gap every year. Other projects out there that facilitate knowledge transfer for young artist – salute.
I remember when I hit up Lyrical G in 2015 to have a word or two and he was so okay, I was impressed. I was coming from a presupposition; “Old emcees are not approachable.” That might have been one of my powers-up experiences. I started a podcast to document or archive stories with knowledge from every emcee I interview. The intention is to create affordable learning experiences for hip hop.
The time Sylvester and Abramz, Lady Slyke, Lyrical G, and others where starting there were not so many or any outlets for hip hop in Uganda then. As a few of us writing, blogging, creating and curating – we should be proud of the noble duty. It is a way to archive that knowledge and history. Ugandan hip hop history; for many young rappers is not clear. It is true, Uganda’s hip hop history is lurking and when millennials show ignorance they need to be informed not blamed. Guided not demotivated! Assisted not blinded!
There should be ten more hip hop boot camps!
How shall we talk about Uganda’s history? Are we paying attention to its lack and lurk?
Of course there will be those young rappers not willing to learn or listen to anyone – let them be, they will pick up in silence. For the young female rappers – they idolise any female emcee that is played on TV, radio and this is great reassurance. I am sure many of these young girls want to know how Shirley May has managed to push her projects. How comes Fasie managed to stay afloat among the male dominated Luga Flow Army? What keeps Lady Slyke tick? MC Yalla, she is still fire ten years deep!
Learning is a two-way street: The elders actually respect the young ones in most cases. The youth need also to respect those who have been there before them. Pick out those things that work for them. Is Flex D’ paper – Navio association or Pryce Teeba – Lumix (R.I.P) relationship a shocker? Look at the results. To trickle your mind a bit: Benny Black (has?) played a role in priming The Sphynx and yet he is likely younger. Point is we all need knowledge and creating spaces to share hip hop knowledge to me is like a global sustainable goal! The younger ones benefit more to benefit more those after them too.
There is no competition when it comes to offering knowledge but how we use that knowledge to cut through the ever competitive life is what is important. The results are always manifest inform of better: hip hoppers, breakers, emcees, writers and deejays but not hip-grasshoppers!
“Hip hop in [Uganda] is so alive and to kill it is impossible…” – Enygma, Who Killed Hip Hop
Until the next part, Clear The Air!
Featured Image source: FWBGO