What you need to know:
SEASON 2. Yesterday, Newz Beat, a weekly show which airs Saturdays and Sundays in Luganda and English launched its second season on NTV. So, who are they? Pauline Bangirana explores their personalities.
Follow the beat, follow the beat, follow the beat…” that’s the rhyme I have in mind but that is all I know about the newz beat crew. A group that started out with trials on internet in September last year, Newz Beat comprises four members; Lady Slyke, MC Loy, Survivor and DJ Nesta. Although these four are independent artistes. While on the show, they are a team, with each playing a vital part in the production of the show. Their maiden show was aired on February 15, this year on NTV.
You have probably heard their voices in some of the local adverts but these opportunities came their way after Newz Beat was first aired on NTV. The team of anchors who rap the international news to give it a local touch, launched Season Two of their show yesterday. This comes with new reporters joining the crew. Besides English and Luganda, the news is in Lusoga, Kiswahili, Runyankole, Rukiga and Lugisu.
“We extract news that other media houses tend to ignore, we emphasise and tackle issues that are of importance to the people,” says the crew. They localise international news to make it more impactful to the people. However, they use spoken verse to keep original lest the show loses its identity.
“We had the idea of Newz Beat and we talked to some of our friends who encouraged us to go ahead after listening to some of our recordings. We shared the idea with NTV, they liked it and started airing it,” they reveal how they ended up on TV.
Sharon Bwogi, 28, also known as Lady Slyke has been active on the Ugandan music scene as an MC, rapper, song-writer since the late 90s. She is the first female to rap in Luganda. Slyke performed at local and international festivals such as the East Africa Talent Convention, Bayimba festival and Wapi. Her Mother Africa song featured at PAM Awards for best hip-hop song of 2005. Slyke believes in the power of music to empower youth. She is a tutor to many young artistes, teaching rap poetry and song-writing. She has collaborated with local artstites such as GNL, Vampino, Sylvester and Abrams, Jahcity, to name a few, as well as European hip-hop musicians. She is married to DJ Nesta and is a mother of two girls. When she’s not making music or anchoring NewzBeat, she designs jewellery and other fashion accessories.
Survivor, real name Daniel Kisekka, 40, is the third born in a musically gifted family of six. He is the song writer, artiste and rapper in the team. He claims to have “music in his genes”. His late father James Lubyayi played with the Afrigo Band in its early days. His brothers Simon Base, Ian Kagimbo, Sylvester and Abramz are also artitstes. Survivor started writing rhymes at the age of 10 and, like most rappers of his time, he learnt the trade simply by imitating his favourite MCs before developing his style. He is passionate about sports, movies and visual arts. Besides spoken word, his mode of self-expression is painting. Survivor believes in exploring one’s full potential and pursuing one’s dreams..”
At 13, MC Loy is the youngest rapping newscaster in Africa. Born Manuela Loy Zoe Kabuye, her family nurtured her talent and passion for music at 9 years, as she sang and danced in the family choir. In 2009, inspired by her older brother Xross Catalyst, she joined him in the BavubukaAllstarz project led by pioneer Lugaflow rapper Babaluku. At his side, she honed her rap skills and became a true wizard of the spoken verse. In 2011, MC Loy left Bavubuka together with Xross, started her own squad 1816 Clique. She has been featured in multiple TV and radio shows, including Planet K on NTV, and also performed at Uganda’s golden jubilee celebrations. In Newz Beat, she is in charge of special reports. MC Loy is a Senior One student at Kansanga Senior Secondary school and a Sunday school teacher at Livingstone Ministries.
Like most students who work and study, Loy says her challenge is copying so many notes. She enjoys swimming, playing football, riding bicycles. She is a social media fanatic and a fan of Lecrae, an American Christian hip hop artiste.
Baker Kadingidi alias DJ Nesta,38, is the sound manager, producer and DJ. He is the “grandfather” of reggae selectors in Uganda. He is a professional deejay, audio producer, sound engineer and musician. He started spinning disks in 1996 with his brother Ras Brown, and subsequently formed Ras Clan Entertainment, which became crucial in promoting reggae music in Uganda.
Nesta performed at Club Rouge, Silk, AngeNoir, and other major venues. Since 2000, he has been producing songs at his studio Cas de Ras. He has done charity work with children in Northern Uganda and actively gives back to the community by promoting upcoming artistes and organising music workshops for youth. Although he is behind the scenes of Newz Beat Uganda, he is the brain behind the beat and its recording.