‘We love hip hop but we have always been kept behind closed doors’

Spyda MC’s ability to blend storytelling with catchy melodies is what has earned him accolades within the industry and a devoted following. PHOTOS /COURTESY/ENO HIPHOP

What you need to know:

Back in action: Spyda MC has recently risen to prominence on the Ugandan music scene, gaining widespread attention after a video showcasing his exceptional hip-hop skills went viral on social media. But Spyda is not new to hip hop. The artiste can be identified as an underground artiste and has been doing his craft for more than 10 years now, as                                                                                                                                                              Gabriel Buule writes.

“Werabidde esaawa ne naku byo bibala” is one of the most captivating lines in Spyda MC’s trending song Abantu Mukisa and to him, the line is literally meant to mean that it is all about time and hope in whatever man does.

Those who have known Spyda MC, who has been on the hip hop scene for nearly 10 years, can attest to the fact that perhaps it was about time for music lovers to get caught in the web of his amazing lyrics.

Giovanni Kiyingi, a Ugandan musician based in Phoenix Arizona-USA shares that Spyda is a tale of how patience and hope can unleash amazing talent in the creative sector.

Giovanni, who also recorded a song with Spyda, shares that besides being known for his captivating hip hop cyphers, Spyda is an amazing creative.

His works have been visible at most festival platforms, especially those in line with underground hip hop and Bayimba Festival of Music and Arts.

Whereas his works have for years been inclined to underground arts group dubbed Nilotika Cultural Ensemble, this has not shadowed his incredible talent that is characterised by powerful lyrics that embody stories that advocate for hope and social change. He shares that he is glued to creating music that speaks to the people.

“The point is to create and when the time comes, your door will be opened. The youth should believe in our craft and bank on time other than rushing to make mistakes,” Spyda MC explains.

He shares that he is a victim of his lifestyle that is associated to rejection by society, adding that for children born and raised in ghettos, society usually waits for someone to break through to earn public approval.

Spyda MC has recently risen to prominence on the Ugandan music scene, gaining widespread attention after a video showcasing his exceptional hip-hop skills went viral on social media.

Previously an underground artiste, Spyda MC hails from the complexities of life in the ghetto, making his journey to fame all the more remarkable.

Talking hip hop

Rejection by the public is one of the issues Spyda decries whenever is asked why hip hop, his signature music genre still lags in Uganda’s music industry.

He shares that often, artistes from the ghetto are never given attention and their ideas get trashed not only by a section of people but also the mainstream media.

Spyda reveals that most hip hop artistes who have attempted to submit their works on radio get rejected and sometimes they are made to beg, a situation most of them cannot stand.

“Sometimes you take your music to a radio station and they judge you from the way you are dressed, your appearance and they never create a chance to speak to us so we later become disoriented and do our thing,” he explains.

He mentions that the public attitude towards hip hop is basically wanting and all that hip hop artistes focus on is making music with hope that when the audience likes the art, media and other stakeholders can definitely show up.

Spyda also points out that some authentic hip hop artistes have been pushed to alter the original hip hop to some other improvised genres. He notes that industry demands have suffocated real hip hop.

He shares that at the end of the day people’s tastes are different and their people who appreciate uniqueness, which brings hope that at some point, people will appreciate the hip hop genre.

Spyda says much as he has been grounded, he still strives to remain authentic, representing African roots and culture.

“We love hip hop, but we have always been kept behind closed doors by the music industry gatekeepers,” Spyda MC.

A star from Busoga in eastern Uganda, Spyda, real name Alimansi Wanzu Ainomugisha, is deeply connected to Uganda’s rich cultural heritage. His stories and beats are traced back to the ancient tribes and clans of Uganda, infusing his artistry with a profound sense of history and tradition.

A writer, vocalist and instrumentalist, he emphasises fusing the African culture into Ugandan music and videos through the use of fashion, symbols such as drums and spears that define his heritage. He believes that this bonds with different fanbases from different cultures, regions and connections.

Spyda’s creative quests extended to songwriting, where he crafted lyrics that spoke to the experiences of a new generation. His ability to blend storytelling with catchy melodies earned him accolades within the industry and a devoted following of fans.

He expresses his frustrations on the struggle of organising hip hop concerts that often see minimal attendance, with few attendees being a common occurrence.

Spyda mirrors resilience and the power to stay focused. PHOTO /ENO HIPHOP

Star from ruins

A ghetto boy from Kibuli, Spyda MC shares that after dropping out from YMCA where he was pursuing a diploma, he started his music career in 2004.

He reveals that his first artistic platform was the famous Bonfire, a regular jam platform at the National Theatre in Kampala.

The bonfire experience nurtured him to start his own project dubbed the Ghetto to Ghetto tours, a community hip hop movement where he carried out trainings and cypher competitions.

The ghetto tours birthed another hip hop outfit dubbed Tandika Esaawa that he run with hip hop star Augustus Tayebwa and later joined hip hop legend Babaluku.

Spyda shares that his career has never been rosy but he banked on hard work and time.

“During that period, I never recorded that much but did a number of cyphers and live performances,” he says.

His story is not just about the struggles of an individual artiste but rather mirrors a broader issue that resonates with many Ugandans, especially the youth.

He reveals his old youth story about how he mishandled tuition fees only to halt his academic aspirations but also tested his resolve.

His dreams never fell for his educational ruins and he embarked on getting the best out an unpopular music genre in Uganda and today he proves that setbacks can be turned into stepping stones for greater achievements.

Spyda mirrors resilience, hard work and the power of staying focused, especially in the challenging music industry.

A star arrives

If it is to put a mark to Uganda’s music industry, Spyda MC had done his part through hip hop but his presence would only get noticed through a couple of unforgettable performances.

However, his captivating lyrics recently took social media by storm to the fact that his song, alias Emikisa jili wali bakunganye has become a famous Tik Tok sound that has been shared thousands of times.

His social media presence has immensely risen, especially on Tik Tok where he not only showcases his music but also his comedy sketches, where he interests music lovers to his authentic art that fuses traditional Ugandan culture with modern beats.

Today, Spyda MC remains a cultural force to be reckoned with since his music resonates with fans of all backgrounds, bridging divides and spreading joy through the universal language of rhythm and rhyme.

His trending song Abantu Mukisa is an international collaboration with Swedish creative Sajmon.

With lyrics packaged with a message of social interests, Spyda notes that his song reflects the socio-political differences that Ugandans have faced in the last five years.

He notes that he was concerned when he noticed that people have reached a level of not communicating amongst each other over political disagreements that he deems petty issues.

To him, the song is to awaken the public to remind them about the issue of brotherhood even in moments of disagreement.

“We can disagree but we should not break the bond of brotherhood, because we are one,” he notes.

He further urged people not to indulge so much in political ideologies because they are short-term aspects of life that should not permanently rule people’s ways of life.

“Politics is a manmade idea. The things that we should be debating should be about our roots, traditions and land disputes because those are serious but these short-term temporary situations should not rule our minds,” he adds.

Spyda has performed at Redbull Festival in Paris France, Denmark, Sona Festival in Barcelona, Spain and other festivals in Uganda.

He is also lining up an 18-track album which he hopes to release before the end of this year.