Hip hop is more than a music genre

Alex Julius Kwesigabo, alias Flex D’Paper. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Lyrical. Alex Julius Kwesigabo, alias Flex D’Paper/the Kampala Boy, is a Ugandan hip hop artiste and creator of Rapaholix group. Isaac Ssejjombwe links up with him.

Tell us about your music journey?
I used to watch and listen to music on my way to school and back when I was a child. My big brother used to be a collector of new music while my big sister had lyrics from newspapers. This gave me a start.  Later In high school I teamed up with friends and we created ‘Rapaholix group’ and we would perform on school talent shows.

By the time I joined university, I was able to record my own music but professionally I put out my first song towards the end of 2011, later in 2012, I released what you would call my breakout song, Follow Me alongside Allan Toniks.

Why music?
I do a lot of other things besides music. I consider myself as a whole business, music is just a part of the bigger picture. Why music is because it’s a passion to be honest. I’ve always been drawn to it since childhood and it’s something you can’t just escape, even if you get into other career paths, music is like love. It’s like that ex you keep going back to. It’s really more about the love before the money.

Why hip hop?
The content of hip hop compared to some genres is that it carries much more meaning. I’m always drawn to the heartfelt songs that tell stories. It’s just beautiful how you listen to the lyrics and it takes you deep into it you know.
How do you think hip hop fares among other genres of music?

The mindset Ugandans are being sold about hip hop needs to change, many Ugandans love hip hop but the media is most of the time not feeding them the content and yet it’s available. So many bodies of works out there like Navio’s album that featured an A List line up from different parts of Africa, The Mith, Baru and Pryce Teeba. It’s why we have gone ahead and created our own platforms to create avenues where we can celebrate each other as well as uplift each other.

Things like the Eno Hip Hop festival which I created with my people have brought a whole different vibe to the game, you can see from the production we did and the overall execution.

The MTN UG Hip Hop Awards where rappers are recognized among many more things, all this shows the independent minds that we have, the creativeness we are putting in daily has kept our genre as the most organised and one of the fastest to rise compared to others.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I first give thanks to the Most High for a new day and then go through my notes to plan my day’s routine.
First thing you do when you get to work?

With lockdown most of my work has been indoors but I always go through my notes and start to make follow ups on projects.

Earliest childhood memory?
I always remember the family gatherings where we always cooked special meals, met up with relatives and played.

First best friend?
That’s I think primary school, Patel whose home I used to go to and he’d also come to mine to play video games.

First book you read?
I honestly can’t recall but one I remember was Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

First job....
I had a business that I started up in my Senior Four vacation where I sold tech equipment. Computer parts and more.

First salary?
In my university days, I did internship for a Swedish NGO that paid about shs700,000 a month.

Current job?
I’m a jack of all trades, personal business ventures, media firm, farming clothing brand, music and more.

Most memorable experience?
I think the first time experiences of a lot of things top my memorable experiences. Like the first time to drive, first time on a big stage, first time to travel overseas and more.

Biggest regret in life?
I don’t think I have particular regrets, I consider all that as lessons, I prefer to give thanks. Gratitude is a must because all those so called regrets shaped who I am.

Best advice and from whom?
I think my dad’s advice on many things like believing in myself, dreams only work if we do. Plus family is the only fallback position most of us will have so we got to be united always.

Travels, link up with friends, Netflix and chill.
What are you currently doing?

I have a new song with Shena Skies titled Mbikwasagwe which talks about giving it all up to God to guide and protect. I’m also working on my album Kampala Boy, it’s my first ever album in 10 years doing music, so I want to give it 100 per cent. 

I’ve been recording songs with different acts as well as perfecting the craft. Expect collaborations from people like Navio, Apass, Keko, Feffe Busi, with some of my best producers like Aethan and more.