INTERVIEW – BURNEY MC (LUGA FLOW ARMY)

Burney MC Uganda passport Mixtape

You can follow Burney MC and Luga Flow army on twitter @banamuzik. Check out his music on youtube, facebook and reverbnation.

Check out some of Bana’s lyrics here.

please give a brief bio of uaself.

Born Walakira Richard in 1989 at St. Francis Hospital in Nsambya –
Kampala, Bana is a Hip Hop activist who raps and talks for Hip Hop in
Uganda. The Music and entertainment Young Achievers Award winner is
also member of the Luga Flow Army, a rap group that fronts and
protects the uniqueness of rapping and emceeing in local languages.

An ambassador of the Global End of the Weak in Uganda which is a Hip
Hop culture improvement programme that is currently running the End of
the Weak MC challenge across Uganda, he advocates for languages so he
calls himself the Luga Flow Revolutionary Activist.

Have tried to Quickly Answer them for any further Questions i will be
here. at times my diction might be wrong but hope you understand, just
ask whenever you don’t understand. hope this is helpful to you ..peace
bruv.


Where are you from, What was it like growing up?

I came from the EAST COAST of AFRICA, UGANDA in Particular. Capital
kampala.. so i stay in a city called Bukoto, like 15 mins away from
kampala using a boda boda.

i was raised by a single mum after they divorced. So my growing up was
kinda hard.. Like me changing schools almost every single year but
still i enjoyed it a lot because it was very diverse. Shifting from one
place to another, but this allowed me be the kind of person that can
fit anywhere i go. It also allowed me not have a lot of restrictions
because my mum had less time to pay attention to just me, yet she had
to figure out how we were gonna be fed or pass through a day, this
further still allowed me to have a lot of freedom to express myself,
which in a way helped me discover my MCing skills. I have 2 siblings.
An elder sister and a younger brother.

My growing up was fun at the same time. Played a lot of games. Loved
football so much, and fighting dogs. Among other games.

What kind of hustles were people involved in?

Usually the kind of hustles depend on were you grew up from but were i
grew up from i used to have my bmx bicycle, so that was my hustle at
the early age. You hard to pay to ride it, my friend had a Nintendo
game boy, we had to pay to play it. We used to make wire cars and at
times sold them. But as you grow up the hustle changes. When i grew up
i used to sell Clubs complimentaries to students that loved clubbing.
We had boys that used to deal in phones if you needed one. And so on
and so forth.

What does hip hop mean to you, What made you get involved in Hip Hop?

Hip Hop is my Life, from the day i embraced it my whole mindset
switched. I can’t do the kind of hustling i used to because that’s not
me. Now all I do is speak. speak for those that can’t speak… it
has allowed me become a people’s teacher, teach them what’s right or
wrong. HipHop became my father when i needed one. So HipHop means
a lot to me. My closest friend.

I think in a way i was meant to be involved with hiphop. From the
first time i heard rap in Luganda, i didnt slow down on wanting to
know more about what it really was. Am one of those few people that
were not inspired by American hiphop. I was inspired by the LUGA FLOW
REVOLUTION that was in 2005.. then later allowed my self to understand
the history. Though i didn’t become active until 2008 when i started
learning and mastering the art of rapping in LUGANDA. So since 2008, i
dedicated my full time to doing HIPHOP.

 

What do the words ‘kazi’ (work), ‘vijana’ (youth) and ‘mshamba’
(‘farmer’) mean to you?

The effort you put in inorder to get results. You time and energy and
knowledge altogether is work.

Youth. Guess thats a young adult, someone like me or the biggest
percentage of UGANDAN population the youth.

Farmer. A farmer should be someone that runs a farm but still in the
street language it can mean any peasant man. When you don’t look urban
i can call you a farmer.


What is ‘politicking’?

Politicking is having some knowledge about a situation. Having some
sense of knowing what’s happening.

What is ‘mental slavery’?

Thinking that someone in a way is owning you and you should follow
their orders. The mindset of being a slave.


How are hiphop artists making money from their music today?

There are different categories of HipHop artists,
The mainstream artists who are always the artist in the spotlight or
the artists known to the media. So the media makes them known to the
people.

So these mainstream artists mostly make money from Gigs because they
are the artists the people are demanding. So the biggest way they make
money is through gigs.
These artists are also make so much money through making ads for big
companies. ..
So from GIGS & ADS

Then there’s us, the underground hipHop Artists. And the biggest way and
underground can make money is by branding yourself uniquely. Your
music is gonna help you get concrete fans, hardcore fans. those fans
that are not gonna go away no matter what. So this will help you have
a follow up then later you can sell your merchandise like CDS,
T-SHIRTs among other things. And also throw up concerts.


Besides rappers, who else do you see ‘doing’ hip hop, other artists,
dancers, graffiti/matatu artists, activists, hustlas, etc. ?

Good enough all the HipHop elements are embraced in UGANDA, the
BBOYS/breakdancing have a very big community in UGANDA, look up for
Breakdance project Uganda, The Graffiti artists are also doing it. Look
out for Spray It Uganda and even the Deejays. These are all doing
hiphop, so all we now need is to have like concerts that bring these
elements together, united .

 

Name your favorite artists, who are you listening to now?

It’s a variety of them, most of those rappers are from UGANDA. I love
listening to music from members of my rap group LUGA FLOW ARMY and
these are CYNO MC, ST NELLYSADE, FOEVER MC & FASIE MC.. i love
listening to them because everyone is unique in their own way.

Also love listening to BATAKA SQUAD, KWESTO, ABRAMS, SAVOIVOR,
ABEGANDA, LUGA LUGA squad, DTM, Anoid street. Among others.. i just
love listening to the underground

Then away from UGANDA.
I love TALIB KWELI< MOS DEF< IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, WISE INTELIGENT,
KRSONE, DEAD PREZ, JOEL ORTIZ, K’NANA among others ..i love listening
to good HipHop


What are some obstacles you have encountered during your involvement
in hip hop?

When you’re underground of course you meet a lot of obstacles. Like access to
studios, getting airplay, finding ways of making money once you
dedicate your full time to HipHop, getting gigs among others, but
after you realise it’s the same problems underground hiphop artists
face globally then you stop really seeing those as the very huge
obstacles. Now my obstacles are the worries that if i put out a very
political track won’t i get problems and stuff like that..

Why do you think there aren’t as many femcees?

Maybe there are more female HipHop fans than males, and you know we
need the fans too. At times i go to HIPHOP nights and every male i see
in the crowd is an MC and am like where the females? because they are
always the fans. You know. perhaps it was meant to be like that.


How have women contributed to hip hop in East Afrika?

It’s a strong thing, a woman to be rapping, the lady from my crew FASIE
MC, has inspired a lot of female mcs to start rapping and in her lyrics
she is always about empowering the women. So i believe their biggest
contribution has been empowerment


What type of community organizations, informal or formal are helping
youth in Uganda today?

I would say Breakdance project Uganda is doing a great job, giving
free dancing lessons on a weekly basis.
I also run a community camp for MCS and you know here MCS are all
youth, so they walk in on a regular if they need knowledge about
mcing.its called EODUB CAMP.
And there so many other youth organisations and communities doing
great work here, most of which i don’t know because am mostly
surrounded with hipHop communities.


is there such a thing as hip hop jobs? or only hustling?

i believe there HipHop jobs, though you know there is an element of
hiphop called hiphop language so we always love to keep it as
hustling because it’s the way we communicate.


What are some of the obstacles/problems facing young people in Uganda
today (all classes, all groups?)

i believe the biggest problem is young people are neglected in
participation of the country’s development, we gat a very big
percentage of young people but in a way i believe they are not planned
for in the system of UG government ..once that is solved then the
rest will be fine. the young people need to be planned for.


What sort of positive things do you see happening with young people in Uganda?

I have failed to see any positive thing the government is doing for
the young people in UGANDA. At least not me. Haven’t not got nothing
positive from the UG GOVT.


How can people learn more about your music, performances and projects
you are involved in?

You just follow me up on facebook .. http://www.facebook.com/banamusic
Or listening in on reverbnation http://www.reverbnation.com/banamusic
Or follow me on twitter @banamuzik

 

Am looking for a little more information about Luga Flow. The ‘Luga
Flow Revolution’ in 2005 you mentioned? Who was involved, what were
the song lyrics saying? Could you provide lyrics (in Luganda or
whatever other languages) and explain?

Luga Flow revolution in this sense was the time when MCS so much
started celebrating rapping in Local languages.. before that it was
mostly rap in English.. of course rappers started rapping in Local
Languages way back from the 90’s but it wasn’t until 2005 when it was
termed LUGA FLOW as rap in local Languages by Bataka Squad member
Babaluku, So 2005 was a big year for HipHop in Uganda. They mostly by
that time used to just rap about rap or HipHop like Saba Saba’s track
Tujjababya meaning we will blow up/ have a break through. A lot of
HipHop nights were started and the Annual Uganda HipHop Summit [began]. Since then this was like the birth of rap in local languages
termed as LUGA FLOW.


Also, am looking for a story too, maybe you can describe hearing
tracks by fellow luga flow members, or listening to bataka squad and
why you enjoy it, talk about what the songs are saying and what that
means.

First time i had rap in Luganda i was just surprised on how those
words were twisted to an extent of making sense, i don’t really
remember which track i heard first. But after that i moved forward to
start researching about that kind of music and got my hands to a
bataka squad mixtape, which had tracks taking about mostly their
villages were they came from .. rapping about kampala and stuff like
that. But it was just so interesting that it was in a language i
understood best. From there i also heard the milestones, this group
was made of East African rappers based in sweden but most of them from
Uganda, the likes of Kwesto, ibraw, iron African among others. So this
was more of my introduction to hiphop. But after researching more i
got to find out the Ibraw aka d’lux was the first LUGANDA rapper,
followed by Kwesto then others .


You could also talk about what Fasie emcee raps about to give people
an idea why her music is empowering..

Fasie, like on her mixtape called positive attitude, she is mostly
talking about how women now are no longer just left home to cook or to
look after household but they can be world leaders. Her aim is to look
for other female MCs, so that they can do projects together. She wants
to do a female MCS cypher. So she is still on a look out for legit
female MCS. To me i think this is not good for just the females in
HipHop but also women at large.

What can you say about the Luga Flow movement and affiliated artists?
How did they change the face of hiphop in Uganda? What were they
talking about and doing stylistically that was different? What about
the content of what they were saying?

You know usually it’s always hard when rapping in your Language and you
don’t keep it real, its very hard to be rapping in Luganda and you
talk about the Bling Bling. Because that’s not our Life. I believe this
was the biggest change the LUGA FLOW MOVEMENT brought to UG hipHop,
now MCs started being real rather rapping in English and imitating the
American rappers.

In Abanna B’eeka’s song ewaffe jenva- meaning “where i come from” they
were talking about the hoods where they grow up from. In K’abatuuze
meaning for the people by Abatuuze which was my first Rap group. We
were talking about the Hardships the people go through ..so LugaFlow
just allows you to be true to who you are hence allowing people relate
to what you trying to pass to them.

Also it wasn’t until GNL Zamba took LugaFlow main stream then UG
HipHop got a real break through in UGANDA. English rappers couldn’t do
that because first, people didn’t understand what they were talking
about. So it’s because of Luga FLow that the face of hiphop in Uganda
changed.

 

What kind of things make you feel the government is doing a poor job
helping young people? What kind of policies?

I just do believe they have not fully dedicated them selves to plan
for the young people in UGANDA.

Talk more about End of the Weak, what it’s mission is and how it works
day-to-day.

End of the Weak being a global movement ..each chapter has it goals
..what brings us together is the MC CHALLENGE. With End of the Weak
UGANDA we run a project called

Hip Hop Artists for Empowerment
Mission:

The Hip Hop Artists for Empowerment Project is
dedicated to providing youth education, HIV/AIDS
awareness, female empowerment, cultural develop-
ment and artistic growth, through Hip-Hop culture, in
Uganda.

Overall Goals:

1. To provide artistic, and culture-appropriate music-based
educational opportunities for youth and adults in the most
populous regions of Uganda.

2. To increase awareness and education needed to combat
HIV/AIDS, STDs and other transmissible diseases that impact
public health in Uganda.

3. To aid in achieving one of the UN Millennium Development
Goals for Africa to promote gender equality and empower women.

4. To strengthen the artistic and entrepreneurial skills of
Uganda’s youth, with a focused target on the female population.

So how have we been doing this from Day to Day, through hip Hop Artist
for Empowerment project as End of the Weak we donate free performances
to different organisations that [share] the same goals we [have].
So here i call up for those MCS that came from the MC challenge and
still wanna support to come through and help whoever invites us to be
part of a positive initiative!

WALAKIRA RICHARD aka BURNEY MC
THE LUGAFLOW REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVIST,
END OF THE WEAK UGANDA
(256) 782 147 588


Asante Sana,

Kevlexicon

UPDATE – 12 January, 2013: Check out Bana’s new local/international-inspired music video, “All for Luga Flow” off his new mixtape “Uganda Passport”

All for Luga Flow by Bana (Youtube)

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Introducing: Burney MC | 33RPM - Voices of the Revolution

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