By Solomon Muleyi
Hip Pop as a music genre is known for being violent. History has it that the ghettos of Compton, USA that birthed legendary rappers, was a hard place to live. The black people that lived there were oppressed by the police, atop facing the wrath of a number of uncouth vices in the very fiber of their society. The rappers therefore experienced a hard life. And as such, they took on rapping as a way to express their oppression by police and communicate other unfair aspects of their lives. This, thus, meant that even as they rapped, their actions while at it had to relay the same notion of oppression and dissatisfaction. The notion of crying out so loud to be heard had to be vibrant.
Which is why most rappers, even modern ones (without street credit,) wear mean faces when rapping. They fold and crease their faces and deliberately cringe to look angry and oppressed. They rap like they are looking for an excuse to do something bad, like kill someone. (Yet most of them have never even been to the streets. Rapper Drake has, many a time been dissed for claiming he started from the bottom yet he grew up from a rich family. )
Problem is, it has rubbed off onto their fans. And although Uganda doesn’t have rappers with a history in Compton, it has rappers with fans who know the history of Compton. They aspire to be like the legends yet they aren’t rappers. They are merely fans, yet the passion they hold for the Hip Pop genre is as pure as those that invented it.
During a concert dubbed End of the Weak that was held last week at National Theatre, such Hip Pop enthusiasts were there. They showed up in huge numbers to watch the crème de la crème of rappers in Uganda. The rappers, prominent ones like Keko, Enygma, Ruyonga, Abrams, Navio among others, pulled off a great show. But it was the way the fans received that stood out. They behaved like they were in some sort of video. Wearing grim faces like their legends.