Ugandan Emcee, The Mith speaks KLEAR KUT, Destination Africa, the state of Hip Hop in the East African region as well as his upcoming projects.
What intrigued the journey to become an Emcee and how has it been so far?
I always had a thing for words, and how some of my favourite Emcees got some of the most complex stories across. So when I realized I couldn't sing to save my life, this Hip-Hop thing became My thing. And the journey, so far, has been interesting. So many Up's and Down's, but that is life without the struggle?!
Why the stage name "The Mith"?
In high school, I used to read books on mythology, so my friends started teasing me, saying I was some kind of myth. When I joined the music industry, I chose that name, because it had stuck with me. I changed the spelling, trying to be a true Hi-Hop artist... And after a while, one of the producers I was working with made it stand for “Music In The Highest” because he felt the music I made, was that. I took it because, I need that challenge. I need the music to always be, “In The Highest”.
Let's talk KLEAR KUT. You guys are pioneers of hip hop not only in Uganda but East Africa; can we expect more music from the group?
As KLEAR KUT, we are actually in the process of recording our new album “bEastAfricans”. We feel like the time is now, for us to release this new music, and challenge whatever is out there.
Coming from a group, you've of course evolved, how was the transition to going solo?
The transition was hard at the start. I mean, I went from having 4 other people to share songs, stages and videos with... Now I am doing this solo thing. So adjusting was hard. But I always had stories I wanted to tell, but couldn't because I was in a group. So I knew this was my opportunity to do just that, and I took it.
SA and Nigeria are ruling the airwaves on the continent, what does +256 music need to gain such momentum?
The one thing that those countries have is support, all the way from the regular listener, all the way up to the corporate who are willing to spend millions on them. In Uganda we don't really have that. Once the corporates understand that supporting a brand like “THE MITH” does more for their brand than doing a 1 off concert with (insert international artist name here) then we’ll be able to compete. I mean, 256 is already in the conversation for having some of the most talented artists on the continent, once that talent is backed by finances and support, it will be a wrap for most of the stuff we've force-fed.
Destination Africa is your second album, what was the inspiration behind it and how has the reception been?
My 1st album, The Week Of September, was a rapper who wanted to prove a point. “i am Nice” or nicer than whoever you think is nice. So it was really aggressive and very Hip-Hop. With “Destination Africa”, I was having a good time. I was myself basically. And because of that, the reception was Great. A lot better than I actually thought it'd be. There are so many songs on there that people have related to, on a personal level, which is a plus for me.
Why the title 'Destination Africa'?
I sat down with the different producers and said, I wanted songs that messed around with sounds from Africa. So everything from Kwaito to Hip-Life was touched, on this album. But also, the stories were very African, and unlike my 1st album, on this one, I collaborated with artists from all over, e.g., Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and of course Uganda.
How would you define the state of Hip Hop in Uganda and East Africa as a whole?
The Hip-Hop scene in East Africa IS necessary. We already know Bongo Flavour in Tanzania is the biggest thing out of their industry. But then you have, Genge in Kenya and of course UGAflow from Uganda. This genre is the voice of the youth, and in East Africa.
You're one of Uganda's critically acclaimed lyricists, who are your musical influences?
I am influenced by a lot. K-South, Awadi, ProVerb, PRO, Ikechukwu, Peter Clarke, Nonini, A.Y, HHP, Navio, Enygma, Maggz, and many more...
What's your interpretation of the term Africa Rising?
Africa, getting to a place... but I believe Africa is already at this place. Whatever the place is, Africa is there. Let’s grow.
Who are your top 3 illest rappers on the continent and why?
Wow, there are very many top rappers now. But let’s see:
1- Navio for his ability to redefine himself and still manage to stay relevant on a continental level year in year out.
2- K.O for coming back, even stronger than before. Many people don't know how long he's been in the game for. But he's giving a lot of the young'ns a run for their money.
3- A.Y for his consistency.
Your picture perfect collabo?
The Mith ft. HHP & Ill Bliss with Lilian Mbabazi on the hook. I think it's time to make it happen.
Which Ugandan upcoming rappers should we look out for?
So many, from new school acts like Flex D’Paper, Benezeri, Tucker, Sphynx, The Royal Agee all the way up to acts who've come back even stronger like, Ruyonga, Enygma, J.B and even Lyrical G.