The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Ruyonga Set to Give Navio a Run for His Dime

At first sight, Edwin Ruyonga's mix tape launch looked like those shows set to flop because by 8pm the number of patrons was very small.

The venue Kinetic Management chose - Panamera Bar in Kololo - was also quite a gamble, being new; but again, Kampala party animals love new hangouts and with just five months in business, Panamera is a darling for patrons every weekend, with the enormous parking space and a cozy ambiance.

But it had never hosted a concert before, which was quite a gamble considering that Ruyonga is just cutting his teeth in the industry. However hip-hop music has grown over the years and it is now a genre that commands a firm following. By 9:30pm it was a full house; many wanted to prove if the US-based rapper is worth the hype he has been commanding on social networks and local radio stations.

Patrick Idringi was the emcee of the night and he ensured that the fans focused on the stage and not the TV screens with live pictures from the Olympics in London. Ruyonga chose Lillian Mbabazi's The Sundowners band to back him up, and past 9pm, Idringi ordered for lights off as the man of the night made his grand entrance.

When the lights were turned back on, Ruyonga was on stage wearing a green t-shirt with the word Tutuuse. First impressions make lasting impressions; within three minutes he had proved to whoever had doubts that he is the real deal. From having a rich lyrical mind to proper articulation, big hip hop artistes such as Navio have reason to 'be very afraid'.

He did A Piece of Heaven, Tutuuse a collaboration with Don Mc, and a remix of Maurice Kirya's Don't Want Fight, which had the crowd on its feet when Kirya jumped onto the stage for the pair to do their thing.

Ruyonga also fired his lyrical artillery on Shine - DJ Global's single alongside Patrobas, Pl@y, Gasuza, Big Trill, and Lillian who were in the house to support him. Also in the house were GNL and Nyonyozi who performed alongside Ruyonga on the tribute song for the Kyadondo bomb victims.

So who is Ruyonga?

The 28-year-old is the son to Mitooma woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka who was present to show her support. He started out with rap group Bataka Underground, going by the name Krooked. He later linked up with Lyrical G, but his mother had different plans for him and flew him to the USA for a degree in Graphics Design.

While there, he gave his life to Jesus and continued his love for music by joining various church-based rap groups. Six months ago he returned to Uganda. Everything changed when he attended a poetry session at GatoMato Bar in Bugolobi; he requested management to give him a chance to show the crowd what he could do and everyone was blown away.

Cedric Babu signed him to Kinetic Management Group and hooked him up with other artistes, and the rest is history. He has already proved that he is a force to reckon with going by the attendance and sales of his mixtape - God Over Money.

What is left now is for him to prove that he can last in the crocodile-infested waters that are Uganda's music industry.

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