The year started with drama in Ugandan hiphop scene and as the curtain draws on stage 2016, the show seems to be ending with standing ovation-worthy climax. Swedish resident, Ibrahim Lwanga, who was then known as Deluxe Dillinger aka Dlux Ibra, one of the main members of the music group Young Vibez, a group that came to the scene with self-produced hip-hop music in the early 1990s on the streets of Kampala has come out claiming that he is the founder of hiphop and rap culture in Uganda and Babaluku is merely an imposter. Commonly referred to as the “god-father”, Babaluku who for long has been regarded in high esteem finds himself in unfamiliar murky waters of impersonation.
The storm started brewing after a video of the rapper was shared on Facebook. A whirlwind of emotions caught hip hop fans in a frenzy. In the video he accuses Babaluku of building his name on sand of false pretense.
In an online interview with Ibra, he revealed that Babaluku then known as Spinerous MC aka Cool Baba released his first song titled “Africa lemme hear ya” in 2001 in English yet they had been actively holding shows and making rap music on hip hop beats from 1996 in Luganda and English.
“Baba was just a fan. He couldn’t rap. He went around telling people he knew our crew and that we were the same. We were the first hiphop act to perform at Sabrina. Babaluku has spent his adulthood riding on what we did”, he stated.
However, according to Wikipedia, Babaluku started his music career in 1994 and is one of the pioneers of “Luga-flow”, which a rap form in Luganda. Ibra denied this and stated that “Babaluku couldn’t rap by then”. In his own words, “his rap was terrible. By 2002, he couldn’t flow”.
Who are the Young Vibez?
According to online sources, the group comprised of Ibra, Flimpoman, Nappbalck , Andrew and Kwesto. Also known as Nightstormers, the group formerly appeared as Young vibration (Young Vibez) until they split directions focusing on different courses. Young vibez was a fruitful talented group made of Ugandans doing their thing in different languages (Luganda,Swahili, English). Before they split they had managed to put together two chapters(albums) and a short millennium compilation: Young Vibez chapters 1 and 2, and Equatorial Breeze. They started off in 1996 three people Ibrahim, Flimpoman and Nappblack. Later on joined Andrew and then came Kwesto. Flimpoman on his ragga DJ course moved on successfully and got signed at MNV-Sweden under Kongo Bongo records .
“We invested money to record, print professional CDs and travel Uganda as a big group. I realised it was costly and time consuming so we decided to experiment various styles to the flow lest everybody sounded the same.”, he stated. A visit to the Dlux Ibraw Reverbnation account justifies the claims.
‘In 1995, when we released our first chapter “Young Vibez Chapter One.” We went for a Ugandan country tour from Kampala to Mbarara. That’s when I got to know profiles like Chameleon (who also came along as an opening act for us in Mbarara), Chagga, Shanks, Rasta Rob, Ragga Dee. By then we were the hot cakes in the music industry, specifically hip-hop, which was then just taking its baby steps”, he revealed in a 2006 interview with Ourmusiq.com. They split in 2004 after the album “Milestonez” when Ibra relocated to Sweden.
THE OTHER “FOUNDERS”?
Ibra also shed light on Ragga Dee who on record too claimed to be founder of Ugandan hi hop. “I respect Raga Dee. Bamusakata was ragga. It as not hip hop”, he laughed off the claims.
“Bataka named itself after listening to me mention words like “Batuuze” and “Bataka” in our songs”, he equipped.
He further revealed that he first listened to Navio rapping in English around 1997. ”He was great but we already had done a CD in English”.
Hiphop is a small genre is Uganda and gradually growing however, its roots still remains a subject of debate as many rappers are referred to as “legendary emcees”