Hip hop love: St. Nelly Sade is a hip hop artiste with no time for beef. He explains to his fan Aggie Emiru, the story behind his stage name.
Who is Nelly-Sade?
I am a Ugandan hip hop artiste, thinker, lyricist, poet and storyteller.
When did you start singing?
I started composing songs in 2004, and recording in 2006 when I was in Senior Four.
Why did you choose to do hip hop?
I grew up listening to hip hop, so it was the only way I knew I could express myself.
Tell me some of your songs?
Nzijukira, Tubaale and Neighbor (Kankuwaaneko) off my debut album, The translation (Okutaputa), then Nina Plan, Bakoowu, Ebbaluwa (Suicide Note) off my latest album, Stories Of Elevation (Omulondo N’engero).
What inspires you to do those songs?
I am always inspired by the desire to make the world a better place.
Every hip hop artiste has come from a certain underground group. Which group did you come?
I started in Bavubuka All-stars, and then in 2011, we formed the almighty hip hop group known as the Lugaflow Army.
Why are you doing music?
To entertain, educate and inspire the next generation.
Which Ugandan artiste do you like listening to and why?
I like listening to Maurice Kirya because he is creative and always comes up with unique ideas.
Hip hop seems to be all about beef and gangsters. What is your cause in the genre?
My aim is to tell stories from where I come from and brand my music as a statement for this generation’s creativity and passion for self-expression.
There is no money in Ugandan hip hop. How do you survive in the game?
Who told you there is no money? Loyal fans attend concerts and buy album CDs, T-shirts and hoodies.
Besides music, what else do you do?
I am the End of the weak ambassador for the Ugandan chapter. End of the weak is a global platform for emcees (rappers) to express themselves. It is a movement towards hip-hop cultural improvement. It has chapters in more than 10 countries; each chapter presents one champion every year at the world finals for End of the weak international world finals.
In Africa, there are only two chapters: Uganda and South Africa. Other chapters include France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, USA, UK, Czech Republic and Germany among others.
List for me your favourite hip hop songs in Uganda and why?
All I Wanna Know by Klear Kut, Lemerako by Sylvester & Abramz and East African Party Lyrical G. Those specific tracks and artistes are trendsetters.
Who do you think is the best hip hop artiste in Uganda?
I think it is me.
What qualities should a hip hop artiste possess?
Respecting culture over everything.
What is the story behind your name?
My real name is Nelson Nsubuga. About eight years ago, I was in deep love with someone named Sade. She was from Finland. After one and a half years in the relationship, she succumbed to lung cancer. So I decided to cut my name short from “Nelson” to “Nelly” and add “Sade” to honour her memory. The Saint bit is because I neither smoke, use drugs nor drink alcohol. Saint was given to me by friends. So that is where St. Nelly-Sade came from.
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