Rapping for christ: Ruyonga meets his fan Barnabas Karungi and tells him how he went from a “bad” guy to a God fearing hip hop star.
We know you as Ruyonga but what is your other name?
I’m Richard Edwin Ruyonga.
Many artistes, especially in the hip hop category, don’t use their real names, why did you decide to use your real name?
Well, let’s say I’m comfortable using my name because it gives me identity.
Tell me more about Ruyonga?
I’m a Christian, African, dreamer, creative, believer and a hip hop artiste at the same time.
Why do you do hip hop and not anything else?
Hip hop was more direct to me. I like being authentic and I believe for anyone to do ragga or reggae, they need to do patois which I can’t do, though I like reggae. I love being poetic, which is the case to hip hop.
How did all this start?
It started many years ago, before 2000 when I left for the US. I did some performances allover, opening up for big acts like Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and so on. I was so wasted until I decided to get saved in 2010 while in Las Vegas. I decided to return to Uganda in 2011.
Why did you have to return to Uganda yet people are dying to go and live in the US?
I needed to be with my family and I wanted to concentrate on my graphic designing here, but I travel now and then to see friends.
How religious are you?
Like I said, I’m a Christian and a staunch one. When I was in the US, I was so wasted. Smoking, partying and drinking were always the order of the day. I was on the road to death and I felt God calling me, so I decided to stop smoking, drinking and partying.
How many songs do you have so far?
Hundreds if not thousands. I record as many songs as I can. To mention just a few of the popular ones, Tutuuse, Muhurire, Ijankutwale and Tukutendeleze, among others.
Why do you do music yet you returned to do graphic designing?
To change the world through my lyrics. I want to make an impact and go down memory lane as one of those great artistes to have made a difference.
Who are your best three artistes?
Pastor Bugembe, because he’s humble, Maurice Kirya because he has gone out of his way to secure quality in soul music and leaving a blue print that people can use and finally Annette Nandujja because she’s cool, gifted and graceful.
How do you manage the pressure that comes with the music?
Currently, Kinetic Management takes care of my music and I have high regard for Cedric Babu, the owner. They are my platform because they are movers and shakers in the industry. They are into sports, music, TV productions, etc. I needed someone that multiple.
Can you tell me about the lucky woman in your life?
She is called Sheila, I married her a few months ago, she’s an incredible lady, business minded and hardworking. She’s also into women empowerment and a great mum as well. We have one child together so far.
What is your best track now?
I’m really appreciating Sura Yako by Sauti Sol. It always plays in my head.
And your best track of all time and why?
Jesus Walks by Kanye West. The song was ground breaking and it was a nice strategy. This is one track that is full of controversy going by the artiste himself singing about Jesus. It touched many Christians and it can play everywhere in Church and even clubs.
Who is your best rapper?
J. Givens. I worked with him and I truly appreciated.
Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now?
Still saved for one, working on an album that is going to disturb people next year, community based dreams and later behind the scenes musically.