Samuel Masaba started his music career while still in high school under the alias MSB. His goal? To attract the girls and impress his peers…then he found Christ and the story changed from rapping for fun to preaching the Gospel, as he shared with Olivier Mukaaya.
When did you join the music industry?
Around 2003 as a teenager in Nairobi living in a renowned hip hop community in South C. My initial alias was MSB and I started out at a time when hip hop was gaining notoriety in Africa. My first recorded song, “Sorora”, was a hit and it played on major radio stations for about three months, before my next hit, “Vako”. It was an exciting time for me.
Why the interest in music?
Hip hop resonated with many youth at the time, especially around the era of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G who were heavyweights in their prime. You could say the wave caught me especially at a time when I was trying to look cool to my peers and the girls.
What genre do you do?
I do mostly hip hop but as I matured and later got born again, I started doing various genres in urban gospel, including Rn’b, ragga, and pop both in English and Swahili with a little Luganda.
I have close to 100 songs now but the count would have been higher had it not been the cost of making good music.
There are many artistes in Uganda, what makes you different?
After relocating to Uganda, I established a record label known as Born Again Entertainment (bornagain.co.ug) that seeks to invest in vibrant talent that has already gained some mileage in the industry. I did this upon changing my alias from MSB to Project Sammy. I believe this sets me apart from my contemporaries.
Do you consider yourself a star?
I do not consider myself a star. I consider myself a vessel being used by God to bless those that badly need to hear or rather see the gospel through my works.
My introverted nature does not allow me to be very outgoing, so I let the music and other ventures speak for it.
Who produces your music?
I have worked with almost all A-list producers in the Ugandan industry and a couple of producers in Nairobi. However, when it comes to hip hop, I usually prefer Sam Lamara, aka Samuraem of Talent Africa.
Some people are in music to make money, others to make a name, why are you doing music?
Initially it was for fun. Then my brother and I made some modest money but now I use music to express my deep faith in God and hopefully touch people’s lives with the love of Christ through ministry, especially through the label I established.
Which artists inspire you?
As a secular artiste, I drew a lot of inspiration from 50 Cent. After I got born again, nothing much changed but I began studying the technical side of 50 Cent in creating hits, without indulging in the lyrics of his songs.
How are you coping with the Covid-19 situation?
I am making use of online presence @bornagainenter through the label; trying to create content that can be viewed or listened to on the internet as we wait for the situation to stabilise. I mostly focus on other artistes as I feel it is time for a new generation of artistes.
What challenges are you facing in the industry?
Studio time is very expensive, especially when you are working on a body of work for somebody else. That would not be a problem if the returns were to be guaranteed; unfortunately the game can get very dicey, not to mention music videos are not cheap anymore.
Who facilitates your music career?
Most of it is from my personal savings and good relationship that we have created with our associates who end up giving us good rates or some pro bono work. Well-wishers chip in, from time to time.
What are your goals in this industry?
As a label, we would love to establish a theme park similar to what Walt Disney has done but with our own approach here in Uganda.
Any advice you to young upcoming artistes?
Be patient with your craft and make sure you mature substantially before exposing yourself to the mainstream media.