Swangz Avenue has over the years been one of the top record labels in Uganda when it comes to producing chart-topping music. Recently, they announced the return of rapper Zagazillions formerly known as Young Zee.
From his early days as a child to his hiatus from the music scene, Zagazillions opened up to John Kenny Adeya about his experiences, frustrations, and the path that led him back to the spotlight.
Zagazillions started his musical journey at the age of 11, adopting the stage name Young Zee. As a child, he quickly gained recognition and even released a hit song, “Criminal Swag,” which became a sensation in Uganda.
“I started singing when I was 11 years old. I got into Swangz Avenue when I was about 12. So I was a child. I wasn’t so happy with how things were going. I had left Swangz Avenue and my new management was more of a joking subject. So, I just wanted to chill,” he recalls.
During this time, he stepped away from the music scene to experience life as a “normal kid.” Frustrations with management and the desire for a break led to his temporary disappearance from the entertainment scene.
Had he made a mistake by joining the industry too early?
“I went to Daffodils Kindergarten, then moved to Rainbow International School and then International School of Uganda. That’s where I learned to be a hooligan. We enjoyed ourselves so much and did everything we wanted. I had this white friend from England and we used to think we were kings but, after all this, I failed my exams and that’s when I had to grow up,” Zagazillions explained.
According to the rapper, the rebranding was not just a change in name but a shift in mindset. The rapper emphasized the importance of music as a spiritual entity, extending beyond rap and singing. He recalled unreleased songs, collaborations, and the creative process that shaped his early career, including a song with Cindy that never saw the light of day.
“I rebranded to Zagazillions. I know some people still don’t even know that I rebranded. Some people still think I am Young Zee,” he opened up.
“I explored diverse musical genres beyond rap. My time at Swangz Avenue, where I recorded regularly, allowed me to experiment with various sounds. I loved every second of it,” he added. Despite certain songs not getting commercial releases, Zagazillions remained passionate about his craft.
The rapper revealed plans for an EP titled “Sumbi Vibes”, set to release in the first quarter of 2024.
When asked about the possibility of a concert, he avoided the question but rather emphasized a tunnel vision approach, focusing on success and empowering the youth in the Ugandan music scene. Additionally, there are aspirations for a unique concert experience that reflects the vibrancy of developed countries. “I’m very passionate about working with these young people. I want to work with some talented youth. We want to change this game forever.”
Zagazillions expressed gratitude towards Swangz Avenue, referring to the team as an ecosystem of experienced professionals.
The move to Swangz Avenue in 2020 was motivated by a desire for structure and infrastructure. He told sQoop, “When I was a child I started performing rap with two friends at school parties. So, my Dad saw what we were doing and took us to Benon Mugumbya at Swangz Avenue. We rapped some verses and the producers loved it. However, my friends’ families were not okay with the direction they were taking, so I was taken on as a solo artiste. It is a blessing to work with Swangz Avenue,” he concluded.
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