I Am HIP HOP

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First thing first, shout-out to the pioneers
Without their work, we’d have no careers
Quit my job, became my own marketeer
Started from a blog, one-man team, now we fuckin here
Before I brag about my deeds, respect to the engineers
The designers, the architects- Nyirarumaga, Biggie and Pac
And every storyteller laying their soul on every track
You all put art in my heart, I put poetry in rap
From my early start, I just wanna give back
Design thinking till life imitates art
This is only a spark of a young star
It’s going dark when I go all lights
My bars are lit, put some welding glasses on or go blind
I’m a rare phenomenon like the eclipse, watch how you view me
Don’t mistake my silence for an ellipse when you review me
I aim at everything you say I am, if you thought you knew me
By the time you’re done defining me, it’s already a new me
I invite you to judge me, maybe you’ll see your own insecurity
Wish I could be your mirror but I bet you’d choose the selfie
Self worth is self-given or else it’s worthless, I pick what’s healthy
My spirit is so wealthy, all the Rothschild money cannot buy me
I’m priceless with a bank account constantly empty
I quit writing commercials to write my destiny
I gave up my Swatch, Irony, I gained in time
Now the world’s on my watch like a sentinel full-time
Look in the sky, I’m a hawk holding the message tight in my claws
I ain’t got no time for tiny beefs, I don’t fight small wars
Only Rwanyonga’s curving arrows would make me fall
Before you know I metamorphose, I’m a fly on your wall
Feasting on every shit that’s dope, I’m anti-AI, pro recycle
My recitals revive memories of lost souls
Call me a psycho but we all talk to dead people
You say “Rest in peace” I say “Rest in power or return for yours”
My poetry is traditional medicine for those looking for hope
It’s bitter just like the life of survivors trying to cope
With the hole in our souls that cannot be filled with alcohol
Cold hearts know no sunny holidays in these area codes
If your back’s against the rope, catapult and soar
It’s fucked up at the bottom when you got no condom
And this sick crazy bitch called life trynna fuck you live
Sometimes I wonder how many times one has to survive
To make it in this life before crossing to the other side
Millennials waiting for a white savior then I realized
Just like the devil, Jesus is a lie
At least the devil is in the detail
Well Jesus in the Bible retail
You know what those entail- Fantasy for sale
I’m breaking bad like Mr. White, about to go Heisenberg
This is just the intro like the tip of my pen is the tip of the iceberg
My vision is so clear it feels like a premonition
I got no reason to fear my final destination
I’m the architect of my dreams, this is my inception
They raise buildings, I build minds – perception
I talk fusion, they hear collision at the intersection
Confusion, not just my words, my actions are lost in translation
You can’t see through the crack yet, wait till I blow the wall
I’m coming out with a black belt, the system is about to crumble
Africa, rise, planet of the apes, I’m proud to be a Cesar
If time is a female, I’m about to seize her
I speak truth to power, I’m not a pleaser
What did you think this shit was? H.I.P H.O.P
H for His story, Her story, they’ll be told, by any means necessary
I for I coz nobody can fight for my mine like I
P for Power, knowledge or money, whatever it takes to get respect
H for Honor, for we’re kings and queens; not slaves or objects
O is for the oath that goes beyond the physical dimension
P for Progress even when it seems slow, it’s better than no motion
#1key
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On Masculinity

I grew up being told repetitively
The household is like a human body
The man is the head of the whole
The woman holds it together
Kids are the members
They both follow
The man’s lead coz “he’s the brain” after all

Apparently it takes balls to be a man
But I know mammals that got bigger than…
2 to 3 inches
Heavier than 3 pounds
Of fragile eggs that can barely handle the slightest pinches

This world domination got me to question my own masculinity
Coz I realize that mistreating girls for my own perception of reality
Has nothing to do with feminity

And maybe our need to blow our expansion out of proportions
Is to cover for our pettiness, weaknesses and misconceptions

But I tell you what:
If you wanna test how strong a man is
Leave him alone, if he doesn’t cease to exist
That man is a gem

#1key

Watch the performance for the Big Men project in this video

 

Choices

I wish I could live from my art. Seems impossible in this corner of the world. For now. Some day maybe. That’d make me so happy.

I’ve been on survival mode for a while. Lost pretty much every tangible item I owned. No biggie. I was prepared for it.

I lost a lot of weight, lots of blood. I collapsed a couple of times during my trips. Life was testing me. I got through it all. Victorious.

It’s not about any god. It’s having faith (in whatever and) in the process. Once you’re 100% in line with your path, it all comes together.

I have never felt this whole my entire life. I have discovered feelings beyond names. I have met incredible artists, amazing people.
I’ll keep doing the best I can to create, produce, promote beautiful arts. Probably not as much as I have for the last past 1 & half year.

Right now I’ve got to get back to employment full time. I got too many debts. Our economy isn’t steady enough to offer part time jobs.
Thank you so much for keeping up with my crazy mind. For accepting me. For loving me. Sorry for being harsh. I got that tough love.

I’m not quitting the arts. How can I? I ain’t even takin a break. I’m just saying time is gonna be a challenge but I’ll rise above.

Life is about choices so I wrote about them and invited a couple of talented artists with whom I share the journey to help me say it better. Remember their names: Weya Viatora, Nganji Arnaud, Dany Beats.

The Lone Walker

I’m the lone bee in the colony;
Calling out queen bees bad B’s;
Busy getting my own royal jelly;
Jealous friends calling me crazy;

Crazed by the selfishness in this world;
Wordsmith, I forge universes with words;
Worker on strike when I’m not the boss;
Boast too much confidence, it looks like I floss;

Ef losses, I always gain experience;
Experiment on repeat, life’s science;
Signs indicate I’m making the right moves;
Moods may change depending on the moon;

Good thing my boots on the road;
“Rogue” I’ve been called out of control;
“Controversial” coz I always speak my truth;
Troubadour of modern age, the phone’s my booth;

Booksy, witty, artsy, I’m comfy in my skin;
Skip winter games, my brain’s always on, come ski in;
Coms skill better than a PR team;
Priority’s sharing wisdom not getting RT’s;

Artistry’s only way to your heart;
Hard to believe I made this far;
Farther I’ll go to better my soul;
So I that I may bring you more.

#1key

And So We Get Married

Because we’re our own elder sisters and brothers
Watched over by ghost fathers and mothers
We walk in slow mo’ heavy loads on our shoulders 
Hunchback, young blood but old souls holders 
Head down we follow the footsteps of our models, I mean shadows 
Mirrors scare us unless they reflect characters in our favorite shows 
We cram the script as we go
We play by the game as we grow 
“Fake it till you make it” is relationship goals 
If you’ve never faked, cast me thirty six stones 
We force ourselves to smile in public for all the tears that overflow on their own 
Our bellies don’t stomach any more of our groans when we’re alone
Our cheeks take on the role of shock absorbers for our sobs and moans once in our comfort zones
So vulnerable, so lonely, so desperate we bury our heads in our phones 
Searching for what we believe we deserve till what we deserve becomes whatever is available 
Who would have imagined that we’d fall for messengers with no messages
Who would have thought we’d look for our reflections in strangers’ selfie images?
That we’d fall for the fake hair, fake nails, fake hips, fake eyebrows, fake boobs, forced cleavages
For the leased cars, loaned houses, flashy cards, exaggerated accents in unmastered languages 

…and so we get married

We try so hard to make impressions that we become real-life impressionists
Victims of imitations, we even strive to up our favorite protagonists 
From Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, Hillywood to Whateverwood 
We truly become what we consume 
Consumed in our costumes, our customs lose meanings 
And so does everything, even dates are reduced to mere castings 
And the best at acting gets the trophy: the bling bling 
Calling it an engagement ring would be an understatement 
Believe me it’s an achievement 
In fact, the next big thing after a degree 
Or earning enough to lie to ourselves we’re making a living 
The ring is also a relieving answer to the perpetual question of when are we marrying?
Since nobody cares about who, we propose to whoever is already in need of agreeing
It makes us look more advanced than our peers partying in their early twenties like there is no future
It is also a seat at the table with insecure couples in their late thirties catching up with mother nature 
Because soon is gonna be too late to have kids having their features 

…and so we get married

For one day… 
A day we’ve been led to believe is the most important day
Yet in reality it’s the day we spend our savings, and those of our friends’
For the expensive clothes that we’ll never put on again 
To impress uninvited guests who stumbled upon our invite
On a family dusty shelter, on a colleague’s dashboard or on our timeline
On that day we show off a bright smile on the outside while we cringe inside 
Especially when we realize the hired old folks are taking the roles of our parents too far 
Then our partner’s fingers slide between ours suggesting a “relax sweetheart”
Or rather “Relax sweetheart, go with the flow, play your part
Enjoy the show, you already showed your cards” 
You dressed to impress, your tie matching her dress
Is no coincidence, so walk with finesse, smile, don’t stress 
Nobody should guess the mess you bought to yourself 
All must look perfect, there will be a time for retrospect 
But for the moment 
Enjoy the handshakes from random old men
Telling you “Now you’re a man!” because it seems you were a cucumber before the wedding
On the other hand the bride’s being squeezed between the arms of a spinster auntie 
Giving her tips about how to keep you on a leash while she keeps winking at you
So you raise your drink, confused, then it hits you
It’s just a show and in a few hours, everyone will be home 

…and so we get married 

For a visa, for money, for security, for families
For a place to call home, for shared responsibilities
For the orgasms we hope will be regular
For so many reasons and none in particular
But also for beauty, for love or the idea of it
For the fact that we can finally feel
Good, bad, right, wrong, big, small
Happy, sad, high, low, amazing, miserable
Because it takes special people to break our walls
To whom we can open up and allow to touch our soul
To revive the idle child in us long ago put to sleep
To make us believe again in magic, in music, in poetry
To understand the language of the heart
To the possibilities of wandering between the stars 
And planets then take a break on the moon
Before we return to this ground that awaits to be our tomb
I bet your logic is in stitches, “What a Fool!” but emotions are too
Falling in love is trusting the unknown like a butterfly straight from its cocoon
Getting married is skydiving wearing faith as a jumpsuit with no parachute 
After witnessing many crash and still hope the landing will be smooth

…and so we get married 

#1key

Untitled 

My history has no face
Its voice emits on strange waves
An intricate message
Written in a coded language

The enigma machine is idle
Broken or tempered with by rivals?
Silenced? Scaring idols?
What’s a man afraid of idylls?

Take me to a club where Rujindiri creates samples for beats by Dre
Take me to a church where Kagame is the padre
Take me to a mosque where Anta Diop is sheikh
Take me to a time before Misri kings “became” greek

[…to be continued]

#1key

Thank You 

Thank you for your understanding and empathy;

Thank you for sparing the time to read my drafts in a world congested with information;

Thank you for looking for earplugs every time you see a 1key soundcloud link;

Thank you for spending your bundles watching my videos and interviews;

Thank you for being the best marketing team on the planet – you’ve got so much soul;

Thank you for spreading my words even though they may compromise your position from time to time;

Thank you standing up for me and many others;

Thank you for spending your savings on my shows;

Thank you my people for allowing me to be;

Thank you Rwandan diaspora for strengthening me;

Thank you la familia for respecting my choices and giving space for my voice to echo;

Thank you my fellow artist for constantly reminding me what my purpose is through your own creation;

Thank you my Natacha Muziramakenga for always standing by me even when I lose my way;

Thank you Mpinganzima for your kind heart and daily inspiration;

Thank you Isumbabyose Ismael for having a bigger picture of my vision;

Thank you Nelson Gashagaza for seeing the potential and pushing me to start;

Thank you Daniela Kampire for being a low key super fan and sponsor;

Thank you Muriel for spreading my work with so much pride – you make me smile a lot;

Thank you all social media fam for keeping up with my madness;

Thank you all that I won’t be able to name for your deeds speak for themselves;

Thank you all blogs, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations who made room for me to express myself comfortably;

Thak you Innovation Village, Impact Hub, The Manor Hotel, CECYDAR for trusting me with your space – That’s huge!

Thank you all fans and friends across the globe, an artist is nothing without an audience. You validate my dreams. Our dreams. You are small but generous. You are my sponsors. You make it happen.

Thank you young-but-ready person for allowing my words to sink into your heart;

Thank you stranger for your talking to me as if we have known each other for years;

Thank you die hard fan for being part of the #expericment series. Episode 4 (The finale) happened yesterday – no official videos yet but I just gathered some pictures taken by friends

The set at sunset. Credit: Muriel Binamungu
The stage.  Credit: Nibagwire Dida
Babou Joe (right) co-hosting with Samson, one of the former street kids at CECYDAR. Very good entertainer. Credit: Ihozo Paula
El Fazo & Don Nova (right) spitting truth to the youth. Credit: Ihozo Paula
My nephew blown away by Elie’s skills while I was rhyming for the kids. Credit: Ihozo Paula
Deo Munyakazi strumming the Inanga, traditional zeither, while singing an old folklore tune to the modern youth.

As for the previous shows, here…

Episode 3 – #Sexpericment

Episode 2 – Storytelling

Episode 1 – Evolution

Thank you Rwanda,

Thank you Africa

Thank you world

Thank you Universe

1key, 1love