Navio, MC Yalla and Fik Fameika are among the 2021 nominees.

MTN Uganda early this week announced that the prestigious MTN UG Hip Hop Awards were back!

The event which is an annual recognition of the best hip hop releases and artists in Uganda, with one category allocated to East African rappers. They also seek to celebrate growth in the Hip Hop industry in the country is back with the 5th edition 2021 scheduled to take place on 16th May 2021.

5th edition of the Youthful MTN UG Hip Hop Awards 2021 set for May 2021 1 MUGIBSON
Officials from MTN Uganda during the launch of the Awards show (Picture: Courtesy)

Hip and Hop as a genre represents the young people, and being that Uganda is home to one of the youngest population in the world, makes these awards reign supreme as favorites and therefore most anticipated to catch as a ceremony.

Speaking at the announcing ceremony of this year’s awards, Hellen Kirungi, the MTN Youth Segment Manager said that Hip Hop still remains a popular genre of music in Uganda among the youth, which informs MTN’s continued support towards its growth.

Hip Hop is a music genre that continues to take centre stage in Uganda among the youth. Many young people have taken it up and are doing very well for themselves. Hip hop allows them to express themselves and be who they want to be without limits. This is what we are about at MTN Pulse. We are about creating a community of likeminded people who want to live life without fear or limits and that’s why we are happy to be part of these awards every year,” Ms Kirungi said.

2021 marks 5 years since MTN Uganda started backing the Hip Hop industry to organise the awards.

Last year, in 2020, MTN sponsored the first televised rap battles that saw several rappers pitched against each other in battle categories that included battles on the street, free style and in the forest, among others.

Kirungi noted that the 2021 awards will feature the Pulse Nation Cypher competition that will allow new and undiscovered talent to showcase their abilities in an online rap battle.

In the Pulse Nation Cypher challenge, participants will be required to download the MTN Pulse Cypher beat from the microsite under the Pulse tube, record a one-minute video of them rapping to the beat for one minute with the mention of MTN pulse Nation at least once, and then upload the video on the MTN Pulse microsite.

Participants will be required to rally their fans and friends to go to to vote for them by liking their video.

“The video with the highest engagement gets to win 1,000,000 UGX on the Awards night. The 1st Runner up will walk away with 800,000, 2nd runner up with 600,000 and 400,000 to the pulser in the 4th position.” MTN announced in a statement.

UG Hip Hop awards organizer, Afsa Umutesi said that with MTN’s support, the industry has continued to record steady progress with Hip Hop artists getting favourable airplay on local radio and television stations.

“Hip Hop artists continue to shine out there. If you listen to the top ten most requested songs on radio today, six of them will be Hip Hop artists. We are happy with this progress and would like to thank MTN for standing with us for five years in a row now,” Mr Umutesi said.

The awards are organized by telco and mobile money transfer service provider MTN Uganda in conjunction with The Tribe UG, an online hip hop and marketing platform. Voting Voting has already commenced and is underway and the public can vote via the MTN Pulse official website(link is external).

Vote - MTN Pulse
Voting is ongoing on the MTN Pulse Website

Below are all the nominees: 

Male Artist of the Year

  • Jim Nola MC
  • Judas Rap Knowledge da Akbar
  • St. Maxi Mayne
  • Navio
  • Fik Fameika

Female Artist of the Year

  • Recho Ray
  • Felista Di Superstar
  • Stone Age
  • MC Yalla
Stone Age, up for Female Artist of the Year (Picture: Twitter)

East Africa Artist of the Year

  • Khaligraph Jones (Kenya)
  • Joh Makini (Tanzania)
  • Nyashinski (Kenya)
  • Femi One (Kenya)
  • King Kaka (Kenya)

Northern Uganda Artist of the Year

  • Toobi Smallz
  • Judas Rap Knowledge da Akbar
  • Issachar
  • Stayput
  • Sinnoh The GOAT
  • T’worthy Wyler 

Western Uganda Artist of the Year

  • Truth 256
  • Lithan MC
  • Crazies Wispa
  • Uzi Malcon Muzik

Eastern Uganda Artist of the Year

  • Sparo UG
  • Leumas Owabajaja
  • AJ Stylz
  • BMG Music

Central Uganda Artist of the Year

  • Feffe Busi
  • Gravity
  • Felista Di Superstar
  •  Da Agent

Rookie of the Year

  • Ghetto Upgrade
  • Stone Age
  • Dallas Plein
  • King Missy
  • Stayput
  • The Homie

Inspirational Song of the Year

  • ‘Mbikwasagwe’ – Flex D’Paper ft. Shena Skies
  • ‘Mu Yesu Mulimu Work’ – Vann Mesh 
  • ‘Dream On’ – Stone Age 
  • ‘Abikolako’ – Chillz Kabejja 
  • ‘Never Alone’ – Barna ft. Jamie
  • ‘Taata’ – St. Maxie Mayne 

Collaboration of the Year

  • ‘Beera Powa’ – Elijah Kitaka ft. Sylvester and Abrams
  • ‘Vvamuno’ – Mr Lean UG ft. Byg Ben Sukuya 
  • ‘Abaana Beeka’ – Navio ft. Joh Makini and Flex D’Paper
  • ‘July Cypher’ – 207 on the Beat ft. King Eddy, Mykes, Don, J.J Scorpion, Invizibo and Simo Omutafuta

Lyricist of the Year

  • ‘Uganda Cypher’ – The Myth
  • ‘African Warrior’ – Judas Rap Knowledge da Akbar
  • ‘Kukunku 3’ – St. Maxie Mayne
  • ‘Dear Hip Hop’ – GNL Zamba

Hip Hop DJ of the Year

  • Drop Out
  • Slaughter Elly
  • DJ Cassie
  • Sal the DJ
  • DJ Cisse
  • Deejay Crim

Hip Hop Media Personality of the Year

  • Big Kahuna
  • Julio and Timothy Code
  • The Mith and DJ Crim
  • Still Breezy
  • Jokwiz Klean Kwizera