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Uganda's Luga Flow Legend Babaluku

Okayafrica caught up with Uganda's Luga Flow legend Babaluku in Kampala.


Photo via Bavubuka Community

Luga Flow legend Babaluku is one of the most visible and respected artists making an impact on Kampala's expansive hip-hop scene. As a pioneer within Uganda's hip-hop realm, he's one of the first emcees to make rapping in the native Luganda tongue popular rather than deferring to colonial English. One can easily learn more about Babaluku (formerly of the Bataka Squad) from the 2008 documentary Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip-hop Revolution that covers his journey from his crew’s early days playing shows across Uganda to eventually rocking festivals in the U.S. with Michael Franti.

Currently Babaluku splits time between Kampala and Vancouver, BC, where director Juan Andres Hodgson shot the recent video for “Batulidewo.” Production-wise, the song knocks, and coupled with the at times, gruff and heady lyrics rapped in Luganda, "Batulidewo" has the feel of a radio single. When asked about the track itself, Babaluku told us, “The song is meant to be a confidence booster for the people who follow the music industry in Uganda... It’s about standing strong and not only being able to inspire but really design what the future of hip-hop in Uganda looks like.” He also expressed optimism that “Batulidewo” might see a proper release on a compilation called All Spiritual, which would drop on his own B Dynasty imprint before the end of the year. Given that he was working on a string of videos in Uganda during our time together, expect more material and visuals from Babaluku in the coming months. Until then, watch the "Batulidewo" video below.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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