“The MTN Pulse Rap Battles event was a well-coordinated sequence of events that presented a new standard for how UG Hip Hop events ought to be fashioned.”
Happy New Year, readers! The new “me” attitude may have us forgetting what The Tribe UG and Skyline Media were able to pull off in the middle of a pandemic.
In what is arguably the most well put together UG Hip-Hop event of 2021, the MTN Pulse Rap Battles Showcase was a showcase of studious excellence. The constraints of managing time, service providers and artists are constantly said to be some of the most hectic things to maneuver. Include a pandemic, curfew and a Thursday, and it is you against the odds this event had to overcome.
Skyline Media & Management Limited impressively found a way to make it work and made it work exceptionally. Behind the scenes of hosting an event is a logistical nightmare. I have a clue of what went on and witnessing the end product, I could not be more impressed.
The stage set-up stood out as soon as you walked in through the door. Sal Deejay stood in her booth and masterfully mixed to entertain the audience at home, artists, partners, influencers and service providers – there was no physical audience. The audience saved that transport money and COVID tests by watching online. The show was streamed on YouTube and Facebook.
Embracing live-streaming is another aspect to applaud. The technology hasn’t become as accessible as we would like, and a near flawless attempt is always commendable. We know a TV station that still struggles with live streaming and this event was run on 0.001% of their running budget.
The flashing lights and occasional flames shooting around the stage were a spectacular sight, too! The entire set was artistically designed, and you could tell everything was purposefully placed where it was. The elevated screens at the back of the stage were utilized to advertise the show sponsors. Identifying the brands I am associated with running on the screens gave me a profound sense of accomplishment.
I love UG Hi- Hop, and seeing it represented by a passionate team created a moment where for a second, you forgot all the hurdles we still have to overcome to consistently deliver this to the fans and artists.
Sticking to the script, The Tribe UG provided a platform where the OGs and the “who’s next” were able to interact and share the same stage. Navio, The Mith, Lady Slyke and Babaluku graced the event. Trap’Kid Breezy, The Homie, 1der JR and seasoned rappers like Flex D’paper, TimothyCODE (the Host) all jumped in and entertained fans at home, and present service providers and partners. It was fantastic, you had to be there. We also witnessed Flex D’paper sign-off by telling us the release date (December 10th 2021) for his debut album “Kampala Boy.” The album dropped and it’s been critically acclaimed since.
Appreciating all these artists on stage after many months of banned concerts was a joy. The nostalgia was overwhelming, but seeing what the show runners were able to do presented a modern perspective; we can still entertain fans through their screens as long as what they receive is worth their screen time. From conversations with the artists, there was a deep appreciation for the event and the platform it presented. It was a beacon of hope that our industry still has the energy and the factions to make it grow beyond the stagnation it has been described with.
Trap’Kid and The Homie received plaques that recognized their remarkable talents and to mark the completion of their mentorship by Navio. MTN Uganda in addition received a plaque from The Tribe UG in appreciation for their unrelenting support for UG Hip-Hop.
On balance, this event was timely and well-executed. As they open the outside, let’s retain what was done on this day and set out to make UG Hip-Hop events bigger. The standards we do not set for UG Hip-Hop are part of why it’s often prematurely announced dead. We are capable! Oh! there were drinks and snacks too… what’s a UG event without those!