For some time now, one of the country’s popular rappers and hip hop artiste Jay Polly, real name Joshua Polly Tuyishime, has been missing in action.
Shortly after winning Primus Guma Guma Super Star Season 4 music competition in 2014, the rapper disappeared from the limelight, but he would occasionally release a song or feature in a collaboration project with another artiste.
His fans had started to worry but three years later, Jay Polly is returning with his sixth album titled Nta Mpaka. He has already released several songs from the album and it is clear the rapper is moving away from only doing hip hop to incorporate other styles.
While talking about the new direction he is taking with his music by fusing hip hop with Afrobeat and RnB, the rapper says his new album addresses the challenges the country’s music industry faces, particularly the hip hop genre.
“It has become difficult to record and sell an only hip hop song and this is a direction hip hop has taken globally,” said Jay Polly.
In Rwanda, the Afro-hip-hop culture took off around 2003 with several rappers gaining fame.
However, the past couple of years have seen other genres like R&B, pop, reggae, dancehall and traditional folk gaining more popularity.
Jay Polly’s new album, Nta Mpaka, fuses modern R&B, Afro beat and pop melodies. The album has a noticeable change from his previous tracks.
His previous five albums are Umwami Uganje (2012), Iwacu (2012), Rudasumbwa (2013), Ikosora (2014) and Ubuzima Bwanjye (2016). They were characterised by an aggressive rap tone.
However, the albums did not gain as much recognition despite him working with popular rapper Ama G the Black on a track titled Ubuzima Ubwanjye, which failed to win over fans.
A concert for the Ubuzima Ubwanjye album, which took place on August 26 last year, wasn’t successful. Only a few devoted fans showed up at Petit Stade in Remera, confirming the declining fortunes of the two rappers.
Jay Polly’s new album comprises several songs like Niyibizi, Too Much, Nta Mpaka among others.
The 29-year-old has written songs that highlight the ills facing the music industry such as hypocrisy, infighting and bickering especially among hip hop artistes, which he says is responsible for the decline of hip hop.
Jay Polly says local hip-hop artistes haven’t led exemplary lives and worse still, the music being released lately isn’t inspiring audiences.
“If someone releases a full album that has songs with insulting lyrics, many people will be put off it,” he said, adding, “Radio stations used to promote us at one point, but this changed. We need to mature as hip hop artists to win back their confidence,” he said.
Jay Polly started off in the Tuff Gangs, a local hip hop group, with the other members being Bull Dogg, Fireman, Green P and P-Fla. In 2012, P-Fla left the group after infighting. The group separated in 2014.
After Jay Polly won the Primus Guma Guma Super Star Season 4 music competition in 2014, the differences in the group worsened.
The rap group members blamed Jay Polly for the group splitting up and accuse him of putting himself above them and trying to dominate them, a claim he denies.
“If people don’t want to co-operate and work with you, you move on. It was not good for fans to see us fighting,” he said, adding that it was a case of egos clashing.
The award winning artiste says he has released a number of collaborations with Urban Boys, Uncle Austin, Bruce Melodie, Khalfan, Marina among others.
Jay Polly worked with a number of producers for his new album including Washington (Uganda), Junior Multi System and Fazzo (Rwanda).
The rapper is in talks to work with regional artistes like Kenya’s Jaguar and Nameless, Uganda’s Radio and Weasel among others. He is confident that this new album will propel him back to the top.
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