What inspired the name Benezeri? Couldn’t you find a better moniker?
My first moniker was actually Lil Ben, then Yung B’zy. But with time as I became more mature and realised that music is all about originality and uniqueness, I began to embrace my real name Benezeri.
Benezeri is the Rutoro version of Ebenezer which means “thus far has the Lord brought us (1 Samuel 7:12)”. I actually believe I wouldn’t have come this far had it not been God’s wish. I know I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I also acknowledge the fact that I have come a long way both lyrically and in terms of achievements. The last reason is I like to be as Ugandan as possible and nothing sounds better than a unique, Ugandan rap name. Okitegera?
When was the first time you picked up a mic?
The first time I picked up a microphone was in 2010. Needless to say, I forgot my lines, choked, wasn’t audible enough, was static and stationary. Kwegamba, everything that Eminem talked about in Lose Yourself. All this in front of a merciless 4000+ audience that retaliated with loud boos and unmentionable utterances. I actually considered quitting the whole rap business at that point.
But if you mean picking up a microphone in studio, that was back in 2008 as a 15-yearold student of Aga Khan High School. It was an unforgettable experience Rappers have a tendency of either writing rhymes at the back of their books or dissing teachers in dorm...
I think mine was a combination of the two. I started rapping in S.2 at Aga Khan in 2008 and it all began at the back of my class books with my boys, although the disses were directed at my colleagues and not teachers. I think this was the basis, the foundation of my flow. My strength has always been in writing and so I was unable to freestyle off the top of my head. Actually, I believe I’m a writer cum poet cum rapper.
You are alot like J.cole, he started out rapping in high school and he loved basketball, just like you. Should we warm up for a ‘Benez World’ album after here.
Haha. I’m going to be bigger than J.Cole. I’m going to be Michael Jackson. I’m just joking. Anyway, I believe it’s too early to begin making comparisons with J. Cole. J. Cole has come a long way and only time can tell whether or not I’ll soar to those heights. I’m sure there were hundreds of rappers in J.Cole’s high school days who wanted to be where he is right now, but we haven’t heard of them yet and we might never.
What I’m trying to say is out of, say, 50 aspirants in this music industry, only two make it. There are fewer people who have it than those who want it. And the strangest thing is that it’s not the best who make it. I’m sure there are many better rappers than Wiz Khalifa who want to be where he is right now. I think the difference is in the marketing. The way you strategically position yourself in the game.
Also, you must have a long term plan. The reason Chameleone, Bobi Wine, Bebe Cool and the rest are considered
superstars is not because of their songs’ lyrics or melodies, it is because of the longevity of their careers. As one wise man once said, “Man can climb to the highest limits, but he cannot dwell there long”.
So, to answer your question I do love basketball, although I love soccer as well and yes, I started out in high school. Also, I would love to have an album that does as well or even better than J. Cole’s “Cole World”. However, I’m aware that it’s not easy, but that’s what makes it a career, you have something to work for.
I can see you are getting mad love from your schoolmates. Is that not enough, or you prefer the girls, fame and the money?
I think I should actually use this opportunity to express my gratitude to every person who told me I was good enough and shouted or clapped while I was performing on stage. I owe this interview to you.
Also, the ones who said I couldn’t do it, because I would never have outdone myself to try and prove myself to you. I owe this interview to you too. Of course, I would not be content with the recognition I get from the school setting, I prefer the better things. However, honestly speaking, I could do without the girls, the fame and the money. What I would really want is to be remembered as a legend who set a good example and positively influenced many people, which resulted in the world being a better place, filled with peace and love.
You got groupies here too?
I don’t think there are groupies here man..
So what exactly inspired the track Kampala girls?
Last year, there was a period when I was composing songs for an imaginary album. I decided to put myself in the shoes of an analyst of ladies from Kampala who is spoilt for choice. So I wrote the two verses and I took them to a genius named Joe Tumwebaze a.k.a J.T in the presence of Benny Black and Olee Branch at Yego productions near KISU. The rest, as they say, is history.
You talked about stepping on stage and going blip, do you have other embarrassing moments? Apart from my 1st time on stage, God has been gracious enough to shield me from any major humiliation. I think my worst is yet to come, unfortunately.
If you hadn’t joined Vienna, where else would you want to go-and why?
If I hadn’t joined Vienna, I would have liked to go to Budo like my dad, just for the prestige that comes from being called a ‘‘Budonian’’.
You have dedicated this interview to your parents. OK, you haven’t! But should we assume they are cool with you doing rap and school at the same time?
My parents are actually my role models. From an early age, they told me I should believe in myself and pursue my dreams as long as I put God first. But I try my best not to involve them in music matters, especially financially, because they’ve done so much for me already.
Actually, I believe I inherited my writing abilities from them. I think it makes sense that an associate professor in journalism and a judge begot a poet. My primary challenge right now is to pass my finals in June so that I can make them proud.
So help me God. See you.