Our artist of the month for October is none other than the ever-rising rapper/freestylist, St. Nelly Sade. The widely acclaimed Lugaflow rapper started the campaign for his third studio album this year which has seen him release singles like “More Vim” and “Tukomyewo” that are enjoying some considerable success, especially the former but today, we are taking it back to the genesis of his career.
St. Nelly Sade was rapping by 2004 at Yale High School starting out as St. Nelly since his full name is Nelson and he was always known to be good, staying away from drugs and alcohol hence the “Saint” in his name. After losing his Finnish girlfriend Sade to lung cancer, he added her name to his stage name in honor of her memory.
He then went on to record his first song, a collaboration with AB Kale from Zanzibar called “My Lover” with the help of the producer Kiwuuwa of Grayce Records which got substantial airplay in Jinja. Having been defeated repeatedly in Hot 100 rap battles in 2008, he later joined Babaluku under Bavubuka All-stars where he started contemplating an album release even though he had no direction for it yet.
In 2009, St. Nelly Sade met Lyrical G, someone he really looked up to and the two recorded a song together called “K’akubiddewa” that later became a street anthem, going on to birth a street slang and become his first song to play on radio stations in Kampala. In the same year, he signed up for the Shadrack Kuteesa’s Hip-Hop Canvas competition and ended up amongst the top 10 finalists that included Big Tril, Before Christu (B.C.) and Bana Mutibwa (formely Burney MC) but they only got to record an album after going through another competition.
2010 was a little different seeing as he met a number of new faces after the competition such as Jungle The Man-eater, Gravity Omutujju, SP Omugunjule and BB Mawanvuwanvu amongst other and they eventually recorded a full album under Platinum Entertainment. They also got more platforms where to showcase such as WAPI at Hotel Africana organized by the British Council and Bonfire Nights at the National Theatre.
2011 came and they formed their own crew called “The Almighty Lugaflow Army” dedicated to fronting and protecting the uniqueness of rapping in indigenous languages. They recorded a couple of songs but their highlight was getting nominated for a PAM Award. With the motivation from this nomination and the numerous questions from fans about his deep Luganda, poetic rhymes and smiles during his performances, he realized that he was doing a translation of sorts and he made this the core concept for his first album.
He managed to overcome financial constraints after getting offers from different producers that believed in him such as JT from Yego, DJ Nesta from Heartbeat Records, Kron, Levy Beats from Urban Aksent plus some time at Bugaville Records in Bunga to record the album which he released in 2013. It sold at least 400 copies which showed him that he actually had support and served as a stepping stone for him.
Next Friday, we shall tell you a little bit more about his story but for now, check out his music and share it widely.