Saba Saba

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Saba Saba a.k.a. Krazy Native
Saba saba pic.JPG
Saba Saba
Background information
Birth name Alex Kirya
Born (1977-08-05) 5 August 1977 (age 36)
Origin Kampala, Uganda
Genres Hip Hop/African hip hop
Occupations Hip hop artist
Years active 1993 – present
Labels Independent/Tujjababya Productions
Associated acts DJ Spooky, Bataka Squad, Didier Awadi
Website [1]
Members Saba Saba, Babaluku, Tshila
Past members Momo, Shillingz, Laraat, Lyrical G

Saba Saba Day in Kenya Saba Saba, also known as Krazy Native (born Alex Kirya, 5 August 1977) is a hip-hop artist and social activist from Uganda. Saba Saba began his hip hop career in 1993 with the group Bataka Squad. Saba Saba is now a solo artist, but remains a member of Bataka Squad, along with fellow members Babaluku and Shillingz. Saba Saba, who along with Babaluku, appeared in the film Diamonds in the Rough, is currently splitting his time between Kampala, Uganda and Los Angeles, California as he continues to write, produce and perform. He released his first solo album Tujjababya the Hard Way in 2006, Bataka Revolution in 2008 with Bataka Squad, and is currently featured on 2010’s Afrolution vol. 2: the Original African Hip Hop Collection.

Biography[edit]

Born in Jinja, Uganda, during the dictatorship of Idi Amin, Saba Saba spent the early years of his life running from place to place with his family to avoid political turmoil and fighting. He went to Kabojja primary and later Kasasa Secondary where his hiphop career kicked off after he met Lyrical G, one of the members of the crew Bataka Underground - later the Bataka Squad - Bataka means 'native' in Luganda. Saba's first taste of the mic was in 1992, a few months after he saw the movie 'Wild Style', a hiphop breakdance video.

Bataka Underground / Bataka Squad period[edit]

Main article: Bataka Squad

The game changed for Saba in 1994 when he hooked up with the Bataka Underground. On the team was Babaluku, Momo MC, and Lyrical G. They were later joined by Newton, Chagga, Shillingz, Furious B from Burundi, Larat, Lyn, and Slob MC the youngest of the crew.

The Bataka crew had their first major performance in Mwanza, Tanzania and recorded their first single 'ATOOBA',written by Babaluku and produced by Mukalazi. The single was only able hit the airwaves three years later, as a result of the lack of hiphop appreciation and the negative stereotype associated with hiphop by radio stations. The song became a favorite on the underground hiphop scene and is still regarded as a Ugandan hiphop classic. The song was one of the first major hiphop songs sung in Luganda or Lugaflow, the native Ugandan language - Lugaflow.

In 1997, Bataka Underground recorded their second smash hit, `Ssesetula' which got them on a stage rampage spree across Kampala, from Club Pulsations to Lido Beach, Club Silk, Botanical Gardens, Little Flowers, Bingo Cinema, Sharing youth Center and several other locations.

In 1998, the Bataka crew continued to dominate the hiphop scene and in December, Saba beat a long list of musicians of the day including members of his crew and won the `Mr. Club Silk' Contest for his social-political ballistic rhymes of the day.

In 1999, the Bataka Crew was at the climax of their game rocking at most of the major events of the time. `Bana Beka' one of their other songs got crowds bobbing heads to the sound of one of the realest Ugandan hiphop songs.

The same year, Saba changed his style of rhyme from the braggadocio lyricist to the social political conscious rapper. They then began working on their major project, the overdue hiphop album from Bataka, `Foundation'. `The Foundation' album was released in 2000 and hit the underground hiphop scene containing songs like `Ndimubi' (Am bad), `Lets ride', `The Foundation', `Eno Ensi' (This world), the hit singles `Ssesetula' and `Atooba' and other songs.

In 2001, Saba Saba, Chizo, DJ Benarda, alongside some of the Bataka crew, went for a tour in Kigali, Rwanda and Bujumbura, Burundi. Bujumbura gave Bataka so much love and are still revered up to today. The same year, they hooked up with `Niga Soul' one of the best rap groups in Bujumbura and had several performances together in places like Havana and Casanova, Burundi.

Back from the tour in Kampala, the Bataka crew hooked up with a British rap/poetry crew by the names of `Shrine' and had two huge concerts.

Solo career[edit]

From 2002 to 2003, Bataka, was silent while Saba continued solo. Some of the members left the country, while others worked on solo projects. Babaluku released his album in Canada.

In his own words, Saba says "I'm really happy that I was there when this hiphop movement in Uganda began and I participated in all these memorable moments."

In 2003 Saba and Xenson, later joined by Jeff Ekongot, Francis Agaba, and the late Paul Mwandha, formed the Uganda Hip Hop Foundation with the mission of promoting Ugandan hip hop in Uganda and worldwide. The foundation sponsored the first Ugandan Hip Hop Summit and Concert in 2003, featuring artists from all over Uganda including Klear Kut, Bataka Squad, Lyrical G, Maurice Kirya, Vamposs and Benon, Emma Katya and Extra Mile. The Summit, held at Sabrina's in Kampala, was so successful, they have held one each year since, most recently in December 2006 organized by Babaluku with help from the Bavubuka All Starz.

In 2004 Saba performed as a delegate of the Uganda Hiphop Foundation at the `Rock against Aids' concert in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 2005 Saba Saba changed his stage name from Krazy Native to Saba Saba to reflect his growth as an artist and his increased political and social consciousness of his homeland Uganda and Africa as a whole. That same year, Saba Saba and Frances Agaba represented Uganda at the UN's Global Hip Hop Summit in South Africa. Saba Saba performed at the Summit, hosted by Guru of Gangstarr and featuring .

In 2005 Saba Saba released a single and video "Tujababya". He was nominated for both best hip hop artist and best hip hop single in the 2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards.[1] By the beginning of 2006 he released the album titled `Tujjababya the hardway' which highlights the tribulations of a Ugandan hiphop artist. Songs from this album include Wansi Wagalu that addressed police brutality, and an accompanying video which documented the riots in Kampala during the 2005 presidential campaign. Tujjababya is now a hiphop community anthem celebrating the suppressions of the local hiphop artist by the main stream media.

In 2006 Saba Saba began a quest to introduce thousands of Americans to the sounds of Lugaflow and inspire dialogue about African history and the globalization of African hip hop. In April 2006 he performed at the International Trinity College Annual International Hip Hop Festival, Hartford, CT. Since performing there in April, Saba has performed in New York City at the Prospect Park African Festival alongside artists Kékélé and Lagbaja, at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, and at Syracuse University's Amnesty International Benefit Concert for Sudan. In 2006 and 2007 he performed with Michael Franti at the Power to the Peaceful festival in San Francisco.

In 2006 he was featured in the documentary Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution.[2] The documentary was produced by 3rdi aka Brett Mazurek, about the efforts of Bataka Squad members Saba Saba and Babaluku using music to inspire and bring hope to the young children of Uganda who are facing great odds, such as AIDS and poverty. He also appeared as a panelist and performer for Harvard University’s Conference "African Youth Development through Art and Technology – The Role of African Hip Hop" in 2008.

Saba is currently completing his next solo album, Cup of Coffee with... It will feature the single "Obwavu Koondo" ("Poverty and Fate") which tells the true story of Ugandan women beaten to death by her husband because of her concern over her children's fate after he sold their home. Saba Saba has recently released the single and video "Harambe".

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • 2006: Tujjababya the Hard Way
  • 2008: Bataka Revolution
  • 2010/2011: Bulaaya
  • 2010/2011: Cup of Coffee with...

Singles[edit]

  • 2003: "Tujjababya"
  • 2003: "Wansi Wagulu"
  • 2008: "Obwavu Kondo"
  • 2008: "Connect"
  • 2009: "World Mash"
  • 2009: "Uganda" w/DJ Spooky
  • 2010: "Harambe"

References[edit]

External links[edit]