Christian Rukundo Nsengimana, also known as Chriss Eazy, is a hip-hop artiste on the rise, with hopes of being globally renowned one day. The 20-year-old also makes music videos and has produced quite a number of videos for some local artistes. Weekender’s Joan Mbabazi had a chat with him about his career, inspiration, and life in general. Excerpts; What first got you into music? The first thing that got me into music was the moment that I used to see big artistes performing on stage with cheer and support from the audience. That’s what I yearned to be. I pictured myself on stage with a big following. But also, I would sing along to some of my favourite jams and all I needed was to perfect it because I was certain I had the talent already. Take us through your video-making journey. I launched a filmmaking company called ‘Eazy Filmz’ and started my music career in 2015. In 2016, I attended a competition dubbed “Talent Zone” and among the 342 rappers, I scooped first place. One of the rewards I received was a paid internship at a film school called IBTC Film. After the internship, I did research online and learned more skills in making videos and films. How would you describe the music you create? My music is based more on creativity than just singing or mastering the lyrics. I love going with the flow and making sure that the people that listen to it are enjoying both the beat and the message. What is your creative process like? Making a creative video is the first thing that takes my hard attention, for example; making sure that I create my own ideas that the audience will feel satisfied with. Who is your inspiration and why? American rapper Kendrick Lamar inspired me a lot, especially the time he released his song “DNA”. The song made a big change in my music career, and I even made a cover of that very song. Everything about that song was superb, from the lyrics, video, creativity, working as a team, to rapping style. I was engrossed. I view myself in him someday. How many songs have you released? Are you under any management? I have many, solos and collaborations. Some of these include, “Ese Urabizi”, “Uziko Usetsa”, “Yozefina”, “Fimbo”, “Hateless”, “Cyimpe”, “DNA”, “Ibyose Nibiki”, “Yallah”, “Ndimurugamba”, “Ni 4”, “Kumunsi Wanyuma”, “Gift”, “Nakazi Kanjye”, among others. I work with a crew known as the Octagons and my official producer is AoBeats. I am under a label called Giti Business Group, founded by Junior Giti. What’s it like juggling music and videos, any challenges yet? Doing music and videos is a little complicated even though I love them both. But of course challenges are always there. Some of the challenges I faced when I had just started were the loss of my father yet he was my big fan. I became weak and almost gave up on singing. I’d hoped he would have seen how talented I was because he loved music. My relatives at first discouraged me from rapping as they thought I was taking ‘a path of drugs’ and destroying my future. But thank God my mother had faith in me. She stood with me because she believed I was talented. My mother’s blessings and support keep me moving. I am glad that I can now provide some necessities for my family through music. In the beginning, I lacked connections and my music was not circulating as fast as I wanted it to. But now there is a difference because I have more fans and my music is played on radio and television stations. Tells us some of the music videos you have produced so far. Some of these include “Seka” by Niyo Bosco, “Nahawe Ijambo” by Vestine and Dorcas, “Amazing” by Jack B featuring Bree, “Amazi Yabasoda” by Byina Trap, “Urubavu by Derrick, “Shenge” by Kent Dorral, “Cyore” by Fabrass, “Feel the music” by Labiah, “Twende” by Fabrass and so forth, including my own and other Rwandan dance videos. I have made this happen with the big support of my close people and my team Legacy Nation, Sinta and Samy, and Akram Ihaji. Who would you most like to collaborate with, locally and internationally? Actually, in my career, locally I would like to collaborate with Bruce Melody and internationally, my dream is working with Kendrick Lamar. They are both talented. What is your view on hip-hop in the local industry (as a genre mostly considered for the young)? At this moment, the view of hip-hop in our industry is much better than before. Then, hip-hop was viewed as a genre for spoiled youth who deal in drugs and other weird behaviour. But now, hip-hop artistes are earning respect and income from their work, an indication that the population is enjoying and feeling the real vibes of hip-hop. Even the elderly are now enjoying it and dancing along when it’s played. What other hip-hop artistes do you think represent your craft? Locally, there is Racine, Ish Kevin, Papa Cyangwe, King Ohallah and many others. You did some work in film, what exactly and why did you stop pursuing films? I was into producing movies. After the internship I told you earlier, I produced some short movies that I didn’t release because I thought I was more talented in music. The very reason why I stopped producing movies is that in our country, movie production doesn’t have enough income and patrons as needed. That is why I paused it for some time. I am focusing more on music production because it’s more profitable as I am assured there are videos to shoot more often, compared to films. But in case of any filming deal, my team and I are ready to take it on. I am more focused on music videos, adverts and documentaries.