Gasirikare wins battle of rappers at inaugural Hip-hop festival

Yves Gasirikare is the new Hip-hop kid on the block. Courtesy.

Aspiring rapper, Yves Gasirikare, emerged winner of the battle of rappers at the Hip-hop festival that took place at Kimisagara Youth Centre, on December 8.

The event, organised by the Delegation of European Union in Rwanda, aimed at promoting Rwanda and Europe’s cultural ties by creating a platform for young Rwandan artistes to showcase and promote their music talent while creating new links and mutually beneficial cultural relationships.

The competition brought together 10 talented Rwandan emerging Hip-hop artistes selected from 50 entries submitted for the competition.

By 6pm the competition had kicked off, with each of the 10 contestants battling it out on stage, and performing free style before a panel of judges made up of renowned music producer Pastor P, rapper Angel Mutoni as well as Producer Takis.

The number of competitors soon reduced to six, after the first round and progressed to the next stage.

During the second round, contestants were given another chance to perform in free style, after which saw Gasirikare, Chris Eazy and Faston progress to the final round.

The final round, however, turned into a tight competition from the three finalists as the judges found it difficult to pick the winner before they announced Gasirikare as the winner of the Battle of Rappers 2019.

Upon winning the competition, the 25-year-old, known by stage name as Gas II, told The New Times that it was a victory that came by surprise.

“I was not sure about winning this competition and I was so surprised when I was announced the winner. It was a really tight competition and my opponents were too tough to beat. To be honest, Chris Eazy was my biggest threat and I would not be surprised if he won the competition because I know him well, but the jury did their job,” he reacted.

Gasirikare was rewarded a free KLM air ticket to Greece, where he will spend time with producer Takis, who will record a 12-track mixtape for him, and promotion for his composition.

To this point, Gasirikare has two singles under his belt, though he has been struggling to break into the mainstream industry.

He said the festival gave him a platform to show music lovers what he is capable of and that the journey in music begins now.

“This is an opportunity I can’t take for granted. I am going to work hard and record more songs and I believe that the future is bright if I keep moving on, “he said.

Rwanda’s Hip-hop has been struggling over the past half-decade due to a number of circumstances but, with Hip-hop festival on the block, the genre’s future proves that it can only get better.

The Hip-hop festival is part of the European Autumn of Culture, which is one of the main public programmes organised by the European Union in Rwanda.

 It follows the first Opera concert that took place in October, and the just concluded European Film Festival.

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