The making of Bushali, Kinyatrap

Bushali thrilled fans at MTN Rwanda’s ‘Izihirwe na Muzika’ concert in Kigali. Courtesy

Jean Paul Hagenimana, aka Bushali saw 2019 make him a household name— thanks to his hit songs like Nituebue, Kinyarap, Yarababaye, Kugasima, and many others.

The same year, also saw the rapper and colleague Slum Drip, charged and spending a month in jail for drug abuse. 

“I’m a human being and in life, some things are not only just bound to happen, they are also there to teach us a lesson,” Bushali comments about the incident.

While many anticipated that the saga would taunt his career, let alone his name, Bushali, to the surprise of many, bounced back immediately after his release, to reclaim his name pulling off a massive performance at the MTN Rwanda’s ‘Izihirwe na Muzika’ concert last month.

Together with members of Green Ferry Music, a local hip-hop collective, 22-year-old is known for crafting and pioneering his new music sub-genre, locally known as Kinyatrap that has been widely accepted and embraced by both the young and old.

The Kinyatrap star proved to be a worthy one on the night of December 20, 2019, at the Petit Stade grounds, he pulled off the show with energetic performances and an eclectic mix of some of his popular songs. 

“I crafted the genre with fellow artistes, Slum Drip, B Threy, but when we started we were skeptic about where it would lead to because it was new to Rwandans. It was a risk we took on our part and we are excited and grateful about how it turned out,” he told The New Times.

Inspired by a breed of American rappers like Gucci Mane, T.I. and Young Jeezy that pioneered the hip hop subgenre of trap music, Bushali believed he could adopt the same subgenre and incorporate it into the Kinyarwanda style. This was in 2016.

He describes Kinyatrap as “Kinyarwanda hip-hop combined with some melody.”

Starting out ...

Bushali believes his fame after the song Dr Ngaji’s song- Zombi, released in 2017, in which he featured alongside other artistes from Green Ferry Music. 

He, however, launched his music career in 2013, when he joined Green Ferry Music supported by Pogatsa. Before that, he sung in church choir at Maranatha ADEPR, in Gikondo. 

“I started out singing both old school and new school hip-hop, before I ventured into Kinyatrap with Pogatsa, which was new school hip-hop with some melody,” he said.

The “Nituebue” hitmaker was dressed by Feye, a fashion label owned by Green Ferry Music.

Green Ferry Music’s successful concerts like, ‘I am hip-hop’, started by Prime Mpazimpaka helped promote many of the names in the group.

Since 2018, Green Ferry has been dropping solo albums of some of the key rappers in the fast-rising and youthful music unit, with many adopting the Kinyatrap genre.

Bushali’s first album, Nyiramubande has a few singles that gained him more popularity like Tabati, Ibitababye, Nyiramubande as well as his second 13-track- album, Kugasima. 

Besides his hit tracks, Bushali has been credited for his thrilling stage performance which he says he takes seriously for the sake of his fans.

“I say a prayer every time I get onto the stage and my family has also been my biggest support system, attending every show that I perform at. When you are happy, knowing that you have supporters, it’s only natural that you pull off a good performance,” he says.

Bushali is currently doing his third album, which he is tight lipped about the details although as a pioneer of Kinyatrap, he has big dreams for this local variation of Trap Music.

“We want Kinyatrap to grow in Rwanda and for many artistes to incorporate it in the music but we also want it to go beyond this country so we will be collaborating with several international artistes and it is happening this year,” he said.

Bushali shared the stage with his Green Ferry Music member Slum Drip (left).The concert was well attended. 

Besides music, Green Ferry also boasts of a fashion label, Feye that has been providing costumes for its artistes. This year, the plan is to promote the brand to the public.

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