Rapper Babou back after 4-year hiatus

Babou performs at KigaliUp festival in 2014. / Courtesy

Remember the "baby rapper" Babou who rose to fame around 2010? Well, he is back after completing his secondary studies.

 The rapper, real name, Arnold Shema, aka Babou has all his eyes on picking up where he stopped in music about four years ago.


The 19-year old last week released his new song ‘Free Style’ in which he is heard singing his own rendition of U.S rapper Dr Dre’s ‘What’s the Difference’ featuring Eminem.


The teen rapper says he is now ready to relaunch his musical career and regain his fan base after taking a hiatus from music to focus on his studies.


Babou started singing at the age of eight‭.‬

“This song serves as a reminder to my audience that Babou of the 2010s is still in the music industry. I have more songs in the pipeline. I also know I have to work hard to continue where I stopped,” he told The New Times in an interview on Monday.

The rapper made a name for himself in Rwanda’s Hip Hop industry at a tender age when he was a primary four student at Camp Kigali Primary School but eventually took a break in 2014 to pursue his secondary studies at College Saint Andre Nyamirambo.

At just eight years of age, Babou stamped his name on Rwanda’s music scene, with his talent earning him a recording deal at The Future Production (TFP) records, alongside then big music figures like Daddy Cassanova, Faycal Kode and rappers Riderman and MC Mahoniboni and among others.

“It was amazing to see myself recording songs alongside the artistes who were my role models in music. I was a kid, but my management really did a great job to help me balance music and studies,” he said.

He recorded his very first song, ‘That’s My Name’ in 2008, a song to mark his excellence in school. His Uncle Jerome Paterson saw the talent in him and took up the task to be his manager.

Babou’s parents agreed to let him keep doing music but on condition that he keeps performing well in his studies.

The young rapper made studies his top priority much as he loved the music, hence the decision to take a sabbatical. Once it was all done, he would go back to the studio. He revealed that R&B singer Tom Close inspired him to work hard to achieve big things both in music and studies.

“I was doing music as a reward for performing well at school and I never complained about it because I knew Tom Close won Primus Guma Guma Superstar while he was a University student and that motivated me to do both music and studies without one affecting the other,” he said.

Many people, including artistes, were surprised by Babou’s rap talent and confidence while recording songs and his songs like “Rimwe Kabiri”, “Do It” and “So much to say” among others gained huge airplay on local radio stations, earning him a chance to perform at big concerts including Tuff Gangs and Urban Boys’ maiden album launches at Petit Stade, Remera and National University of Rwanda’s auditorium in Huye.

The rapper has come of age‭.‬

Babou, who is also among artistes who featured in producer Zizou Alpacino’s all-star song ‘Arambona Agaseka’ produced in 2012, the same year he scooped the Salax Awards prize as the ‘Best Teen Artist’ of the year, in recognition of his quick rise through the music ranks.

“I miss those great moments I had on stage when I was young few years back and I want to carry on and do even better because I still have what I takes to come back to my best. I want people to see me as a grown person both in age and musically,”

In 2017, he put music aside and turned his full-time focus on my studies.

“But now that I finished secondary school education, I want to be back stronger and better. I miss my fans so much and I am aware I need to work hard to regain my fan base,” he said.

Babou was compared famous Young Rappers like Lil Bow Wow and Tanzania’s Mr Blue. It remains to be seen if he will defy the odds and shine as grown up teenager, matching his child stardom.


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