Meet Jimmy X, the new Hip-hop kid on the block

Jimmy X is a young Rwandan upcoming hip-hop artiste.  He was born in Tanzania 21 years ago and has recorded over four songs that are getting massive air play on various radio stations. He is a member of the music group Members of Peace “M.O.P”. The New Times’ Dean Karemera had a chat with the hip hop sensation about his career journey, challenges and what he has in store for his fans. 
Jimmy X.
Jimmy X.

Jimmy X is a young Rwandan upcoming hip-hop artiste.  He was born in Tanzania 21 years ago and has recorded over four songs that are getting massive air play on various radio stations. He is a member of the music group Members of Peace “M.O.P”The New Times’ Dean Karemera had a chat with the hip hop sensation about his career journey, challenges and what he has in store for his fans. 

How did your parents react when you told them that you wanted to get into music?
My parents knew about my love of music but it was always hard for me to convince them. When we founded M.O.P, I had my friends to help me convince them. They accepted but under one condition; to complete my education. I agreed to this and they gave me their blessing. 
When did you start recording songs?
I started recording when I was 11 years old. I recorded a freestyle album but I wasn’t interested in promoting it because I still had to complete my studies at APACE Secondary School. During my S.6 holidays, I recorded my first song- Underground Komeza with producer Lick-Lick. 
What happened after that?
I wrote several songs but I didn’t record them due to financial problems. Later, I met other guys and we created a group “M.O.P”. We were nine guys then. Currently, we are only five members. Some members left to pursue further studies whereas others left to start solo careers. 
How many songs have you recorded as a group?
So far, the remaining five members have recorded eight songs which include two songs that we did before the other members left. Our songs are currently playing on radio stations but we are yet to start shooting the videos. 
Do you have any songs as a solo artiste?
I do. As a group, we decided to let people do solo projects as a way of getting better but we usually come back as a group and record songs together. As a solo artiste I have five songs that include, Iby’Isi, Candidature, Umwana Wangwa and Ijisho rya rubanda. All my songs are played on radio stations around the country. 
Aren’t you scared of the stiff competition in the hip-hop industry?
I think that the stiff competition is a good thing because it will bring out the best in me. I have gained experience from my group and I will rely on it to help me make it as a solo act. 
You sound determined, when should we expect an album launch?
I’m writing other songs now and if all goes well, I will be launching towards the end of this year and I will also release all the music videos. I have exciting ideas that I’m using to make sure I produce a great hip-hop album. 
How would you rate the music industry in Rwanda now?
The music industry in Rwanda has grown tremendously in the last 15 years. I have noticed that the quality of music produced has improved and we have good music videos. There’s still a lot to be done but so far, so good. On the down-side, I don’t like the verbal fights among music artistes. This is not the time to be fighting but rather to help each other grow in the music industry. There are several stories about feuding artistes in neighbouring countries that have resulted into bodily harm; I don’t think that is what we want here. 
What is your dream?
The sky is the limit for me. I want to complete my education first and embark on my various projects. I want to improve the hip-hop industry in Rwanda, work with international musicians and help the youth who want to join the industry. 
Any challenges?
The main challenge is getting financial support. I’m planning to continue with my education but I find it hard to raise tuition as well as enough capital to pursue my music career. This is the main reason we haven’t been able to hold a concert as a group. Many companies we approach only want to deal with established artistes, I appeal to companies to help upcoming artistes too. 

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