Get to Know the Rwandese music Hip Hop rapper Riderman IGISUMIZI
You must have heard of ’Riderman’ at least once if you are living in Rwanda. He started becoming famous after he released his first album in 2006. And 7 years later, in 2013, he won the ’Primus Guma Guma Superstar’ which is the biggest music competition in Rwanda. He grew up listening to 2pac’s music. In the song ‘Proudly African’, he says ’"Black blood in my veins, love is my religion. I am proudly african."
Who is this artist? Let’s get to him him and his music career.
Q) You don’t sing much in English. It’s mostly in Kinyarwanda. Why is that?
Before exporting (your music to other countries), you have to make sure that you satisfy the needs of your local clients.
Q) How would you describe your style of rapping?
I can call it wordplay. Poetry actually. I use rhymes a lot. I also sing about some problems in the society. I make sure that the words are somehow technically composed very sweet to hear.
Q) What other kind of music do you listen to?
For me, before even I started music, I just liked all kinds of music such as reggae, and country music.
Q) What part of your first album do you think caught people’s hearts?
In Rwanda, there is traditional Rwandese poetry called ‘Ibyivugo’ where you talk about yourself. When I started music I tried to put traditional culture in my music to keep the tradition. When I did it for the first time, it captured their mind. When I started music, I wanted to be a guy who is going to present the poetry in my country. So ‘Ibyivugo’ is the connection between all the songs of the album.
Q) Tell us a bit about Guma Guma.
Before Guma Guma, there was no real competition in this music industry. Everyone was doing their own thing but it was not a competition. Guma Guma changed everything. At Guma Guma, I made sure that I was performing better than other artists. But your competitor is also your friend. Even after Guma Guma, life goes on. But when you get on the stage, you deliver the best of you, the best of everything.
Q) Do you get nervous before performing even if you are already a very well established artist?
Yes, I’m always nervous before every performance. Before going on stage, I am so stressed. I ask, ‘Am I going to make people love my music more than they used to?’ And my heart beats faster. I just pray ‘God, help me to do this.’ That is the main thing that helps me go over my nerves. There is a special moment I remember from the Guma Guma competition. People told me that I wouldn’t win, but I thought, even if I lose, I will deliver the best performance. When I went on stage, everything changed in the whole stadium. The crowd was going crazy and I was also going crazy with the people.
Q) Which collaboration do you enjoy the most or which artist do you want to collaborate with in the future?
For me, my friends The Album Boys. We always make some crazy collaboration.
Q) How do you make your music?
I don’t have a very strict way to make music. Sometimes I sing at home, take a book and a pen, and just write something. I also work with many producers who provide the beats. I make sure that I always have some beats to use when I am inspired.
Q) What are your current projects?
I am working on my 7th album called ‘UKURI,’ which means ‘truth’. It is the truth about everything I went through for the past 2 years. I talk about fun times, and also about some people trying to destroy me and my career.
Q) What is your definition of success?
For me, the definition of success is to have friends, people whom you can count on, people who really like you just for who you are. At the end of time, we are all going to die.
Q) What is the music market like in Kigali? How is music sold?
Usually, in Rwanda, selling music online doesn’t work very well. Some people buy CDs, make copies and upload the songs on the internet. If a person can get something for free on the internet, he is not going to buy the CD. But it’s a worldwide situation.
Q) I read also you provide the studio opportunity for other writers and artists, how does that work?
When I see someone who is talented and if he wants some help from me, I help him. Why not? Being successful is nothing more than having good relationships with others, and being able to help other people. And you may be inspired by that person too. So for me, it is a win-win situation.
Q) How about living as a rapper in Rwanda? What kind of like is that?
Some artists in developed countries, they are so rich and famous. But in Rwanda it’s different. It’s about surviving, like any other business. You win some, you lose some. For me, I consider it as having fun, and living the dream. It’s not so good, but it’s not so bad either. But we have a long way to go.
Q) How would you say your life changed after marriage?
Damn, that’s a big change. Before getting married, everyone said it is not going to fit with my life style and my career. But I’m wondering why I took so long just to get married. I should have done it before. I’m very happy. It is the real happiness that comes without the material.
Source RwandaKorea(Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Rwanda)