Hip-hop is growing in Uganda, so much so that teens are being hired to rap the nightly news and using their bars to push for social change.

Zoe Kabuye, according to Take Part, is a regular 14-year-old until it’s time to deliver her evening rhymes on NewzBeat, a Ugandan TV show that features “newsicians” and “rap-orters” to deliver the day’s news. With the rap name MC Loy, Zoe rhymes about social issues and children’s rights and has a ball.

“They say music is the food of the soul,” says Kabuye, a ninth grader at a Kampala high school. “Rap can attract somebody. You become interested in listening to the words.”

Here is a sample of her skills in a track called “Skool Revolution,” where MC Loy parses corruption, sexual abuse and corporal punishment in schools.

Defilement… I can’t imagine how heavy the case!

Keeping law and order ain’t a slogan for police to make.

You take ’em in and after a few days they are lousing out!

Allow me to extend this grudge upon the school staff.

You know you got foxes but you hide them in sheep!

What you do you pay bribes to let these teachers out.

Loy is mentored by a 28-year-old MC named Sharon Bwogi, known as Lady Slyke-one, and referred to by local press as the Uganda’s “queen of hip-hop.”

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Bwogi’s made music that focuses on “human rights, child abuse, youth empowerment, race, and peace and unity.” She pushes young girls to focus on education and calls out sketchy politicians. Bwogi’s also had to push for her place in hip-hop’s crowded male landscape.

When she started rapping professionally in 1999, Bwogi said a male counterpart told her that rapping was “a male business,” she says. “I told him, ‘Rap is a human business.’ ”

Now can Nicki Minaj rap alongside Lester Holt?


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via NewzBeat.