“I want To Go International” – Teenage Rapper KODE 8 Talks About Music And Life

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” says Multi-Award winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyang’o. And indeed she is definitely right especially when it comes to talent-based career aspirations. With the recent wave of young artistes joining the music industry, especially young fresh talent, the future of the Ugandan music industry looks bright.

Following the success stories of Luga-flow rappers, Fresh Kid  and Stone Age, singers as well as dance crews like the Ghetto Kids and Masaka Kids, the massive wave of child singers storming the industry in recent times paints a promising picture for the industry.

Speaking of dreams and new entrants, one such promising fresh talent to announce her entry onto the scene is KODE 8 who recently released her debut song titled ‘Cuppa’. The song, already uploaded on YouTube, is a Hiphop banger with an ‘Old School’ feel that dates back to the 80’s and 90’s when the industry was an African- American affair. It is basically characterized by the simpler rapping techniques of the then golden times where the general focus was on party related subject matter and daily life occurrences.

Her type of hiphop has a slow flow and rhythm, usually done as a ‘feel good’ for a party mood to forget life’s challenges. It is noted for its relatively simple rapping techniques with use of equally few syllables per bar of music and relatively simple rhythms.

The 13-year old rapper while speaking exclusively to proudly says, she is old enough to see the world in a different dimension and chooses to rap or sing about the daily happenings and challenges that come with it today. ‘Cuppa’ [pronounced as Koopa] is a high school slang for tea, used to describe life. The song is about the young rapper’s experiences and encounters in life like hooking up a ride on UBER as a means of transport during tight situations.

KODE 8 whose real name is Anena Elsie Opiro, is a form one student at St. Mary’s Kitende. She says she chose the name KODE 8 because of the magical number 8 which is like her lucky number. “I had a passion for music ever since I was young.  I started dreaming of doing music at a very young age and have always wanted to do music but I had decided to take it seriously at the age of 8”. She says with big a smile.

However, things didn’t work out as planned due various reasons till she joined secondary. The opportunity finally struck when students were sent home because of the coronavirus outbreak and KODE 8 decided to use this chance to write and record her first song.

KODE 8 says she wants to pursue music as a career.

Asked why she dressed up in a mask which conceals her identity in the artwork for the song ‘Cuppa’, she explains that she wanted to enter the scene with swag.”Being my first song, I wanted to be mysterious but I have since dropped that”. She narrates with a cheeky laugh.

Several artistes have inspired her in her young musical journey; including Nigerian singer and rapper Divine Ikubor also known as REMA and Ugandan Hiphop star Rowland Kaiza aka Big Trill as well as veteran Hiphop icon Daniel Kigozi aka Navio whom she looks up to “Because they mostly rap in English, and I like the flow of their music”.

“My style of music is mostly Hiphop with a blend of RnB. I wanted to be Unique that’s why I chose this style and not Lugaflo which is the direction taken by most upcoming rappers in Uganda”.

She says she has been helped in this journey so far by her sister Renah who also doubles as her manager, as well as parents Grace and John Opiro. “I want to pursue music as a career and take it to international level and not only for Ugandans but the rest of the world”. She proudly says.

At the moment, the lanky rapper is only focusing on solo projects though she admits she has appreciated work done by other child-rappers like Freshkid and Stone Age. “I am not thinking of any collabos at the moment. May be in future” She firmly adds.

Being at home, KODE 8 says when she is not doing music, she mostly spends her time, doing homework, revising notes, reading textbooks and checking out what is happening in the rest of the world via social media, on her smart phone.

She plans to feature in her maiden show and go to different places after the measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 are lifted. She asks Chano8 readers to follow her on social media @Kode8 and check out her Audio on YouTube by clicking the link below;


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