WHO IS GNL Zamba??

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GNL Zamba, born Ernest Nsimbi, is a popular and influential hip hop artist in Uganda, credited[2] with bringing rap and Lugaflow style of music to mainstream radio and other media in Uganda.

His stage name, GNL, is short for “Greatness No Limits”. He is the founder and CEO of the independent hip hop record label Baboon Forest Entertainment, which nurtures new talent in Kampala, Uganda.[4] He is also an actor, filmmaker, and ambassador for Ugandan brands and social initiatives.[5]

He began his professional music career in 2007, after completing a bachelor’s degree in environmental science at Makerere University in Uganda. He was originally signed to Platinum Entertainment, and formed his own company Baboon Forest Entertainment in 2008.

Music style and career

GNL sings in urban Ugandan hip hop style called Lugaflow. Lugaflow is rap in Luganda, the indigenous language in Uganda’s Central Region. Since the late 2000s, Lugaflow has inspired a new generation of Ugandan rappers to create popular music in their native language.

GNL provides his lyrics in both Luganda and English. He auditioned for HIPHOP CANVAS in 2005 and 2008, organized by Platinum Entertainment’s Shadrak Kuteesa. In these multilingual projects, GNL stood out by engaging audiences with locally relevant stories in Luganda, with lyrics that addressed Ugandan social issues.[9] GNL Zamba was first recorded as part of the award-winning song “MotherAfrica”, released by Hip Hop Canvas in 2005.[10] He released his first mainstream album, Koyi Koyi, in 2009; it was praised[11] for bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary sound. GNL Zamba has toured around Africa, Europe, and North America, performing at various festivals and conventions. He is also credited with inspiring the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to release his first single, “You Want Another Rap”.[12]

Discography

Dreaming in Colour (in production 2016)[13]

I Am Zamba / Ceazar, 2014[14]

The Renaissance / Uganda Yaffe, 2013[15]

Speaking Vernacular, 2011[16]

Koyi Koyi (Riddles of Life), 2009

Social campaigns

GNL participated in Friend A Gorilla, an Oxfam-sponsored campaign about environmental education with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. His song “Story ya Luka” was selected by the Uganda Ministry of Health to headline a 2010 AIDS youth education campaign. His video collaboration for “True Manhood” with Young Empowered And Healthy (YEAH) Uganda encouraged Ugandan youth to use condoms, and it won the People’s Choice Digital Media Award at the 2011 International Entertainment Education Conference. Over a three-year period, GNL worked with Buzz Teenies to tour Ugandan schools, offering youth mentorship, encouraging social unity and staying in school.[22] In 2014, the Twaweza Initiative awarded GNL for the positive social impact of his song “We Cry”, which speaks about street violence and safe sex. Since 2013, GNL has partnered with Reach A Hand Foundation Uganda to participate in a series of youth edutainment campaigns. He has been invited to lecture at Makerere University‘s College of Humanities on oral literature and ethnology.

Music awards

2014 – Twaweza Best Social Impact Through The Arts Award (Win)

2014 – Zina Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Nomination)

2014 – Hipipo Awards: Best Hip Hop Artist (Nomination)

2014 – Rising Star Awards: Best Hip Hop Artist (Nomination)

2013 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Group (Win)

2013 – Club Music Video Awards: Video of the Year (Win)

2013 – Club Music Video Awards: Best Male Video of the Year (Win)

2013 – Kadanke Awards: Best Group (Win)

2013 – Kadanke Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Win)

2013 – Kandanke Awards: Artist of the Year (Nomination)

2013 – Kandanke Awards: Best Male Artist (Nomination)

2013 – Kandanke Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Nomination)

2012 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Male Artist (Win)

2012 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Nomination)

2012 – Kandanke Awards: Artist of the Year (Nomination)

2011 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Hottest group (Win) * Baboon Forest[27]

2011 – International Education Conference: People’s Choice Digital Media (Win)

2011 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Win)

2011 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Single (Nomination)

2011 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Male Artist (Nomination)

2011 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Artist of the Year (Nomination)

2010 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Win)[28]

2010 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Hood Rapper (Win)

2010 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Artist of the Year (Nomination)

2010 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Male Artist (Nomination)

2010 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Group (Nomination)

2010 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Single (Nomination)

2010 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Song of the Year (Nomination)

2010 – Kisima Awards, Kenya: Best Hip Hop Artist & Single (Nomination)

2009 – Pearl of Africa Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Win)

2009 – Press Association Awards: Artist of the Year (Win)

2009 – Pearl of Africa Music Awards: Best Single (Nomination)

2009 – Uganda Buzz Music Awards: Best Male Artist (Nomination)

2005 – Pearl of Africa Awards: Best Hip Hop Single (Win)

Personal life

Born Ernest Nsimbi in 1986 in Uganda’s Mukono district to a technical electrical engineer and civil servant, GNL Zamba was first encouraged toward music by his grandmother, a leader in the church choir. The family settled into Kampala city’s Kawempe slum following the Ugandan civil war, at a time of continuing instability and poverty, which shaped the upcoming artist into a storyteller who drew inspiration from the struggle of his youth. In secondary school, GNL served as the head writer of The Kiira Mirror, a member of the debate team, and chairman of the junior literature club.[30] He went on to graduate with honours from Makerere University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management. Through the success of his music career, GNL was able to open a sports bar and bought land around Uganda.

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