The talented youth that emerged top 5 from the MTN Pulse Hip Hop awards under the cypher challenge category this year have premiered their debut rap song as a group, titled “Bikaaye”. 

MTN Uganda introduced the MTN Pulse Cypher challenge to discover, nurture, and support raw talent in the hip-hop industry by providing young talented artists with a platform to showcase and achieve their dreams

This platform gave the youth an opportunity to showcase their rapping and musical skills which has in turn given them a chance to work with a top industry producer, Benon Mugumbya of Swangz avenue. 

Over the weekend, the five winners namely; Allan Watikha aka the champion, Ibrahim Balunywa, Missy Anena, Lord Thiko and Mootownoh alongside Benon Mugumbya of Swangz Avenue premiered their debut rap single dubbed “Bikaaye” in an exclusive listeners’ party held at the Drop restaurant & bar in Muyenga.

“Bikaaye” which can be loosely translated as “Things have become tougher” was written and produced by the top five winners of the MTN pulse hip hop cypher awards in collaboration with Swangz avenue. The song is a reflection of the everyday hustler’s life, that pushes the youth to brave the challenging times of economic hardships in the country according to Allan Watikha.

“The experience has been massive, I thought after the competitions everyone was going to go their own way but MTN gave us a platform to express ourselves and reach a wider audience. MTN pulse kept us together and tipped us on the new opportunities that can push us to higher levels. Now here we are premiering our own record song” said Watikha.

Missy Anena Ochola alias King Missy, the only girl in the top five winners expressed her gratitude to the organizers of the challenge affirming that this experience has helped her step into her own as a rapper and recognize what she too has to offer in the music industry.

“Being the only girl in this challenge has built my confidence and esteem. I feel encouraged and hope that I can inspire many young girls out there who think rapping is only for boys. I thank MTN and Swangz avenue for encouraging me and considering my creativity in the hip hop industry, I can’t wait to grow big and better,” said Anena.

Faiza Fabz Salima the MTN Pulse Ambassador, said that one of the best opportunities MTN has given to Ugandan Youth is a platform that speaks to their ambitions and dreams and allows them to prove they too can make it out there in the world.

Balunywa thanked MTN for giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the gravity of their talents as rappers and be able to show the world what they can do.

“It is such an honour and delight to see young people do what they love and work towards making their dreams a reality,” Salima said.

MTN Uganda is committed to providing the benefits of a modern connected world and harnessing the youth’s potential to reach their desired goals through its youth platform, MTN Pulse.

Additionally, MTN Pulse has Dope Deals and Dope Life for the youths. Simply download the MTN Pulse App and join Pulse Nation where you get discounts on an array of MTN products and services as well as those from their partners such as Safe Boda, Jumia, KFC and Cake nation among others.








 It was a display of the glitz and glam at Uganda’s biggest hip-hop night at the 2022 MTN UG Hip-Hop awards as MTN unveiled this edition’s winners on Saturday.

The UG Hip-Hop awards were created to recognize and celebrate the talent and hard work of artists in Uganda’s hip-hop industry. MTN has partnered with the platform in recognition of their appeal amongst the youth segment.

To ensure sustainability of the music genre, MTN introduced the MTN Pulse Cypher challenge to discover, nurture and support new talent in the hip-hop industry through providing young talented artistes a platform to showcase their Hip-Hop prowess. 

This year, the 5 final contestants of the MTN Pulse Cypher challenge faced off to see the winner take home UGX2million, while the second and third walked away with UGX1.5million and UGX1million respectively.

Allan Wathika, alias Triggah emerged the winner of the Cypher challenge while Ibrahim Balunywa, alias Ebrahim Soul’o and Anena Missy Ochola alias King Missy were the first and second runner-up in this year’s competition.

Filled with joy and excitement, Triggah thanked MTN for the initiative to support young artists saying he is going to use the prize money to further his music ambitions.

“I am extremely happy to have won. I am going to use this money to push my music career further. I am very thankful to MTN for this platform and I urge every Ugandan out here to continue supporting MTN because it supports us a lot,” he appreciated.

In a surprise twist, and in recognition of their efforts and skills, MTN Pulse offered a consolation prize of UGX650,000 to the other 2 contestants each as well as 20GB Freedom data bundles to all the top 5 contestants.

SafeBoda, one of MTN Pulse partners, offered cashless giveaways to the top 3 and Safe Boda helmets to each of the 5 as well as 5 tickets to Orange Vibes at Cinemax.

In addition, the 5 final contestants of the MTN Pulse Cypher challenge received a chance of a lifetime when Swangz Avenue, a renowned production powerhouse, offered them a collabo for free.

This year’s awards winners are:

Album of the year – Kraccbone – Ego

Male artist of the year – Navio – 30 seconds to Hollywood

Female artist of the year – STONE AGE UG – KIMALA NEKIGWA

Rookie of the year – Zedmonk Ssabatontomi – Work si myaka

Inspirational song of the year – AJ Stylz ft. Spyda MC – Nkowola

Song of the year – The Mith ft. Herbert Ssesamba – I GIVE HER LOVE

The collaboration of the Year – Lagum the Rapper ft. Bangi – Catching Flights

Rap Fusion of the Year – Keinoh – Dior

Video of the year – Keinoh – Drip

Best Producer – 207

African Artist of the year – Khaligraph Jones

Eastern Uganda artist of the year – AJ Stylz – Put in the work

Northern Uganda artist of the year – Judas Rapknowledge da Akbar – Heart Of Hannibal Barca

Western Uganda artist of the year – Crazie wispa – Mwebale /Thank you

Central Uganda artist of the year – Felista di superstar

Lyricist of the year – Lyrical G – Sikyasaaga (The L-Matic)

Hip Hop Deejay of the Year – DJ Victor 256

Mixtape of the year personality of the year – Kavali King – 16 track tape

Sweet Sixteen – 207 – Abajega

Media personality – Calvin the Entertainer

Special Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award – Steve Jean

Following 5 years of successfully organising the MTN UG Hip-Hop awards, MTN has today launched the sixth edition of the MTN UG Hip-Hop awards which promise to be superior to those before.

The 2022 Hip-Hop awards which will be held on Saturday, 28th May 2022 with the aim of recognizing accomplished hip-hop artists, will also uplift virgin talent through the MTN Pulse Cypher challenge.

According to Hellen Kirungi, the MTN Uganda youth segment manager, the MTN Pulse Cypher, which allows new and undiscovered talent to showcase their abilities in an online Hip-Hop rap battle has this year been elevated to another level. This year the winner of the MTN Pulse Cypher will take home UGX2million, while the second and third walk away with UGX1.5million and UGX1million respectively.

To take part in the MTN Pulse Cypher and stand a chance to win the prize money, Pulsers are required to download the MTN Pulse Cypher beat from the MTN Pulse microsite, record a one-minute video of themselves rapping to the beat and then upload the video on Instagram or Twitter and tag MTN with the hashtag #MTNPulseCypher

It is based on these submissions that judges will select the top 10 contenders who will face-off in the MTN Pulse studio to later inform the choice of the top 5 finalists whose videos will be shared online for voting by the public.

Organized by UG Hip-Hop Awards with support from MTN and co-sponsors including Mountain Dew and Magic TV, the MTN UG Hip-Hop awards seek to celebrate and amplify the growth of the hip-hop music industry which is predominantly comprised of the youth in Uganda. In the same spirit of supporting Uganda’s Hip-Hop industry, MTN in 2020 sponsored the first televised rap battles that saw several rappers pitched against each other culminating into the discovery of new talent in the country.

Win UGX. 2M with the MTN Pulse Cypher Competition. Download the beat here.


 The MTN UG Hip Hop awards, the annual event that recognises and celebrates growth in the music genre in the country are back with the 5th edition 2021 scheduled to take place on 16th May 2021.

MTN Pulse has kicked off this year’s edition with the release of nominees for the various categories that will then be awarded at the award ceremony. Voting for the hip hop stars is now officially open exclusively on the MTN Pulse microsite

Hellen Kirungi, the MTN Youth Segment Manager noted that Hip Hop remains a popular genre of music in Uganda among the youth, which informs MTN’s continued support towards its growth.

“Hip Hop is a music genre that continues to take centre stage in Uganda among the youth. Many young people have taken it up and are doing very well for themselves. Hip hop allows them to express themselves and be who they want to be without limits. This is what we are about at MTN Pulse. We are about creating a community of likeminded people who want to live life without fear or limits and that’s why we are happy to be part of these awards every year,” Kirungi said.

This year marks the fifth year that MTN Uganda has backed the Hip Hop industry organise these awards. In 2020, MTN sponsored the first televised rap battles that saw several rappers pitched against each other in battle categories that included battles on the street, free style and in the forest, among others.

Kirungi noted that the 2021 awards will feature the Pulse Nation Cypher competition that will allow new and undiscovered talent to showcase their abilities in an online rap battle.

In the Pulse Nation Cypher challenge, participants will be required to download the MTN Pulse Cypher beat from the microsite under the Pulse tube, record a one-minute video of them rapping to the beat for one minute with the mention of MTN pulse Nation at least once, and then upload the video on the MTN Pulse microsite.  Participants will be required to rally their fans and friends to go to to vote for them by liking their video. The video with the highest engagement gets to win 1,000,000 UGX on the Awards night. The 1st Runner up will walk away with 800,000, 2nd runner up with 600,000 and 400,000 to the pulser in the 4th position.

Hellen continued to say that from previous years, there has been immense talent realisation among the youth that was kick stated by these Pulse Cypher competition a case in point is Racheal Rey, Ghetto Upgrade, and many more to come.

UG Hip hop awards organizer, Afsa Umutesi said that with MTN’s support, the industry has continued to record steady progress with Hip Hop artists getting favourable airplay on local radio and television stations.

“Hip Hop artists continue to shine out there. If you listen to the top ten most requested songs on radio today, six of them will be Hip Hop artists. We are happy with this progress and would like to thank MTN for standing with us for five years in a row now,” he said.

It’s easy for youth to become MTN Pulsers by simply downloading the Pulse App, available on both google play and iOS play stores. The MTN Pulse app is an interactive platform where everything about the Pulse Nation lives including the funkiest content and offers from MTN Uganda. Simply download the MTN Pulse app and take over the world. You can also learn more about the Pulse Nation on the MTN Pulse microsite.

The wards categories this year are: