A founder, director, rapper AND a Parliament member Mr. II aka Sugu aka 2Proud does it all. His real name being Joseph Mbilinyi, Mr II was born on May 1st, 1972 in Songeo, Tanzania. He is best known for being a hip-hop musician and a politician. He is the member of parliament for Mbeya Urban constituency in Tanzania.
Mr. II is known as one of the pioneering artists in Tanzanian hip-hop. Mr. II began rapping in 1990 while still in school. He is known for being the first Tanzanian rap artist who was successful with his music. Rapping in Swahili, he released his first album “Ni Mimi” in 1995 and followed with “Ndani ya Bongo” the next year. With more albums releasing after that, he became one of the artists with the biggest discography in Tanzanian hip-hop.
In his music, Mr. II expressed his opinions and views on Tanzanian politics. He spoke greatly on social inequalities and politics. His lyrics touched on issues ranging from immigration, prostitution and the dire straits of street children. He became known to a diverse audience ranging from people in rural areas to older people. This was due to the messages and dedication in his music which was evident in the quality. He appears in an award-winning 30-minute documentary titled “Hali Halisi” (a Swahili expression meaning “real situation”) in which the struggles of street life and the harsh conditions of the government, prisons, and judicial system are depicted.
Mr. II was elected as the member of parliament for Mbeya Urban constituency on a Chadema party ticket during the 2010 elections. He was re-elected for the same position in 2015. He was recently arrested for allegedly holding a meeting where he was speaking to Tanzanian citizens. He apparently spoke works that could disrupt the peace in that region. He was listening to people’s grievances which shows that even though he no longer makes music, he is still invested in exposing the oppressive system. He continues to stand by his songs narratives about oppression by the system, the corruption and police brutality
As a strong advocate of the need for less corrupt governments and non-oppressive systems, I greatly appreciate Mr. II’s dedication to staying true to his roots and his narratives.