Who is Rashid Kasirye?
Who is Rashid Kasirye?

Who is Rashid Kasirye? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, education, work and experience of Link Up TV founder.

Rashid Kasirye is a Ugandan media personality based in the United Kingdom (UK), video producer, managing director at Brite Ide, song and creative writer, editor, photographer and founder Link Up TV one of the leading online media platforms in the UK. 

He started making music videos in 2006, and ever since then, he has created a vast array of music videos, short films, documentaries and commercials.

His company Link Up TV established itself as a leading broadcaster of music and entertainment bearing a team of videographers, editors and writers who have formed the brand.

Rashid Kasirye – Early Life and Education 

Rashid Kasirye was born in Uganda in 1987 to Ms Sarah Nakitende and Mr Yusuf Guittar. However, at the age of nine, he moved to the UK with his mum where they reside currently.

Kasirye’s early school days began in Uganda but after he left to the UK, he joined Capital City Academy London from 2000 to 2005 for his High School education and then Harrow Wealdstone College. From Harrow Wealdstone College he enrolled to the University of London and studied Media Arts.

Rashid Kasirye – Work and Experience

Rashid Kasirye founded Link Up TV based in the UK together with his co-founders; Micheal Edu, Taz Bunnett and EneaTanku. It started as a humble YouTube channel on 6 June 2008, incorporated in 2012 and today it has established itself as a leading broadcaster of music and entertainment in the UK.

Link Up TV is a brand now recognized as one of the best platforms for rising talent to develop. It has a lot of artists who have featured on the various facets of Link Up TV.

Their collective efforts have helped shine a light on prospective youngsters across the country. Link Up TV originally started as a music promotional platform. Kasirye began by filming events under a company called A2Z Raving, getting 100 euros here or there. 

However, by doing this, Kasirye’s passion for filming grew day by day. He later realized that he wanted to test his skills a bit more and filming events wasn’t yielding results of what he longed for. 

So, when Kasirye finished college, he focused more on music videos to execute his passion.

Kasirye began working with very local artists in Harlesden, one of them called Che Lingo, but every artist was a friend of a friend’s friend. At the time, the group just did it for fun, and the more artists they filmed, the better they became.

Currently, Link Up TV is the second-largest rap-based promotional YouTube channel in the United Kingdom after SB TV with over 11,111 videos uploaded, 1.8 million subscribers and 1.6 billion views.

Rashid Kasirye with William Mubiru founder flash uganda media
Rashid with William Mubiru, the founder of Flash Uganda Media. PHOTO/COURTESY

Today, Link Up is a cross-platform music hub which boasts four websites and three apps and receives over 15m hits every month.

Because Kasirye just wanted to be rich, determination and hard work helped his company succeed. “

But because it’s the internet, come tomorrow, you never really know what’s gonna come next. All can do is try your best to adapt and stay relevant – any new sound that comes, you adapt to it, any new techniques, you adapt. The ones that fall off are the ones that don’t adapt.”

For Kasirye to keep quality of his work, he makes sure he’s ever on top of technological progress and passionate about his work. 

“If every artist we put on the channel got big, then I’d be like ‘yeah cool’, but really, it’s a mixture of their talent, some luck, our skills altogether – everyone plays a big part. Without them, there’s no Link Up TV – we need them more than they need us really – that’s how I feel.”

Kasirye says the UK scene seems collaborative because they need competitors to help push them to another level. “We need more competition because competition makes people better. But when we say ‘the scene’, really we mean London. 

The UK scene’s only gonna get great when we’ve got then BugzyMalones from Manchester and ten veils of mist from Birmingham. What I like about getting out of London, is that they’re very hungry for it. I prefer the energy out there – if I say ‘we’re gonna be in Birmingham, Bull Ring, 4 pm tomorrow’, artists are gonna fly there.”

Kasirye says Link Up TV became a dominant force in UK rap because there was once a time when ‘urban’ music in Britain only existed online. Before Spotify playlists and the Official UK Charts championed rap-orientation music, the onus fell largely on platforms that had no clear route to commercialization.

The music video hub began from hosting anthems like “Karla’s Back” by Mist and Section Boyz “Trappin’ Ain’t Dead”, to their iconic Behind Barz freestyle series. So from this humble start, Link Up have become an undeniable force in British rap music over the years.

With over 5,000 videos, two apps and now a print magazine, it’s fair to say that Link Up TV has played a monumental role in helping the scene grow to where it is today.

Their YouTube channel which launched in 2008 has provided the basis for much of Link Up’s success, producing eye-popping stats along the way.

Link Up TV’s first step involved being an events website that promoted raves. Kasirye first tried that at the very start but couldn’t keep up with Promotion City, which was the go-to people at the time, so he decided to focus on videos.

“At that time, funds were a bit low so I couldn’t travel a lot to go and link different MC’s, so I decided to put everyone in one studio and bring the talent to me. I remember I filmed the first-ever Behind Barz with Dramatics, who was one of the best lyricists around. He had one bar that I loved where his friend asked one where he keeps the burner, and he replies: “Against the Bush-like Obama”. Trust me: he was one of the best! We did the Dramatic episode, but it never came out. Then a friend of mine, Ren, had a studio and said we can use it every Sunday, so that’s what’s we did and that’s how things began.”

The first videos they filmed were four Behind Barz freestyles with Che Lingo, D-Bo, Direman and Smartz. The one that helped them was Fem Fel’s Behind Barz. That helped put them more on the map with the South London lot. Attention-wise they had a lot of North and West Fem Fel came on it was game over. Then, from there, people like Krept and Konan came in.

In 2011, Krept & Konan’s Behind Barz freestyle was one of few to have racked up more than one million views. So it a breakthrough moment and after that, shower Mailk and Cashtastic hit them up, but Cash wasn’t that big. “So we said if you can bring through Shower Mailk, you can get a Behind Barz”, then he brought him through and got his freestyle.

And then Young Adz and more artists came through, but everything started from the Krept& Konan one.

Kasirye secured so many big music features after Ratlin’s “Messiah” who was a big moment for them, in terms of music videos. When that dropped, his bookings started coming in as a video director, because he shot that video. 

Kasirye and the group became so busy because of that video. Also, at the time, no one was doing behind-the-scenes content, so they did those to just build relationships with artists and get some extra content. That was quite important for them as well.

When Link Up TV was hacked in December 2012, Kasirye and colleague Enea worked hard and got it done. They found out that it was someone in Southend; “they did our website, YouTube channel and Facebook. We managed to get it up and running but a lot of videos went missing.”

With almost one billion videos views, 792,000 subscribers and 1.8 million followers on social media, Link Up’s numbers among UK’s urban media platforms are second to none.67’s UK drill anthem, “Let’s Lurk”. 

Has racked up close to 11 million views on the channel and is an accurate representation of how the online world has wrestled away a lot of the power from the more traditional entertainment mediums.

Kasirye says Grime, UK rap, Afroswing and drill music which have all grown massively in the recent years have impacted Link Up TV positively. 

“When we were doing it before, the scene wasn’t that big. There was a ceiling that every artist kept on hitting, but the game is so big now. Even the artists that we’re putting on, they’re reaching higher levels now, doing their shows, tours etc. what it’s done for us is created us more superstars. Now we can have things like the GRM Daily’s Rated Awards and have our superstars on stage. It’s big business now.”

“The Rated Awards are our awards show now; it’s not just Posty’s, or GRM’s – it’s all of ours. The Link Up magazine isn’t just my mag or Link Up’s – it’s everyone’s magazine.”

Kasirye as well says platforms like Link Up TV, GRM Daily, SBTV and others have played a big role in creating a scene to help black British music flourish.

“Our role is quite massive. Our job is to get someone, put them on, and watch them fly, Link Up, GRM, sb…we’re all doing that and have been doing it when other platforms might not have wanted to do it. The growth shows that we don’t need outside influences like we thought we did. Now it’s becoming an industry when, before, it was a fraction of that.”

Link Up TV recently released a streamlining app and a print magazine. Kasirye reasons that “some would say that magazines fell off. But then, in the urban world, they’re just judging it on RWD mag not being here anymore. When you go to your local off-license, you’re still going to see shelves full of magazines. Our scene didn’t have that so I thought why doesn’t Link Updo it? At least then we can give our people the chance of getting front covers.” And that how Link Up magazine came up.

Kasirye says to improve on the quality of his work; he collaborates with other companies like GRM to make the jobs of people at Apple Music and Spotify a lot easier.

“All they have to do is check the relevant channels and pick the tracks they want for the playlist. Then Spotify will put a song in the playlist, the traffic will go up, and the views will come back down to the video. Everything works hand-in-hand with the other parts.”

Rashid Kasirye at BBC Radio 1Xtra
Rashid Kasirye at BBC Radio 1Xtra. PHOTO/COURTESY

Link Up TV deals in music, broadcast, social media videos, video editing, music videos, social media marketing, entrepreneurship, video production, publicity, social networking, event management, video direction, digital media, creative writing, sound designs, music publishing, sound, songwriting, festivals, post-production, record labels, live events, blogging, online advertising, photography, film production, radio recording, online marketing, film.

In his career, Kasirye has inspired a lot of people to join the industry including William Mubiru, the founder of Flash Uganda Media based in Uganda. Flash Uganda Media is an online media company and Mubiru got the inspiration to start it from Link Up TV founder who happens to be his brother.

Challenges

Rashid Kasirye says there are several challenges in the industry and some of them is that someone tries to block you in the industry; no one wants to see you doing well.

Advice to the youth 

Listen to people but sometimes listen to yourself much. And remeber to follow your dream and live it

Interests and likes

  • Art, culture, music, science, technology, movies, filming and other related fields
  • Kasirye like everything nice
  • Being the best in everything
  • Being the first one to start something

Link Up TV Net worth 

$2.3 million as of June 2020

Read more about Uganda’s top Famous People: https://flashugnews.com/category/profile/