The winner of the ongoing competition will receive a one-year recording contract with Decimal Media, in addition to the KSH 250,000 in prize money.
Decimal Records is an independent record label that focuses on music recording, publishing and licensing, as well as the management, marketing and promotion of its artists.
Commenting on the recording contract, Eric Musyoka, Managing Director of Decimal Records said: "We are excited to work with fresh talent coming out of East Africa through this Nokia competition. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase East African talent both locally and to an international audience".
Since July, Nokia has been on the search for East Africa's finest cypher or rapper. The campaign has been taken to various universities, followed by auditions in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kampala and Dar-es-Salaam. The panel of judges selected to assess the talent includes: Nazizi; Point Blank Evumbi; Eric Musyoka; Joey Muthengi; Frasha (Francis Amisi) and DJ Joe Mfalme. Their votes will carry 70 percent weight in the final judging and the other 30 percent will be consumer driven, with voting open at each round on Nokia East Africa's YouTube channel.
The competition has entered the second round which involves club battles which are scheduled to take place at various locations across Kenya, Kampala and Dar-es-Salaam where two rappers will be shortlisted. Performers at the club battles will include STL, Octopizzo, Maddtraxx and Mwana FA.
The East African finals in early September will pit the 12 selected rappers from the club battles against each other so as to find the 2 best cyphers, from which East Africa's finest will be crowned. As part of the campaign, Nokia recently launched two new phone models, Nokia Asha 305 and Nokia Asha 202, to extend the Asha family. This is a continuation of Nokia's commitment to connect consumers to smarter mobile phones that offer modern, attractive designs, a range of practical and fun features, and services that extend the value of the phone with access to information and entertainment.
"The youth in East Africa are all about self-expression and the freedom to share their unique style," says Angela Githuthu, Marketing Activation Manager for Nokia East Africa. "The Nokia Asha range of mobile phones is designed specifically for these consumers, offering freedom of choice in design, form factor, colour and price; but not compromising on features that the youth demand such as integrated social networking, access to thousands of apps and entertainment."