Sal’s Picks – Oct 2016

October saw less audio releases in UG urban music than I wanted. I ALWAYS want more but I was told that it’s probably because artists are busy booking end of year gigs and thus spend less time in studio.

Let’s quickly run through the 2 or 3 songs that rose above the rest from last month’s releases.

BODY – Rabadaba & Jody
: The song didn’t hit me on first listen but on the second, I noticed the catchy beat it has. Real groovy. Well done THE WEEZY but then again, he is a great producer. We are used to a more rough and energetic Rabadaba than who we got in this song.
Rabadaba -Jody

TWO III – Chief : This song is the true definition of urban in my opinion. I love it. A lot! Great beat, amazing flow and ok lyrics. Although we should start a campaign to have Chief change his name. The name makes it hard to find him when you are looking for him online.
Download Two-111

TOMBAWALA – TLT (The Lyricist team) : A composition of underground rappers. Catchy chorus. Notice I wrote the title as one even when they are two words? I have a reason but I won’t say.
Download Tomba Wala

OMUTIMA – Toniks : This is my favorite song from last month. Plus, it was also produced by THE WEEZY. A kind of different production. It has an EDM and afro fusion. I like it. Had been a minute since we heard from Toniks. Glad to have him back. And he put together very easy and catchy lyrics.

SAMPLE – Voltage & Nutty Neithan : The combination in itself is amazing so you know what the song is all about. Both voltage and Nutty Neithan are growing on me. The song has the right tempo. Groovy and the lyrics are easy as well. It might be the most successful song out of the bunch from October. Just watch.

A pass: Well he released about 8 songs last month. 7 of which were released in 7 days! Great initiative. Go listen to them and tell me what you think. Some are good. some are just alright. The ones I like though are DADDY, TULO and ORUSO

Let us wait for November. However busy these artists are, we need more music. Please!

[VIDEO] SNMSLive EP08 – Rabadaba’s advice on girls

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For those that don’t know yet, the longstanding dancehall artist Rabadaba is staging a fully-fledged come back after being quiet for a while as he concentrated on acting. Last week, he joined us on the show to premiere his latest single called “Body” which features a singer called Jody.

“Body”, which was produced by Theweezy contains lyrics that make it obvious that Rabadaba is trying to woo a certain girl by drowning her in compliments. He told us that the video for this song it to be shot two weeks after the official premiere of the song but before Rabadaba gets in front of that camera, we made sure he got in front one of ours for a challenge.

Keeping in line with the song’s lyrical content, we asked Rabadaba about how to approach a girl who is on the dance-floor if you want to dance with her or talk to her, basically the dos and don’ts. He proceeded to break it down for us, explaining how there are different types of girls and that each type requires a different approach.

From what we can tell, and through his own admission, we came to learn how Rabadaba has evolved as a person after the experiences he has been through during his hiatus and how this has manifested in his music. The formerly wild artist is now a little bit more laid-back and much as he still has his throwback moments, even the way he delivers the lyrics on his track is more relaxed and refined with occasional singing incorporated into the whole performance.

This new single is set to serve as the opener for the campaign to his forthcoming album which he said he hopes to release at some point in 2017. Rabadaba made a reputation off of having some of the most unique and well-constructed lyrics in his rhymes and he still is that way. Check out the track and make sure you share it.

A quick look at Ceaserous video for “Dangerous”

One of the most trending names when it comes to the young kids on the Ugandan dancehall scene is Ceaserous without a doubt and he just recently released the official video for video for one of his latest singles, “Dangerous”.

“Dangerous”, which was produced by Levi sees Ceaserous expanding his trademark style that involves more bravado-filled raps on the verses and softer, more passionate crooning on the chorus that match perfectly with the bouncy nature of the combination the punch-filled kicks and string elements on this track.

The video for this song was shot by the multiple award nominated (and winning) director, Sasha Vybz and much as the bulk of its concept resembles a later template the director has adopted, he still manages to do some great work on it.

The video just like a number of others directed by Sasha Vybz features a number of shots in an outdoor yard party, with a campfire as part of the setting this time around. Ceaserous appears to be captivated by a beautiful light-skinned woman dressed in extremely skimpy denim shorts with brown curly hair.

He approaches her totally oblivious to the fact that she’s there with some other guys (that don’t look so friendly) and they head into the darkness of the woods. The video proceeds to show the two enjoying a later daytime date that involves quad-biking on a highway. Their adventures culminate in the bedroom where the not-so-friendly guys “cut the party short” before Ceaserous can get into any action.

I have to commend the director on the variety in color, from the African print shirts the people are donning, the props such as drums and turntables, to the constructed structures and vegetation captured in different shots. He also does a fair job playing around with the light, as he shuffles between semi-silhouette images and fully lit ones.

I’ve played this song a couple of times in the bars and it seems to go down well with the crowd (especially the girls), but as for the video, make sure you check it out, judge and share it.

Rabadaba releases his new single titled “Body”

Body – Rabadaba ft. Jody
Download Body

Rabadaba Interview
Download Rabadaba Interview

When someone says the name Rabadaba, the first thing that comes to mind is the deafening screams that I would hear when the DJ dropped “Bwekiri” and everyone on the dance-floor (most of whom were breaking curfew) would start singing along word for word.

The then extremely wild dancehall artist went on to release his debut album “Musanvu Kitundu” which is luganda for 1:30 (AM in this case) and after releasing roughly 15 singles after that era of the Mukyamu’s, Mwami Sentama and Nsula Olunyilili, he enjoyed another peak with tracks like “Akokya” and “Love Potion” featuring Don MC but it still felt like he was on a hiatus.

Rabadaba is back in style and last weekend, he joined us on the show to premiere his new single called “Body” which was produced by Theweezy and features the Rwandese songstress Jody. “Body” is pure mid-tempo dancehall song with fat kicks and a very infectious thick bass track. This song is guaranteed to make people dance (not want to dance but dance).

He talked to us about the challenges of juggling music with acting since he got his debut TV role in the new local series “Beneath the Lies” and went on to say that much as music is his first love, he still wants to do a lot more acting and he feels his fairly talented when it comes to that field.

He also told us about the making of the song “Body” and how he had to push Jody to step out of her comfort zone/boundaries since back in her homeland, people are a little bit more conservative and some of the lyrics he want to her to drop on this song would put her in a difficult position. The two eventually managed to strike a middle-ground and come out with a potential year-long hit.

According to him, the video is being shot in 2 weeks and in my opinion, if this song is given the kind of massive promotion it deserves, it will definitely go down as one of the biggest songs in Uganda in 2017. Don’t say I didn’t tell you when that happens.

Chief releases a new single titled “Two-111”

Two-111 – Chief

Download Two-111

A lot has been going on since the group Clansmen emerged on the scene earlier this year and one of their current members, Chief is keeping the fire burning. The rapper has a new single titled “Two-111” pronounced “twenty three” just a few days after the release of a diss-track called “Sharapova” aimed at former Clansmen member Benezeri.

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With an instrumental largely made up of 808 drums and trumpets (a sound that Chief has shown an ability perform well with before on the track “Mukiga w’amani”) courtesy of production from Ledra, Chief talks about how he is doing well relative to his age and even touches briefly on some of the opinions about his extreme approach on “Sharapova”, saying he doesn’t really care.

During a brief chat with him over the phone, he said that this is supposed to show that he can continue to thrive amidst all the negative energy from the Clansmen-Benezeri beef and that he can actually make good music that isn’t about dissing. He also informed me that come Wednesday, he will be dropping a track called “Mpaako” (luganda for “Give me some”) featuring fellow Clansmen rapper KSL.

He made it clearly that he is not going to be resting any time soon and that after this release, he has a couple of more tracks to give to the fans, saying he’ll most probably follow that one up with a song called “Mama said” after which he will drop something for the dance-floor called “Muliro (She’s on fire)”.

The year is almost coming to an end and we are eager to see each Clansmen follow through on the things they talked about in regard to their respective personal careers during the premiere of “Onjagazaki”. If you like highly energetic Hip-Hop that makes you get off your seat and start moving around erratically, make sure you download this song and share it.

[VIDEO] SNMSLive EP07 – Party in Ze Bush

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By now you’ve probably heard of the UgTravelMonth by The Pearl Guide and if you haven’t, DJ Slaughter Elly and I have you covered. Last weekend, we joined a couple of people for the 3rd trip under this theme which was to L. Mburo National Park.

UgTravelMonth

Our major task was to make sure that people had a good time at the party which was at Arcadia Lodge on Saturday night but there was definitely more to do before that eventually happened. In this episode of the SNMSLive video podcast, we show you a little bit about what happened before and after people got tipsy in the wild.

UgTravelMonth

The Pearl Guide has dedicated October to travelling around Uganda and experiencing the beauty of nature. The trips start on Saturday morning and end on Sunday morning, each having a party on Saturday night. There are various activities on the line-up ranging from boat-rides to game drives depending on the spot you’re visiting.

The UgTravelMonth is powered by Total Excellium, Nile Special, 97FM Radiocity, Jumia Travel UG and MTN Uganda. For those that haven’t yet taken part in this initiative, there is still one more trip this weekend where those participating will get to go to Jinja and see what the district has to offer.

I’d like to commend the people at The Pearl Guide for coming up with a fun and affordable way for people to enjoy what Uganda has to offer in different sectors such as tourism, food and hospitality, culture, entertainment and nightlife.

For details on how to be a part of the next trip, visit www.thepearlguide.co.ug/utm. You can also check them out on their various social media pages for more pictures from the previous trips. Uganda is rich when it comes to wildlife and nature in general and we all need to play our part in highlighting, celebrating and promoting it. Don’t forget to share the video with the next person.

Vote for our Ugandan artists this awards season

Awards season is here and by now you probably already know that a couple of our Ugandan artists have been nominated in different categories of different award shows in Africa mainly the MAMAs (MTV Africa Music Awards) and AFRIMAs (All Africa Music Awards). Firstly, I’d like to congratulate all the artists that are up for awards, a lot of work goes into getting there and I can confidently say that they all deserved these nominations.

Sheebah Karungi is up for the MAMA Video of the Year award for “Kisasi Kimu” and Bebe Cool is up for the MAMA Listener’s Choice award. Eddy Kenzo is up for the AFRIMA Best Male East African Artist (along with Chameleone, Bebe Cool and Navio), Irene Ntale, Juliana Kanyomozi and Cindy Sanyu are all up for the Best Female East African Artist.

Eddy Kenzo is also up for AFRIMA Best African Collaboration, Best African Contemporary, Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year and Artist of the Year (along with Navio in the last two categories). Cindy Sanyu is also up for the AFRIMA Best African Reggae/Ragga/Dancehall along with Ziza Bafana.

It is good to see that Ugandan artists dominated in numbers when it comes to nominations within the East African region which is evidence that as much as there might be some bigger artists from other East African countries, Uganda as a country is supreme in this region which is a step in the right direction if we are to ever dominate the continent at large.

I want to call upon all Ugandans to remember to spare some time and vote our Ugandan artists. If you feel that some other African artist is more deserving of the award in a particular category where there’s a Ugandan artist nominated too, we can’t stop you from voting for them but if you are more focused on getting our names out there and having our industry gain more recognition for its contribution to African music annually, then by all means vote for the Ugandans.

Don’t forget to share and remind your friends to do the same, let’s support Ugandan music as much as we can.

Voting links:

MAMAs

AFRIMAs

 

Ugandan Entertainment: Competition is key

The Ugandan entertainment industry has a lot of artists, DJs, producers, event promoters/organizers, etc.  Most of these guys are great in their fields of expertise and also have a wide load of experience. So the only way to keep being the “crème de la crème”, is you need to be ready to compete with way too many people than you will ever count!

I hear lots of people saying that “An artist shouldn’t compete with anyone, compete with yourself and chill”. My friend, better trash this notion and get into the real world! Start competing. Start weighing yourself with other cats in the industry that you’re into because the more you compete, the better you get as an individual.

Competition is healthy as long as you use it to push yourself.  I know very many already established artists and DJs don’t want to admit it but most of them fear competition. So here is some advice for all upcoming DJs and artists, embrace competition. When you are still new to the Ugandan entertainment industry these already established artists or DJs will get freaked out and if they don’t up their game ASAP, they get kicked out.

Here is a perfect example that will come in handy for DJs. I have a friend called DJ Mato. DJ Mato wanted to be better than some DJ (I wouldn’t want to mention his name so let’s call him DJ X). Mato practiced day and night just to be better and beat DJ X. After about 6 months of constant practice, Mato was not only better than DJ X but he had also gained way more skill than he would have gained if he had just sat back and imagined that he doesn’t need to compete.

Do anything to be better than the guy who you are in the same industry with! Copy if you can! But make sure that after beating the person who you had set your target on, you move on to the next until they are all done. Then you can now think of competing with yourself! Tweet me @djslaughterelly and let me know what you think.

SNMSLive EP06 – Radiocity’s KIU Freshers’ Ball

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The university semesters started a while ago (which means the party season is here) and Radiocity has been heavily involved this time around. Last weekend, DJ Slaughter Elly and I headed to Radiocity’s KIU Freshers’ Ball at the Kampala International University campus in Kansanga and I have to say, we had a couple of surprises.

There were lots of people at the event and when we found out that the artists slated to perform were going on stage before our sets, we wanted to gauge how much they fired up the crowd and see whether the energy would maintained when they left and it was time for our sets.

After a couple of the usual less-known curtain-raising acts were done, I got on the decks and the highly energetic Roden Y of the “Kabbako” and “Ndeku” fame stepped on stage and went so crazy even the fans that were singing along to the chorus couldn’t keep up with him. He vibrated and stomped the stage so hard that my laptop nearly fell off the stand.

Just when I was starting to think that this was the highlight of the night and that it couldn’t be topped, Sheebah stepped on stage and the screams got even louder as she unpacked most of her later hits, gyrated and even did a near-full length acapella version of one of her songs while constantly moving across the stage with a bossy demeanor.

Coco Finger also did a nostalgia-inducing set filled with a good number of the first hits of his career plus a couple of newer cuts that have a lot of potential while backed by a flock of rowdy male dancers. When the artists got done, I handed over to DJ Slaughter Elly and as they say, the rest is history. If you want to know how mad the party was, check out this video and make sure you share it with your friends. Big thanks to Radiocity for the support.

iLLAMADi releases the video for “Simple Life”

The London-based Ugandan rapper iLLAMADi has finally brought a visual side to his “Simple Life” single. A while ago, we told you about a single of his called “Sokx N Slides” and much as I really liked it, I was a little bit gloomy seeing as it seemed like the “Simple Life” single which had a lot of potential had taken a back seat before fully realizing it.

It turns out I was wrong since iLLAMADi has dropped the video for “Simple Life”. With the production handled by D. Harmony, iLLAMADi solicits the help of a formidable vocalist called Elyon for the chorus, giving the slow Hip-Hop song a laidback breezy element.

iLLAMADi synchronizes with the swing in the drums and goes on to rap about how even with all the hard work and subsequent achievements, one of his major desires is to live a simple life, using the image of life in the rural countryside with a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and the distractions brought about by technology as an example.

The video for this song which was directed by Aron is pre-dominantly set in the rural Ugandan landscapes, with some breath-taking scenery that includes large rocks, green plains and a calm lake. iLLAMADi gives some contrast, moving through a homestead on a hoverboard and then riding down a village road on a bicycle.

As usual, iLLAMADi sprinkles a little humor into the video at the end as he tries to control a cow that is grazing, an attempt that ends in a totally different way from what he was trying to achieve. Now that this video is out, I hope he’ll make an effort to shed more light on some of the other tracks on this CD single but for now, check it out and make sure you share it.

September 2016 UG Urban Music Roundup

By now you must be used to these monthly round-ups and now that we are 10 days into October, you must be yearning for this write up know we are going to talk about what UG urban music looked like in September, Yes? Yes.

In numbers, September looked a lot like August with a few audio releases and even fewer videos. Let’s just get into it.

KELEWA – VOLTAGE X MEAKU ; This is one of my favorite songs from September. Usually I don’t like artists that do a complete turn-around with their sound but I appreciate this song even if Voltage moved from heavy dancehall to slow tempo afrobeat (Mister Deejay doesn’t agree that this is Afrobeat. Let us not mind him). Plus, this song features one of my personal best RnB voices from an African, Meaku. Love his voice, love this song.

ESSAWA – A PASS ; Rumor has it that A Pass wakes up in the morning, goes to studio and makes music all day then goes to sleep after. I guess that explains his numerous releases. It also explains why his music does well. He puts in time and work. ESSAWA is one of those that he released last month. The verses are more appealing if you ask me. But the chorus is catchy. I have hit the replay button more than once on this one.

NO APOLOGIES – AJO & ESSIE ; Apart from the over-cursing in Ajo’s verses that would make some radio stations not play this song and the fact that in some way I feel like I am listening to TYGA, I think this song is brilliant. It is definitely urban music, has great production, unexpected punch lines and it has Essie! My favorite song from September when it comes to UG urban music without question.

FARMER (RMX) – YKEE BENDA & SHEEBAH ; It has become a thing to like all songs that have Sheebah in them. Whether you want to or not. She brings something unexplainable to every song! However holy you are, the lyrics to this song make you think of very naughty, unclean, groping-type-of things.

NYONGERA – MAURICE KIRYA & VAMPINO ; I am sure a high percentage of Ugandan music lovers have waited for this collaboration for quite a while. The Kirya brothers. Well, the song was released last month. The second I received it, I dropped everything I was doing to listen to it. Sigh. The song isn’t bad but I wanted more (Pun intended) Maurice Kirya did not disappoint with his voice and it feels like this was his song but he called his brother to at least do a minute. Vampino seemed uninspired on this song. The Vampino we are used to did not show up on this day. The production however was great.

ROCK CITY GAL – KEINOH & TUCKER HD ; So, Tucker gave us the expected… and more! He opened the song and his verse was as captivating as he intended it to be. Very likely that this is my favorite verse of the whole year! Strong. Keinoh did not do a bad job either especially with the language switches but I think he should rap more to get recognition and mileage. Also, the production of this song was top notch.

#1 SPICE – YOUNG CARDAMOM & HAB ; This is actually from the official soundtrack to Queen of Katwe, the movie. First time I heard it, it was OK. Then I listened again and I have to say, the creativity that went into this song is way up there. I got to appreciate it. A lot. I love it. Now I find myself singing “Bring the favor to the fish, bring the favor to the rice” (I really hope those are the correct lyrics) Catchy!

There were some more songs that were released that unfortunately did not make it to the list most likely because I did not hear them.

As for the videos, Vampino released SMART WIRE, Benezeri released Ndiwabulijjo RMX with the crew and Jah Brixman released Mwagala. You can also find all these songs here.

October, please be good to us. Let us see more UG urban music videos. Please.

Written by Salmah

 

The genesis of St. Nelly Sade’s career

Our artist of the month for October is none other than the ever-rising rapper/freestylist, St. Nelly Sade. The widely acclaimed Lugaflow rapper started the campaign for his third studio album this year which has seen him release singles like “More Vim” and “Tukomyewo” that are enjoying some considerable success, especially the former but today, we are taking it back to the genesis of his career.

St. Nelly Sade was rapping by 2004 at Yale High School starting out as St. Nelly since his full name is Nelson and he was always known to be good, staying away from drugs and alcohol hence the “Saint” in his name. After losing his Finnish girlfriend Sade to lung cancer, he added her name to his stage name in honor of her memory.

He then went on to record his first song, a collaboration with AB Kale from Zanzibar called “My Lover” with the help of the producer Kiwuuwa of Grayce Records which got substantial airplay in Jinja. Having been defeated repeatedly in Hot 100 rap battles in 2008, he later joined Babaluku under Bavubuka All-stars where he started contemplating an album release even though he had no direction for it yet.

In 2009, St. Nelly Sade met Lyrical G, someone he really looked up to and the two recorded a song together called “K’akubiddewa” that later became a street anthem, going on to birth a street slang and become his first song to play on radio stations in Kampala. In the same year, he signed up for the Shadrack Kuteesa’s Hip-Hop Canvas competition and ended up amongst the top 10 finalists that included Big Tril, Before Christu (B.C.) and Bana Mutibwa (formely Burney MC) but they only got to record an album after going through another competition.

2010 was a little different seeing as he met a number of new faces after the competition such as Jungle The Man-eater, Gravity Omutujju, SP Omugunjule and BB Mawanvuwanvu amongst other and they eventually recorded a full album under Platinum Entertainment. They also got more platforms where to showcase such as WAPI at Hotel Africana organized by the British Council and Bonfire Nights at the National Theatre.

2011 came and they formed their own crew called “The Almighty Lugaflow Army” dedicated to fronting and protecting the uniqueness of rapping in indigenous languages. They recorded a couple of songs but their highlight was getting nominated for a PAM Award. With the motivation from this nomination and the numerous questions from fans about his deep Luganda, poetic rhymes and smiles during his performances, he realized that he was doing a translation of sorts and he made this the core concept for his first album.

He managed to overcome financial constraints after getting offers from different producers that believed in him such as JT from Yego, DJ Nesta from Heartbeat Records, Kron, Levy Beats from Urban Aksent plus some time at Bugaville Records in Bunga to record the album which he released in 2013. It sold at least 400 copies which showed him that he actually had support and served as a stepping stone for him.

Next Friday, we shall tell you a little bit more about his story but for now, check out his music and share it widely.

SNMSLive EP05 – Keko’s Strides

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It’s safe to say that in regard to Keko and her music career, retirement can wait. That talk was already fading when she announced an event to serve as a release party for her mixtape “Love from Venus” and made good on that promise around the beginning of June.

At the time, she had said that it would be her last project but it seems she was still sitting on a lot of product. Keko has now released a full-length album titled “Strides” that is available for purchase here. The 11-track album has a number of singles that some of you might already be familiar with such as “Let Me Go”, “Naughty”, “See Ya” and “Fly Solo”.

Keko

It also has some later, equally exquisite tracks such as “Tell Me” and “Move Your Body”. The album’s direction is more along the lines of a party/dance mood while also addressing themes of love and the pursuit of one’s dreams in an elated manner that is occasionally becomes introspective.

The album also does well at pushing the envelope sonically, especially when it comes to the synthetic non-percussive elements of the melodies on different songs and the way they progress over the entire length of the song.

Keko joined us for a listening session of the album on the show last weekend and after her on-air interview, we had a brief chat with her about a couple of things outside the music for this episode of the SNMSLive video podcast.

For a glimpse at the off-stage Keko, an insight on her other day-to-day projects, her opinion on an assortment of current affairs in Uganda and some heart-warming anecdotes about her experiences at different points in her life, check out this video, share it with your fellow Kekonians and don’t forget to buy her album, and mixtape too.

Bebe Cool releases the video for his single “Sente”

Bebe Cool is continuing his streak of 2016 singles with a new one titled “Sente”. Now for those of you who are staunch Bebe Cool fans, you might be saying “wait a minute. That’s not new. He already has an old song called Sente”. Well, he actually does but seeing as he seems to be experiencing a creative spurt, he decided to do another track also called “Sente” but with a different spin.

This new single is more along the lines of a slower Zouk-style song with articulate percussion especially from the xylophone, and a subtle dance vibe to it. On this one, Bebe Cool talks about how people should be less obsessed with money especially when it comes to love and relationships, going on to say that a relationship built on money is bound to fail sooner or later.

The video for this single is also out now and Bebe Cool definitely does a good job at maintaining the new standard he has set for himself when it comes to the quality of his videos. Directed by Sasha Vybz, the video takes on an old-school style set at a performance night where Bebe is joined by a band including a member playing an accordion as some cultural troupe-looking guys play the xylophone.

Bebe Cool

As expected with this concept, a good number of the people in the video have synthetic afros as part of their costumes. The video also scores well when it comes to incorporating lighting into the setup, having an assortment of Christmas-style lights hanging all-over the place. The storyline is synonymous with the lyrics, showing different scenarios where a poor man is outcompeted by a wealthy one as they vie for a woman’s love and attention with a tinge of humor.

I have to say though, I’m not so keen on the parts of the song where he is singing in French, maybe they’ll grow on me, maybe they won’t. Go check out the video and share it with a friend.