Since a section of their fans started boycotting their music for political reasons post-elections, many artistes who lent their talent to the pro-Museveni Tubonga Naawe hit have suffered setbacks ranging from snubbed concerts to outright insults and plummeting fortunes.
King Saha, whose Muliranwa had successfully become an anthem before the campaigns brouhaha, had even successfully dared Chameleone in the game of numbers by organizing a concert on the same date as the self-proclaimed music doctor.
Yet as you read this, it is hard to believe that since January King Saha has released two songs: Mwana Ggwe and Kyatule. Mwana Ggwe is a brilliant attempt with influences from the 1970s; the video by Sasha Vybz stays true to the feel of the song and has the potential to redeem King Saha, whose earlier Kyatule went almost unnoticed.
King Saha aside, Radio and Weasel have had their own struggles with Omwana Wa Bandi; Rema is doing her best to push her Si Bya Mukisa, and Iryn Namubiru has since released a number of songs, including a collaboration with Maro – all good songs that should be getting more attention in all fairness.
Now Uganda’s top two, Chameleone and Bebe Cool, have decided to go back to the drawing board. The two know their markets well and are aware of what made them darlings before emotions boiled over after the presidential elections won by their candidate, Yoweri Museveni, in February.
Chameleone can sing in Kiswahilli, Tswana, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, English and others with his rhythm borrowing from different genres including Zouk, Afro pop and soukous.
His latest offering, Agatako offers exactly that. Agatako, featuring DJ Pius from Rwanda, is done in Kinyarwanda, English and Kiswahili with inspirations from his famous hits such as Badilisha, Shida Za Dunia and Kipepeo.
Much as the song sounds like bait for vulgarity-happy Ugandans (agatako in Luganda means big buttocks), we are yet to tell if it will make a mark. Bebe, on the other hand, gave us songs such as Kasepiki, Bogolako, Coccidiosis and, of course, Love You Everyday off his amazing Go Mama album.
Come 2016 and Bebe Cool has released Taata and Ki Ekiganye, which, however, seem to defeat his earlier statements that after Go Mama, he plans to produce only good music with no pressure for ‘hits’.
While reviewing the song on Dembe FM’s Talk and Talk, one of the panelists noted the song would have been a masterpiece were it done by Bebe’s son, while many of his fans and critics believe the artiste took three steps down from the standards he set himself with Go Mama.
In Taata, he channels his inner Bobi Wine, talking about issues affecting the common man – and he is apparently telling ‘Taata Museveni’ about them. Will the big stars’ approach fly with their fans? We can only wait and see.