Four Long Years: Dear Mowzey!
Sorry for taking this long, bro. Lockdown things. We’ve been battling this biological invention called COVID-19. Jjajja M7 took it too seriously and decided to lock up the nation, throwing the industry into an economic abyss. Bars that you had turned into your places of worship were closed, while musical concerts were banned for the better part of the last two years.
Boda-Bodas that used to ferry your disciples have since been consigned to what looks like an eternal curfew. The situation has been dire, but we continue to soldier on. Today, we come to your public-inbox yet again for a quick catch-up. Old times’ sake, you know? Today, we choose to structure our correspondence into tiny little snippets.
The Unreleased Music
The last time we checked, 68 pieces of your music were yet to be released. Alas, only a dozen or so of them have since been released. We do not know where the rest are, Mowzey. Could you be knowing whoever has since taken custody of the alleged hard disk?
Many of your cronies continue to deny this. Chagga swears by his ancestors’ privates that he knows where this music was –on your private mobile. But he does not know who got your phone, Mowzey. You are probably somewhere, chilling with heaven’s big boys and seeing all this stuff stashed away from our view. But somehow, you won’t be able to show up and tell us the truth.
Come to us in a dream, Mowzey. Speak to us. Reveal this well-kept secret, and we will go and tell it on the mountain. Tell us about this crook who got your prized possession and decided the rest of the world would never see how much more you still had in stock. We’d love to lynch them on sight, but we are law-abiding citizens. So, we won’t get caught dead trying to take the law into our hands.
Okay, enough of the lamentations. We now bring you a regular update on what has happened to the industry since you’ve been gone. Today, we speak entertainment and dissect it more. We are talking music, arts, and comedy. We will add more if time allows.
The People You Inspired
Ah, we’ve been here before. And sorry that we didn’t tell you about him earlier. Charles Njagua Kanyi, the artiste better known as Jaguar, was one of the first guys to profess your impact on his career. Jaguar has been idolizing you for eons. He says your shows in Nairobi blew him away. Excellent stuff, no? Now, imagine the prospect of inspiring 30 more Jaguars, Mowzey! Such is how big your legacy continues to grow.
Weasel, Liam voice, Piz Mallon, and a host of others continue to sing your praises. Piz Mallon says he writes and produces his music. Piz Mallon doesn’t want to replace you, he says. He is here to do his thing. Whenever you can, Mowzey, pour some anointing onto him and let him shine. Liam Voice has tried to be a man of his own who claims to be inspired by no one else but himself. We don’t believe him, but we will let him be.
There’s a guy called Dre Cali. You probably do not know him. You probably didn’t know him before. Dre is a fresh product from the Ykee Benda school of musical excellence – Mpaka Records. He mimics your voice and is your avowed fan. Born in 1995, Dre is what you would call a musical teen. He burst onto the scene with Ebisooka Nebisembayo and has since proved that his rise was no accident. His other songs include Ekifuba, Onanagiza, Akayimba, and several others. He’s had a song called Singa Omanyi with your musical brother, Weasel. Dre Cali is a promising talent with a burgeoning profile. Check him out. You will love what you’ll hear.
We have a new kid on the block, Mowzey. He’s called Uncle Mo. And just like you may have already guessed, Mo is short for Moses. Moses Kiboneka. So yeah, he’s your namesake. I think every Moses is born to create. Uncle Mo has been doing his thing since the onset of lockdown. He does his thing strutting an oversize overall that gives him this unique look. We know you had a thing for uniqueness; what with those 3,948 multi-colored bangles that once graced your creative arms.
The rest of the veteran crew still do their thing. Not much has changed, Mowzey. MCs Kapale and Mariachi still behave like one snatched the other’s girlfriend, and Alex Muhangi is still Muhangi: running shows and dominating online gossip pages for all the saucy reasons. Patrick Salvador has since returned to Radio. He now runs a morning show at Sanyu FM alongside Miss Deedan and Yvonne Koreta.
Madrat and Chiko became brand endorsement gurus, with over half a dozen deals under their belt. The deals include but are not limited to Sozo Property Consultants, KDB Kyarenga, and lots of others whose name skips our memory. In an era that has been laden with the extreme paucity of shows, these endorsements were a welcome foray. Special credit must go to their management.
Amooti Omubalanguzi remains as steady as he’s been. Vintage, witty, and innovative. Every once in a while, he records brief videos of himself looking like the Ugandan version of Mr. Ibu. He does this with Flavia Tumusiime, the bubbly Capital FM presenter who sometimes identifies as Mrs. Kabuura.
Poor Bugingo, the comedian. Remember him? He’s the guy who had perfected the art of mimicking the once-revered pastor Aloysius Bugingo; long before sections of the Pentecostal fraternity christened him Hajj for his extravagant PDA for Susan Makula, his erstwhile favorite side chic.
The Rise of Content Creators
Ah, you departed before this exploded. We now live in the era of content creators. People who have taken to all sorts of social media apps and made a name for themselves. Tik Tok, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and others. Do you know vloggers, Mowzey? Vloggers are the video version of bloggers. Jjajja M7 calls them message senders because he thinks they are hired by foreigners to send messages that paint the good NRM government in a bad light.
Vloggers create social media accounts and speak lots of things with the kind of tenacity that was once the exclusive preserve of Andrew Mwenda. They then hope to build armies of ardent followers who, in turn, will drive advertising revenue to their pages. Wanna know who’s killing it currently? Google Flavia Tumusiime, Ride with the Mulondos, Uncle Mo, Ibra K Mukasa, and that guy you never really liked – Kasuku of Kasuku Live.
Have you chanced on Tik Tok? Tik Tok is a video app that is making everybody famous. On it are young girls scouring for quick fame, grown-up males making funny faces in the name of fame, and everybody else in between. Everybody is out for their share of the social media pie. Check it out more so my friend Mahoro Barbie and you’ll never have a dull moment.
It’s been four long years, but we are still saddened at the mention of the music industry without your name featuring prominently. This was an industry you were born to dominate, and you rightly earned your place amongst the pantheon of Ugandan musical greats.
So, who’s ruling the airwaves? Tough one, if you ask us. Every three months brings a brand-new name. A whole lot of them. An odd pair of Rajj and Zilas have been strutting their stuff for the past couple of years. Rajj and Zilas is a male and female combo that is not necessarily boyfriend and girlfriend – and there are not many of these in the industry. At least not with the kind of consistency that has seen them shine for more than three years now. Check them out, Mowzey, and see what they are made of.
The Breakthrough Artistes
The cutthroat competition in the industry has since meant that anyone wishing to make it big in entertainment must create something unique, crazy, or attractive enough to let the big boys pause and notice.
It’s the reason why Sebunya Alfa, an upcoming artiste under the stage Mudra, chose to storm the scene in the name of an alley cat in a song titled Muyayu. He has since released a couple of follow-up songs in a bid to remain relevant.
There’s a guy called Zex Bilangilangi, real name Mayega Tadeo. He’s another upstart who credits his rise to prominence to Bobi Wine. Having announced his arrival with Ratata, he has since flooded the industry with at least half a dozen other songs. He’s doing pretty well right now; and will enjoy a healthy chunk of the 2022 entertainment pie.
Have you heard of Baza Baza? He’s the guy who has “killed” all his Exes in the name of plotting his way to musical fame in a song called Onina. Onina is a danceable tune that always gets bar revelers experiencing frenzied trances every time it’s played. Listened to it yet? You should. Baza has only been around for a short time, so the jury is still out on his longevity.
The Best of the Rest
Your brother Pallaso is doing pretty well, while Weasel continues his mini hibernation. Whatever he’s up to, only you can tell –you lived with him long enough to guess his next move.
Lydia Jazmine continues to tickle the male music fans’ fancy, while Sheebah parted ways with Jeff Kiwa. Bebe Cool still releases annual lists, while King Saha barely releases new music these days. B2C fired their manager, rebranded to Kampala boys before rebranding (again) to B2C. They still release music, though their latest songs have not scaled the kind of heights that their old songs did.
Azawi. Oh, Azawi. Priscillah Zawedde. Arguably the best musical export from Nakulabye, and one of the sweetest voices on the airwaves currently. She has this 16-track album that will leave you grinning in excitement. Can you believe Josh Ruby can sing along all the tracks word by word? Well the album title is African Music and features the kind of beautiful ballads you would wish to play on your wedding day. My favorite is Majje, a collabo that features Shafiq Walukaga (he goes by a fancy name: Fik Fameica).
The Honourable Mentions
The list may not be exhaustive, Mowzey. The industry remains so busy that a batting of an eyelid could leave you 300 songs behind the news. These are names that easily roll off the tongue, mainly because their music and impact have been too ubiquitous to be ignored. Vinka, Apass, Winnie Nwagi, Spice Diana, John Blaq, Gabriella Ntaate, Nina Roz, Eddy Kenzo, Levixone, Jose Chameleone, Geosteady, Bebe Cool, Gravity Omutujju, and Daddy Andre, among others.
Oh, and by the way, you are probably seeing lots of plural references in this letter. “Us” refers to the two of us; me and Skylar. Skylar is my beautiful 2-year-old daughter. Skylar recently started school. Hopefully she will grow to appreciate papa’s writing as she reminisces to your great sounds and know that a legend once lived. As I write this to you at the wee hours of the night. The kind of hours that the world now describes as ungodly, my little woman is always on my mind.
Lastly, Mutebile will be coming through so worry not any more about who will be sponsoring your concerts that side. Until the next time we talk, take care and stay blessed Mowzey.
Zamboki Lincolin Jr aka Papa Skylar CEO Skylart International Limited.