Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bigups 2 da Selektaman, Bumbaclot 4 da Haters

Sunday was my roommate Shawna's birthday, so we decided to get a little fresh air and hit the town a little bit. Luckily Radio & Weasel were doing a show in town that very night, so of course we had to go check it out. Since no one outside of Uganda probably knows who Radio and Weasel are, interspersed with the tale I'll do a small, and long overdue, primer on the Ugandan music scene.

Radio and Weasel are the stars of our little adventure. They're hugely popular, apparently they're nominated for an MTV award for Best African Act. There's not much Ugandan pop-culture outside of music (no tv or movies are produced in the country), so the rock stars are really the biggest fish in town. You literally cannot spend a night out without hearing one of these guys' songs. They make hot fire, this track is the biggest thing since posho & beans. It's about getting a little of the morning bizniss- breakfast in bed style.



The concert was at Mbale Sports Club, coincidentally the very same Mbale Sports Club where I (allegedly) contracted malaria in May. An auspicious start to the night to say the least. The show was outside on the lawn- right next to the untreated, abandoned swimming pool- so if there was ever a good chance to re-up on the Malaria, this was probably it. Fortunately my risk was reduced by the 5,000 other people crammed shoulder to shoulder around me.

Next up is The Bad Man Ghetto President, H. E. Bobbi Wine: The Snoop Dogg of Ugandan music. This song is about being from the Ghetto. Kamokya (Kamocha) is a neighborhood in Kampala I've been warned to stay away from.




The show was fun, a few acts I had never heard of (no surprises there) and then the main event, The Goodlyfe Crew. As soon as they hit the stage the crowd surged forward and we somehow ended up in the very front. Jamie and Shawna were chest against the stage and I was a few feet back, dead center. 5,000 people behind us, really the very front of the action. They started rocking the show and people went crazy. 5,000 people singing along and everything.

The newest song on the scene in Uganda is this one, it is just straight fire.This song is an All-Star collabo of most of the biggest upcoming stars on the scene. The hook is by our guy Radio. Note the clown wig, the Lil Wayne lookalike, and of course the beater car.

If it's hard to guess where this story goes from here, I'll recap: My two white, female friends were right up against the stage. What comes next shouldn't really be a huge surprise. by the second half of the set, Radio is crooning to Jamie and holding her hand, then asks us backstage. We hung out with them for a bit then took off to Club Oasis to meet back up with them for the afterparty.

This is GNL. He's a bit harder, a bit more "thug." I don't know that he's all that famous, maybe like a "your favorite artist's favorite artist" kind of deal. He's raps in Luganda, which is called Lugaflow and is pretty popular though maybe not too mainstream.



We got to Club O and the girls went back to meet with their African pop superstars. After a while of dancing solo with our other friends- you have never been truly awkward till you've been literally the only white person in a packed dance club- Shawna came to grab me to come back and hang out and maybe chaperone a bit. Hanging out in the VIP of the only nicest club in town. It was hilariously awesome. These two guys are fawning all over Jaime and Shawna gaming their asses off while hoes and revelers are cycling in and out looking for a nod or a greeting. If nothing else, I'll give them credit for giving me free beer despite the fact I was clearly there to salt their game (to use the parlance of our times).

Then finally to wrap it up we have the chill reggae sounds of the late Lucky Dube (pronouced Doobay)- He is like the Bob Marley of Africa.





We ended up staying out with these guys till like 5am, and eventually got a ride home from them in their party van. I think they were a little disappointed that their rockstar appeal apparently doesn't work on white girls. All in all a fun night, unfortunately the camera died during the show so you'll just have to take my word for it that we really met these guys.

Finally, we have this song by this dude. I don't really know who he is or what his deal is, but the appeal needs no explanation.



And of course, no dialogue on Ugandan music is complete without the rap beefs. The other two stars on the level of Bobi Wine and Radio & Weasel are Jose (not actually a Mexican I recently was informed, but like Josie- short for Joseph) Chameleon and Bebe Cool.

Weasel is Chameleon's younger brother and protege, but he split off from Chameleon's label so now they have squabbles. That's trouble, because apparently according to the tabloids, Chameleon has a penchant for falling off balconies and getting beaten up- though that's neither here nor there.

Radio stole Bebe Cool's girl, who just so happens to be the former Miss Uganda, so now they have major beef (The word is Bread and Butter is about hittin it with Bebe's girl). Things have been escalating on this one for a while, it's like Tupac/Biggie at this point. Recently a plot was uncovered whereby Radio had hired a witchdoctor to plant chicken guts in Bebe's bedroom, which is certainly not something to be taken lightly around here. In response Bebe got some Muslim Mullahs to pray up a counter attack.

Bobbi Wine doesn't play any of these games because apparently he's too ghetto and everyone fears to trifle with him.

2 comments:

  1. Great review of a night out and the music scene.
    Even better is that you are keeping tabs on those girls. Your efforts in this are greatly appreciated especially knowing that this can be a challenge.
    sincerely
    Julie Emmett
    (Jaime's mom)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must add my appreciation to you young fellows, both for the great reporting on these events and especially for chaperoning my dear little neice Jaime. Auntie Jilly

    ReplyDelete