Good bye the Chameleone Generation, enter GNL, Goodlyf, Cindy, Tonix
Ugandan music has evolved over the years, from the times of legendary icons Philly Lutaya, Jimmy Katumba, Afrigo band, Elly Wamala through the era of Emperor Orlando, Rasta Rob, Menton Krono, Ragga Dee to the Chameleon-Bobi Wine-Juliana-Bebe Cool generation. The latter group is undoubtedly in the evening days of their career if you ask me. There is no doubt that this group must step aside for GNL, Goodlyf, Navio, Cindy, Rubba Dabba and AK 47. You see Ugandan music industry is a strange one: when you are in, you are real in. when you are out, you are real out. It is a world of extremes, nothing in between. So as a musician, you will have your concerts sold out or bought out by some rich promoter at huge price or you will flop with just a handful of people at your annual album launch. I remember when Jose Chameleone, Bobi Wine, Bebe Cool and Juliana came through, Ragga Dee had no chance, he was just a hanger on. He later resorted to comic lyrics and kindergarten rhymes and that has since defined his genre. He isn’t your crowd puller any more. His music has nothing to write home about. Emperor Orlando went on a music holiday, changed looks/appearance by losing the dreadlocks and tried a comeback album that really flopped badly. He has never recovered and he seems to have given up on doing music. A few songs with the once famous Saida karoli from Tanzania didn’t do the magic he anticipated. The rest is history. Menton Krono of the Mugulu tewali mwege (In heaven there is no beer) fame is in oblivion, Rasta Rob later ran off to UK for green pastures and gave up on doing music. So Bebe Cool, Bobi Wine, Chameleone, Juliana rocked the scene for the last seven or so years. Now the tide seems to be changing like it ought to and like it has always done. Goodlyf (Mowzey and Weasal), GNL Zamba, Cindy, Navio, Rubba Dabba, Toniks are the new kids on the block. Chameleone, Bebe Cool and Bobi wine are in a fix, the end is here but they seem like they won’t go down without a fight. Chameleone has released song after song in the last couple of years but he has failed to get the true comeback hit. Telina (with chagga), Tupakasa kuba bulungi all failed to bring him back on top of charts. Bayunda almost did and got lots of media attention but that’s because everyone thinks it was aimed at his former crew mates (Mowzey and Weasel) who are the new kids on the block. Bebe Cool has had many songs in the past six months but all are more or less about his love woes, they were never going to bring him back on top of the charts. Besides, the greater anticipation is about his wife Zuena’s intentions to hit the studio and kick-start her singing in the near future. Bebe seems to be more into international music events and the Mandela charity concerts are fodder but a concert in Kampala is a tough hurdle for him. Bobi wine seems to have realized this precedence earlier than his peers. It seems he knew there was soon going to be a shift in the music scene thus his Mazzi mawanvu song that was full of self praise and a history of his music. He narrated his past and insinuated how he is deep and so won’t soon be shaken off the big stage but he knew a new dawn was here. He has since attempted to repackage/ rebrand his music- he now calls it edutainment (a blend of education and entertainment). So the Ugandan music scene is about to wave goodbye to Chameleon’s generation, and enter GNL, Navio, Goodlyf, Tonix, Cindy, HB Toxic etc. Brace yourself, the new generation is here.