A collabo is a song produced by two or more people working together and if partners are chosen right, a struggling artiste will be lucky to get mileage. In Uganda, many musicians have become successful because of collaborations they have done, Isaac Ssejjombwe looks back at some of the biggest collaborations from the past 20 years.
Ability- Rabadaba and Radio and Weasel
If there is one year Rabadaba would always remember, it is 2010 and mainly because of Ability, a song he did with Radio and Weasel. It ranks among the top collabos because not many musicians could match the duo but Rabadaba gave them a run for their money. It was produced at Swangz Avenue by Just Jose and Rabadaba agrees that the song was very successful. “Ability is classic up to date. We gave our all to that song and that is why it has a special place in my heart,” he says. The song contributed to his success albeit short-lived and even if his relationship with the Goodlyfe boys went sour over who was prominent on the track, the song remains big. No wonder it received a massive reception when the Goodlyfe boys performed it at Hotel Africana during their Omwana Wabandi album launch last year.
Cease and Sekkle Bebe Cool and Rema
The Cease and Sekkle video was shot in Masaka and Bebe Cool had to drive there because Club Ambiance had been offered to them for free. This was because video locations were always offered at a price and this move was well calculated by Kiyemba, the club owner. He had already seen the song’s potential so therein was his club getting exposure.
Besides that, the song unveiled the talent that was Rema and of course Bebe Cool got the bragging rights for nurturing talent. Rema slowly got her place among the talents to watch out for, and no surprise shortly after the hit she decided to leave Bebe’s Gagamel label to go solo. Today she is among Uganda’s top female artistes.
Mubbi Bubbi – Maro and David Lutalo
Just like any other successful song between two talented artistes, there will always be disagreements on who the owner of the song is. Mubbi Bubbi is one of such songs. Maro teamed up with David Lutalo on this one and its success forced them to re-shoot a more detailed video. It was not long before the fights began on who the owner of the song was. David Lutalo did not attend Maro’s concert at Mckinnon Suites and neither did Maro attend Lutalo’s Akantu concert yet they had both fronted the song on their respective concerts. It was this particular song that elevated Lutalo from the title of a kadongo kamu artiste.
Fire – Bebe Cool and Necessary Noize
He may have called Kenyan artistes lazy but Bebe Cool will forever be thankful to Kenya for what he is today, having started his singing career in Nairobi with the Ogopa Deejays. Bebe has done music with various Kenyan artistes but the most successful projects he ever did was with Necessary Noize (Wyre and Nazizi). The trio, under The East African Bashment Crew did a couple of songs but the one that worked up the region was their song Fire. This song saw Bebe ride on regional fame, as he occasionally invited the duo to Uganda to perform at events. The song topped radio and TV charts for a long time, also winning Song of the Year 2006 in the Pearl of Africa Music Awards. Not only did the song make the three artistes, it also made producer Washington a force to reckon with in across East Africa.
Digi – Ngoni ft Mr Mosh
Digi is probably the only song we can remember Mr Mosh ever singing. No wonder he considers the song a classic. “People up to now dance to Digi as if we have just recorded it,” he says. How he got onto the collabo? “Ngoni made an instrumental of it in the Goodenuf Studios before they called me to see what I could do on the song.” Mr Mosh says he wrote his verses and Ngoni did theirs and that is how a big song was born, becoming the first video from Uganda to be played on MTV Base according to Mosh. Besides that, the now fulltime MC was chosen to do PAM Awards activations in most regions but whenever he got there, people were singing to it even though they did not understand the language.
Maama Mbiire – Bobi Wine and Juliana
Maama Mbiire was done at a time when Juliana had taken a solo career from I-Jay and it came during a time her and Bobi Wine where walking towards the peak of their career. They had done a song titled Taata W’abaana which was a hit and because of this, business tycoon Charles Mbiire contacted them to surprise his mother with a song and bang. ‘Maama Mbiire’ was born. They might have done it for financial purposes but the song escalated them to heights. It was the song of the year in 2005 in the Pearl of Africa Music Awards. Juliana was the Best R&B Artiste and Best Female Artiste in these respective awards. And not only that, the song was chosen as the ‘Best Ugandan Song’ the following year in the Tanzanian Music Awards.
Bomboclat-Chameleone ft Weasel
In 2006, Chameleone teamed up with his younger brother to do a track titled Bomboclat. Ugandans embraced the song and it was such a club banger, but a few days after its release, Tanzanian musician Professor Jay publicly attacked Chameleone for plagiarising his song. The song in question was Nikusaidiaje in which he featured Ferooz. Indeed the songs sounded similar and the Tanzanian musician promised to fly down here and take legal action against Chameleone but when he eventually came, they instead ended up doing a song together.
Bomboclat continued to blaze and to prove that the song was such a big hit, it featured as one of the sound tracks in Queen of Katwe last year.
Go down low- Sheebah and Pallaso
Pius Mayanja had lived almost half of his life abroad, having left the country under the name Lizard. The Mayanja brother returned as Pallaso to reignite a music career that had stagnated. He joined the Goodlyfe boys and good for him, their first collaboration on Amaaso did well and his return was pronounced. They had disagreements and he left Goodlyfe to join Team No Sleep. His first collaboration with Sheebah was called Mundongo, but the song did not do well. It was only a matter of time before they released a major duet. Go Down Low! High skool children danced to this song, children tried to sing to it while radios and TVs could not get enough of it. In the clubs, it was an anthem! The song despite being released in 2014, won the Best Afro Pop Song 2015 in the HiPipo music awards.
Where You Are – Blu*3 ft Goodlyfe
Where You Are did not only make a great hit, it also gave birth to a relationship between Moze Radio and Lilian Mbabazi, who have eventually had two children together. That is how ‘baaaaad’ that track was, but that is a story for another day. Where You Are came at a time when both groups (Blu*3 and Goodlyf) were at the peak of their careers. It was the only Ugandan song to appear on both MTV Africa and MTV Europe countdown and better still be number two for two consecutive weeks. It was one of the songs that won the ‘Best East African Song’ in Tanzanian Music Awards. The magic that is this song was done at Steve Jean’s Fenon Records and we all know the magic that came from that studio back in the day.
This song is one of those few songs from 2010 that you will listen to now and think it has just been produced.
Mr DJ – Ugandan All-stars
Boy what Mr DJ did not do to Ugandan! The artistes on that track included Goodlyfe, Navio, Rabadaba, Viboyo, Peter Miles, Sizzaman, KS Alpha and GNL Zamba. The song was produced at Swangz Avenue by Benon Mugumbya. It was done in 2009 but it topped charts until 2011. That was a record! The song was what gave Swangz Avenue the credit it needed for artistes to start flocking the Muyenga-based studio. The song also won the award for Hottest Collabo during the 2011 Buzz Teeniez Awards.
Nakudata – Goodlyfe featuring Omulangira Suuna
Because of the success of the song, both Goodlyfe and Omulangira Suuna (OS) took their separate ways and have since never reconciled. This was after Radio and Weasel forgot or deliberately forgot to either invite him or give him credit at their sold out concert titled Nakudata. Omulangira Suuna claims that he did the audio and video production in his studio and also featured in the hit song. The song was voted Song of the year (2008) in the Pearl of Africa Music Awards and in that same year, it is claimed OS received a KORA award for producer of the year but the Goodlyfe boys fought for the award and the Shs2m that came with it.
Pressure Ya Love – Walden ft Chozen
Walden and Chozen broke into the industry with luck. Their first single Pressure Ya Love was among the biggest songs that year, putting the duo on top of charts. But many people believe that because of the success of the song, the two could not keep up with the pressure of making another better song. But Chozen, who wrote the, disagrees, “Yes the song was so massive but we did not separate because of pressure. Walden traveled abroad after the song and that is why we could not continue as a group. Pressure Ya Love drove people wild, especially those in love. Their simple video was on replay on most TV stations and you cannot speak of their names without the song popping up first.