2019’s fine ones: It is that time of the year when we review the entertainment industry and give credit where we believe is due. This year has been quite vibrant when it comes to entertainment and we have seen quite a number of kids break out. Isaac Ssejjombwe & Lawrence Ogwal put together what the Sqoop team believes were the deserving of these categories.
Artiste of the Year – John Blaq
He had his breakthrough last year and appeared on our list as one of the artistes to look out for in 2019. To say that John Blaq has done well would be an understatement – this kid surprised many and has surpassed our expectations. With hits such as ‘Do Dat’, ‘Tukwatagane’, ‘Obubadi’, ‘Makanika’, ‘Maama Bulamu’ and various collaborations, it was no surprise that when he announced and eventually held his debut concert at Freedom City, John Blaq filled the house. To name him Sqoop Artiste of the Year, we based on Blaq’s consistency in dropping hit after hit and the numerous bookings he got to perform. The 22-year-old, real name John Kasadha was recently also voted Artiste of the Year in the just-concluded Buzz Teeniez Awards. In this category, we had pitted him alongside Bebe Cool, Daddy Andre and Eddy Kenzo. This award obviously makes him Male Artiste of the Year.
Yoooo…this is not even debatable! The mere mention of the phrase Parte after Parte will light up the room, so this was not a hard one. After years of his hip hop hustle, this was without doubt Rowland Kaiza’s year, thanks to his monster hit ‘Parte after Parte‘. We were even embarrassed to attempt and pit this song against any other (respect to Bebe Cool on Wire Wire) but ‘Parte after Parte‘ was ‘so sick’, it broke boundaries. The song has received its share of the Mexican wave not only in Africa but other parts of the world. We have seen celebrities such as Wizkid, Don Jazzy, Patoranking and, wait for it… Cardi B and boyfriend Offset dancing to the song. The song has also topped charts in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and other countries. While performing in Kampala recently, Wizkid referred to Parte after Parte as “the biggest song in Africa this year” – if that is not a nod enough, what could have been?
Female Artiste of the Year – Spice Diana
Before the Sheebaholics, Cindycates and Vinka Republic come to roast us, we must say that this was a really tight one for us; the girls did really work hard this year. For the past few years, Sheebah has run the show in this category but not this year. Much as she released some music, most of the releases were mediocre, mostly because the other females such as Spice Diana, Vinka, Karole Kasita, Fille and Cindy gave her a run for her money. So after a long debate and several considerations, we zeroed down to Spice Diana. Just like John Blaq, Spice Diana, real name Hajara Namukwaya, has really worked hard this year. She has released charting topping jams such as ‘Omusheshe’, ‘Jangu Ondabe‘ and ‘Bajikona‘ and that is besides the numerous bookings. She also won a number of awards including Best Female Artiste at the 2019 Zzina Awards. She also received nominations both in Uganda and at the Africa Entertainment Awards under Upcoming Artistes. Besides music, she also inspired in fashion as she was voted Most Stylish Female Artiste in the just-concluded Asfas.
In 2016, B2C won this category with their collaboration hit ‘Gutamiza‘ featuring the Goodlyf boys and this year they are winning it again. Should we say ‘G’ is their lucky letter because this year, the boy trio made up of Bobby, Mr Lee and Julio, take this one for ‘Gutujja‘, a collaboration they did with Rema. This song was pitted alongside Sheebah and Orezi’s Sweet Sensation as well as Ray G and Spice Diana’s Omusheshe. We went for Gutujja for its catchy rhymes and amazing video, which had even children hooked. It has easy lyrics and a catchy chorus. An honourable mention for ‘Squueze‘ by Fille featuring Voltage Music and ‘Yitayo‘ by Winnie Nwagi featuring Chozen.
Breakthrough artiste – Grenade Official
This one took a bit of debate because we were torn between him and Karole Kasita. We settled for Grenade, because unlike Kasita whose name is still fresh on the lips, Grenade broke out at the beginning of the year and he has managed to stay on our lips for most part of it. And we are not just talking scandal after scandal, but also musically. The 22-year-old, real name Deus Ndugwa, broke out with ‘Nkuloga‘ – a song that has remained a hit to the end year and he has since gone on to drop ‘Mpulira Bibyo’, ‘Amen‘, ‘Replace Me‘ featuring Sheebah and John Blaq.
This category has been dominated by Nessim in the past but there is a new kid on the block – Andre on the beat! Daddy Andre, real name Andrew Ojambo, has worked hard, we believe even Nessim would agree. Daddy Andre has penetrated the entertainment industry faster than lightning both as a producer and an artiste. He has penned hits, he has produced them and he has sung some. Although he has been producing music from back in the day; Vampino’s ‘Smart Wire, ‘Dangerous‘ by Ceaserous, and ‘Give Me More‘ by Maurice Kirya and Vampino, it is in these past two years that he brought real fire. He produced most of John Blaq’s top hits; Do Dat, Makanika and Don’t Stop, Levixone’s ‘Chikibombe‘, Spice Diana’s ‘Jangu Ondabe‘ as well as his own popular ‘Sikikukweka‘. We pitted him against Nessim, Artin Pro, Eno Beats and Ronnie Pro.
Gospel Song of the Year – Chikibombe
Last year he took this category for Turn the Repaly and this year, Levixone could not let the year end without dropping one big one on us. ‘Chikibombe‘ has taken airwaves and even discos by storm. It is a feel good song and on this one he features Timeless Noel. The song, just like Turn The Replay, has cut across and it is enjoyed by those in the secular world and the ones in Gospel. We could not readily find any competition for this one, so it was an unopposed victory.
Comedian of the year – Maulana and Reign
The comedy industry in Uganda is still growing and every year, we register new members. Comedy events have sold out in and out of Kampala. This award will not go to an individual but rather a duo – Maulana and Reign. The comedians, who broke out this year thanks to Comedy Store, have become a household name in comedy cicles. They are the most booked and when they called upon their fans at Theatre Labonita even after only few months in the industry, the numbers did turn up. The comedians beat Salvado, Alex Muhaingi, Amooti and Mc Mariachi to this one.
International Concerts – Awilo in Kampala
Awilo Longomba had two shows in Uganda in April this year. The singer performed at Kampala Serena Hotel and later went to Arua Greenlight Stadium. With other international concerts such as Wizkid’s Dirty December, Mya Concert, Christopher Martin and D’Major All Star Concert, Awilo’s Concert takes this category because it brought together not only the usual suspects, but had the millennials mingling with the over 40s club. It was a legit audience. As many enjoyed his performance at Serena moving out after the show with sweaty faces, some could not take it but followed him to Arua for his second show.
This might as well just remain a permanent slot for Nyege Nyege. There have been some good concerts this year, but nothing comes close to the annual Nyege Nyege Festival, which has been winning this Sqoop category for three years in a row now. The four-day day festival attracts thousands of people from different countries around the world as they come to celebrate art amid parte after parte. This year’s edition, which saw Talent Africa, the organisers celebrate 10 years, was spiced up with fireworks on Day 3. Nyege Nyege gets extra kudos for the great production, curation, and lineup of performers to cater for the various festival goers.
Video of the Year – Wire Wire
Let’s admit, Ugandan artistes are really investing in their videos lately and this year, we have been up there. Most of the videos have been of high standards and of class even from artistes we thought can’t pull it off. But one musician who dedicated himself to having quality work is Bebe Cool and this year alone he has three quality videos that it also gave us a hard time to choose which one to nominate. This year, we noticed his ‘Wire wire’, pitting it with ‘love yo‘ by Fefe Busi, ‘Gutujja’ B2C and Rema as well as ‘Sunday’ by Toniks, Roja and SlickStuart.