After taking a break for almost five years in the US and trying out an acting career, GNL Zamba on Saturday dropped his song, Dear Hiphop, announcing his return to music.
Last year, we were surprised to see GNL Zamba back home with his wife, Miriam Tamar after almost five years since he left the country. They were here for the Christmas break… and then longer. The longer the rapper stayed in the country, the more questions were asked about whether he was back for good. He never gave a clear response, preferring to answer at a later time, when he chose to.
Could this be the time? Well, on Saturday, GNL premiered DEAR Hip Hop, a song about his lost love for Lugaflow and how he missed the game.
In the song, he mentions Ugandan hip hop big names such as Babaluku, Navio, Sylvester and Abrams, Lyrical G, Lumix, MC Yala, Slyke and Milka.
“This is a poetic story telling song dedicated to Hiphop fans in Ug. It had been a minute since we last talked about the girl we all fell in love with and how authentic she is, so I wrote a letter, ‘Dear Hiphop’,” he told us.
It is almost 11 years since GNL, real name Earnest Nsimbi, started his professional music career with an album titled Koyi Koyi. Never did he anticipate that the album, which had songs such as Ani Yali Amanyi, Soda Jinjale, Mr Right and Story ya Luka, would earn him an immediate title of Uganda’s biggest hip hop artiste.
GNL is credited for popularising Lugaflow and making it a choice for many youth who then only looked up to international rappers. However, about five years ago, the rapper decided to seek the American dream. The story was that he had dropped the mic and was looking at changing course to pursue a movie career in Hollywood.
Back home, many missed GNL and would often pour out their disappointment on social media, calling on the rapper to return home and resurrect the glory of Lugaflow.
Dear Hiphop could be the resurrection, but it is not an album but just a single preparing ground for his album, Spear. The song is also not part of the album but a very crucial art piece inscribed as an ode to the love of his life during Quarantine.
He says the song also serves to remind us (Hiphop and UG) about the beauty of storytelling!
“Dear Hip hop, I miss you. Of all the women I’ve been with, you the best. I’m tired of seeing you.”
Dear Hiphop follows the last freestyle series of personal dedications to the game! So in a nutshell, Dear Hiphop isn’t just a song, it is a social campaign of expression through Hiphop.
When we asked why he couldn’t hold onto the song until the lockdown was eased, GNL said we need to understand that there is a huge number of underground Hiphop fans who do not feel satisfied and nourished even with the myriad of songs on air right now.
“They feel the aura of the game needs a poet to describe it in these strange times. A typical GNL Zamba fan is also a strange creature… they will fill the inbox until you give them what they crave. A lyrical stream that waters their conscience! Music they can listen to that identifies with their raw identity, an authentic inspiring voice from a master lyricist!
That is what the universe sent me here to do. I had to give them panacea for their relentless spirit, especially in the hard times of quarantine!”
Is this song enough to determine GNL’s comeback? He believes so and says he will make the official announcement with the Spear album.
“Yes I’m back! But I will make my official announcement with the album release and a major homecoming show is in the works in my momeland. I’m back to Uganda but now I’m a global artiste. I will still be flying wherever Baboon Forest or Nsimbi music events are. This new chapter of my life is all about growth, Hiphop entrepreneurship, activism and creating bridges for Ugandan artistes around the world.”