REPRESENTING: “If you are digging the aromas of Mankwa, then plunge into the three-part mockumentary (a fake documentary), who the Hell is Mr Mankwa, which features “interviews.” That Malcolm Guy, whose real name is Malcolm Bigyemano, has been busy rewriting the rules of Ugandan pop music. Gilbert Mwijuke caught up with him for more.
That Malcolm Guy, whose real name is Malcolm Bigyemano, has been busy rewriting the rules of Ugandan pop music for a while, pushing each genre to its illogical limit and making eye-catching video clips to accompany his audio experiments.
Hilarious and ingenious in equal measure, Malcolm’s projects go far beyond making hits or having fun; he seems intent on remixing reality itself.
Even if you are not familiar with the modern history of Ugandan music, this is fascinating stuff – banging tunes with off-the-hook visuals. However, if you are a child of the 90s and grew up listening to Ugandan dancehall music, That Malcolm Guy’s music is like peering through a window into a surreal parallel universe.
Like Quentin Tarantino’s movies, everything in Malcolm’s music is a cheeky rip-off or homage to a masterpiece from recent cultural history.
His first musical project was to resurrect a Ugandan mythical 1990s dancehall singer and armed robber, Mr Mankwa and (re)create for him the catalogue of music he might have made.
If you are digging the aromas of Mankwa, then plunge into the three-part mockumentary (a fake documentary), Who the Hell is Mr Mankwa, which features “interviews” with well-known Ugandan celebrities recalling the incredible life and crimes of this freaky phenomenon. Also worth checking out are the techno-tinged, synth-driven Mini Ninja and the nonsensical club banger, A.U.
Now That Guy Malcolm’s latest project is to “retouch” classics of Ugandan music – old, new and traditional. Eno Mic Retouch is a tribute to one of the biggest Ugandan tunes ever made, released way back in 2002 by Ziggy Dee, the one-hit wonder who fell off soon after his hit song faded off the charts.
Malcolm followed this up with his biggest hit to date: Feediback Retouch. The original Feediback was voiced by his alter ego Mr Mankwa, and it was snapped up by the famous British DJ Joy Orbison to be featured on the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto 6.
That Guy Malcolm then rushed back into the studio with Kenyan superstar Electronic producer Slikback to make an insanely bass-heavy version of the tune. He dropped the retouch with an ambitious video that can only be described as Christopher Nolan meets Shabba Ranks.
This brings us to the latest instalment of Malcolm’s feverish output: Sirikawo Retouch. Here, Malcolm reworks a well-known Ugandan lullaby, turning the original soothing children’s song into a mocking and menacing tirade, over a hybrid instrumental of hip-hop, drill and distorted metal.
Sirikawo Retouch’s video is a cinematic nightmare – switching from conspiracy theory to horror and to crime movie from one scene to the next. Malcolm describes it as a parable for fake news, state violence and broken youth in a world gone mad.
Eno Mic Retouch is perhaps That Malcolm Guy’s most successful recording so far as it has been enjoying moderate airplay on local TV and radio stations – but all of his music is available on all streaming platforms and YouTube.
And with his creative genius, satire and microphone talent, That Malcolm Guy is certainly one new artiste to watch.
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