Is Chameleon really Africa’s Number six? Is he Uganda’s number one in the first place

03:08 by Kaggwa Andrew

When people read that title, there are more chances they will ask for my head or question my authority to doubt their beloved. I’m a young trained Ugandan journalist, which means I have the right to comment and give my opinion which is usually right.
For about a decade Chameleon has been deemed as the number one artist in the land, a title he aptly gave himself and constantly brags about.
Ugandans believe in him so much that at one time they felt that the PAM awards and the Ugandan music industry at large couldn’t survive without his husky voice. They believe in him so much that when someone started a web rumor that Chameleon is Africa’s number six, some Ugandans were ready to buy the lie.
For me and my very intelligent opinion, Chameleon is truly Uganda’s most influential artist but calling him the best or most gifted Ugandan artist regardless of who you are is simply naïve.
Lets get to the drawing board how do international platforms like Forbes rate an artiste as the best or number one? They look at the single and album sales (something the Ugandan and many African industries have no clue about). The awards nominated and won, this usually includes the local minority, major and international awards. In Ugandan terms the local minority awards would be Buzz Teeniez and all those awards that held only a single ceremony. In the US this would be the Teens Choice Awards, MTV awards, Popcorn Awards, MOBO and the rest. In fact these awards are rarely mentioned when introducing a person because they are not that big. Then there those major awards like PAM awards, these are mentioned when its all an artist has. In the US this would be American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Awards and Country Music Awards just to mention the few. Then we have the internationally acclaimed awards like Grammy, World Music Awards, Brits and some few others. Down to Africa, we have few respectable music awards like KORA awards (which have not taken place in years) and probably the Channel O music awards.
If an artist is to be rated from the sales to the respected awards, you will wonder which criteria was used to name Chameleon Uganda’s undisputed number one or sixth in Africa. True dude has had a couple of hits in the East African region but that’s all. And when you think about it, no one fails to make a regional hit as long as they can put a few kiswahilli words together.
Mama mia was truly an East African sensational but does he have any other Mama mias as long as this region is concerned? We may be calling him an East African superstar when in reality all he did was start his career in Kenya, become huge in Uganda and made one East African mega hit. I’ve personally talked to many Kenyan friends and todate the chameleon song they praise is Mama mia not any other in fact one told me he has not had any other Chameleon song but the classic.
Kanye west one of the most respected rappers in the world joined active music in 2004 and between then and today, he boasts of sixteen Grammy awards and over 50 nominations, that’s why he rightly calls himself the rap god because he has nothing to explain. The album sales and various awards say it all. It’s so disturbing that we can’t say the same about Jose Chameleon.
We all know he’s been nominated once for KORA, MTV MAMA, MOBO international awards but that’s all he never wins and we all know no one remembers that dude that didn’t show up and that dude was Jose Chameleon.
When I see him on TV telling scribes that he’s Africa’s number six, he comes off as a musician who almost had it but may be lost it because of some worthless fight with Bobi Wine.
Deep down Chameleon knows he’s not Africa’s number six and when he goes to bed he truly understands Radio and Bebe cool are way better singers than he is. I know he wishes he had all the international exposure and accolades Keko, Maurice Kirya or even Bebe Cool. I won’t mention Navio because much as he won that award in Malaysia, we are not sure of the organizers (who know it was a family award show).
When I talk about the number one artist in the land I want to talk about someone who has flown the Ugandan flag from the dusty streets of kampala to the Bigbrother house to TV stations in Europe (am not talking of Ugandan TV stations in the Diaspora). Chameleon has not achieved that beyond the East African community yet when you research about African Music you will realize Keko and Maurice feature prominently. Actually at the moment Keko’s make you Dance Video is prominently featuring on Trace TV Urban Chart show and Maurice Kirya’s Don’t wanna fight is making it big on the continental platforms.
Chameleon is not the number one artist in the country but the most influential and commercial artist to ever get on a Ugandan stage. Influential people are so good that they make you believe they are better than all the rest. Influential people are names, slogans and they generate a lot of interest from the public. Ugandans have failed to tell the difference between influential and best though these are totally different. Justin Beiber, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are the most influential pop stars in the world but none of them is considered the best and so is Chameleon in Uganda.
When it comes to him being Africa’s number six, does anyone know who ranked the artists? Well it was some Kenyan website a site by Kenyans in the Diaspora. The list must have been done probably by someone who was definitely narrow minded about African music. He names 2Face, Psquare, Dbanj, Akon, Chameleon, Nameless and others. This website is then contradicted by another Kenyan blog where Chameleon is ranked 29th. Mwakilisha doesn’t have a lot of details as to why the artists were put in their positions its like someone underlined the few African artists he knew and published to the web.
Surprisingly last year, Forbes published a list of Africa’s top 49 celebrities and almost three quarters of these were musicians, if you want to know if Chameleon featured, he didn’t. only one East African artist made the list Eric Wainana which says a lot of ugandan music and East African music atlarge. Remember forbes is the most trusted as long as showbiz ranks are concerned, the ball is in your hands now after all is said do you really believe Jose Chameleon is Africa’s number six?


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