Review: Mbamalawo - Navio

00:31 by Kaggwa Andrew

As an artiste, you will always be advised to sing in a language you’re either comfortable in or the one that you feel your fans get the message best.
And it explains why only a few English songs by our local artistes have dominated the airwaves, not that Ugandan music lovers don’t understand the queen’s language, most of the times it sung in ways not peculiar to many of us, in fact songs like Bread and Butter by Radio and Weasel and Bebe Cool’s Love you Every day are proof that music delivered and packaged the right way knows no language.
This brings us to Navio, out of nowhere, after shunning his mother tongue for over a decade, he released Mbamalawo, an almost 80% Luga-rap song.
Forget these things where he has the likes of Frida Sonko or Ssegamwenge hooks, in this particular song, Navio sings the chorus and two verses in Luganda.
Of course it could be one of those songs that Navio never wished the earth to see him do considering a 2004 newspaper interview where he said he couldn’t do a song in a language he can’t speak, so what changed the rapper’s mind?
Gravity Omutujju, many think.
Remember when Gravity was just emerging almost three years back, rappers dismissed him as raga artiste while others tried to embrace him, to date, the question of whether he’s or not hip hop has not been settled.
But this has not stopped Gravity from doing what he does and it didn’t deter Navio either. It’s been the sort of arrangement where Gravity had the downtown and the other had the sophiscated uptown.
Now all this came to halt when Gravity visited uptown and stripped Navio off the Buzz Teeniez Best Rap artiste award beating others like Mun*G, Keko and everyone else that had referred to the Broken English rapper as kidandali.
And Mbamalawo could be Navio’s answer, trying to fight and protect what he believes is his birthright.
Navio wasn’t inspired by Gravity to do this song, he was rather forced – inspired songs don’t sound so flat and out of emotions.
We’ve seen artistes do songs in languages they don’t speak but nailing it, for crying out loud at the beginning of the year, one Deena from German sounded flawless on Mumulete and so did Bobi Wine on a Swahili Paradiso, thus Navio had no excuse to carelessly throw around broken Luganda words, he doesn’t sing but mimic the language which is absurd, if it makes him uncomfortable that much, why did he try it in the first place?
Navio's song is an excuse, the punchlines are weak and it suffers all through lyrically, it even becomes worse with the video which has him walking about in a ghetto with fellow 'Uga-flow' rappers Flex Da'paper and someother guy we are sure will not make it.
Seriously after going through his song for about for minutes, the words of Gravity that it will take his concert for Hip Hop in Uganda to get independence make more sence, because at the moment, what many rappers are doing is emulate thus keeping themselves slaves to the Brooklyn kind of rap, which is an American culture.
In Mbamalawo, we see Navio giving in, trying to embrace the Luganda he’s tried to avoid, generally to sum it up, this song is a very big joke.


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