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Big win for Ugandan music in Battle of Champions

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Big win for Ugandan music in Battle of Champions

Radio and Weasel came on stage like they were headed for boarding school. Photo by Eddie Chicco. 

By Edgar R. Batte

Posted  Monday, December 9  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Musical rivals Bebe Cool and the Goodlyfe duo of Mowzey Radio and Weasel took to the stage to determine the winner in what was dubbed the Battle of Champions show. With Busy Signal, a Jamaican artiste performing a few metres away, many agreed that full house attendance was a win for Ugandan music.

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How do you gauge an artiste over another? Music delivery and output, fashion statements, stage presence and energy, crowd or fans response, lyrical content or number of songs? The jury was out on musical nemeses Bebe Cool and the Goodlyfe duo of Radio and Weasel as they squared it out on stage at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds on Friday.

The Goodlyfe duo kicked off the eagerly awaited musical battle, an opportunity they utilised to not only size up to Bebe Cool, but also prove themselves. But Bebe Cool, who started on a slow tempo in the first three performance segments, or rounds if you like, said he was only rehearsing as he kept seated on a chair.

Thereafter, he proved he still holds his forte in an energetic stage presence that lasted an extra hour after Goodlyfe had left stage.

On that front he proved to his contenders that he is a musical giant whose number of songs outweighs theirs.

Even then, Goodlyfe’s performance was powerful and engaging. Basically fans irrespective of their musical camps had a good time.

And yes clearly the bigger winner in all this even as these artistes musically squared it out was Ugandan music particularly because the Battle of Champions show was taking place within metres of another concert by Jamaican star Busy Signal. Kyadondo Rugby Club was almost filled to capacity, showing that fans had endorsed Ugandan music.

At this show, fans were happy to see Jose Chameleone take a seat in the audience to support Goodlyfe, a duo that he helped cut its musical teeth under his Leone Island Crew, though they later fell out with him. Perhaps the show was the long awaited re-union.

“Big up and much respect to you Jose Chameleone,” Mowzey Radio said attracting applause from the crowd. Weasel, Chameleone’s younger brother, was grateful and expressed his appreciation for his presence in the house.

From 9.15pm to 3.45am, both Goodlyfe and Bebe Cool entertained the crowd with songs and words as they expectedly threw jibes at one another. The emcees on both sides amplified the war of words but also for entertainment as they sought to prove the artiste they represented was better than the other. Longtime friend Omulangira Ndausi was Bebe Cool’s emcee, while Krackers comedians Afande Kerekere and Dicanio emceed for Radio and Weasel.

Zuena was supportive of her man and many times got on her feet to dance to a tune by Bebe. When Goodlyfe performed their song Zuena, which was not only dedicated to her but fanned the war of words between them and Bebe, she only smiled and shared jokes with her friends.

Friendly competition
There were no sharp exchanges per se but utilisation of stage time by the musical contenders to prove to one another that they could sing, perform well to a live band, dress fashionably, engage their fans and prove that they are the better party. Most importantly was that for the first time, the two competitors performed on one stage though there was a wire mesh to separate them, especially as they were only recently not seeing each other eye-to-eye.

The fans were divided with each camp shouting, singing along and dancing in support of their artiste. Many held up placards with words either praising their favourite artiste or “dissing” the opponent.

Jose Chameleone was simply crazy and in a hyper mood and he openly showed support for Goodlyfe. At some point he held out a placard with the words, “RIP Bebe Cool”. Bebe Cool told him off later on.

The entertainment at this concert did not just elicit good stage performance, Bebe and Goodlyfe made some fashion statements too. Goodlyfe arrived dressed in a school uniforms with a badge of Goodlyfe with a motto reading, “Where music lives”. Radio and Weasel were like school-going pupils, holding out their metallic suitcases.

Bebe Cool dressed down for the opening moments and later on severally changed into suits, Chinese attire, a pilot’s outfit, among other outfits.

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