Coolio, Kidandali and everything in between

Author: Angella Nampewo. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • We will make peace with kidandali if that is what is on sale at the next concert.   

On Wednesday, two things happened. Grammy award winning rapper Coolio, real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr, died aged 59. While breaking the news of his death, many major news outlets found it necessary to add his hit song next to his name in the headlines. It was only the big entertainment websites that simply said Coolio is dead. Quite unlike a Ugandan upcoming artiste, the American rapper needed no introduction. 

Meanwhile, closer to home, Ugandan hip-hop artiste GNL Zamba tweeted challenging colleagues who had deserted hip-hop for kidandali, some kind of amorphous party danceable tunes, to show if the decision had made them rich. Tweeps were quick to remind him that the target audience was not on Twitter. 

Still, in my humble opinion, I think both sides would do well to pay attention to the words of Coolio, “Life is a big game so you gotta play it with a big heart. Some of us gotta run a little faster cause we gotta later start...” So to each his own. If hip-hop is your chosen path, then so be it. Perhaps the others have worked out that kidandali is the road to heaven or they have come to the conclusion that that is what the audience really wants right now.

While I was pondering the transition in music tastes and changes in genre over the years, I was also struck by some of the irony in the wake of Coolio’s death. The rapper was born on the same day as one of my little ones some 40 odd years ago and that it would interest them to know that he provided the opening track for a Nickelodeon TV series, which is popular with the young audiences. 

It was just yesterday that the little imps made me spell the word ‘Nickelodeon’, believing I would fail because I had no clue. The generational differences could not have been more apparent. As I reminisce how the good old 90s music kept us out of trouble, they will probably be going like, ‘Coolio who?’ Kidandali, alongside whatever American import, is a fact of life that they have been born into. The footage from several school concerts around Kampala confirms it. Thus, when they hear GNL Zamba trying to draw the line between hip hop and kidandali, they may wonder what that is all about because the whole hip hop scene probably came and went before they were in their nappies. As for Coolio and everything that happened in the 1900s, that is ancient history. It might as well have happened in the days of Jesus Christ. 

For those of us who still remember, it’s the end of an era. We may frown on the current order of things but that is what the children of the millennium have chosen and we respect that. To tell the story of greats like Coolio, it becomes necessary to add an identifying song title so the rest of the world can get it. 

It’s credit to Coolio that he kept in the game and never stopped transforming so that he was there for a generation of parents and also managed to produce material for their children. However, the stuff for which we will most remember him is the one he made in the ancient times of the 1900s. Meanwhile, we will make peace with kidandali if that is what is on sale at the next concert at the Cricket Oval. There was a time for great rap and hip-hop produced its share of stars back home but we are where we are. May Coolio rest in peace! 

Ms Angella Nampewo is a writer, editor and communications consultant     
[email protected]


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