In October 2015, an all-star cast of artistes Bebe Cool, Chameleone, Radio and Weasel and Rema among others came together and recorded a song endorsing the NRM candidate and current president Yoweri Museveni as the best choice for the 2016 elections.
Of course the public would react, calling them money minded, greedy and the last coming with a resolution that they were going to boycott the artistes.
Much as the idea to boycott the artistes was scoffed at, those involved on the project, now popularly known by different names like Special Twelve or the Yellow Twelve, have not had it easy for the past few months.
For instance, even when he had all reasons to give, it’s openly thought that Bebe Cool had his East African Carnival scrapped this Easter season because he had predicted doom. But it’s not just him, his collegues on the Tubonga Nawe anthem like Radio and Weasel or Haruna Mubiru have had to endure concert flops in the diaspora.
Bebe has still been a subject of social media attacks and at the beginning of this month, things went from his wall and tagging to reality when fans hurled insults at him and his Gagamel team when they showed up for the Uganda Cranes and Burkina Faso game at Nambole.
But amidst the tension, some artistes are actually making a killing – With many of the Tubonga Nawe crew in hibernation; it has given group artistes a chance to be the playing mouse now that the cats are into hiding.
Winnie Nwagi has been highly looked as that one artiste that has benefited from Iryn Namubiru’s scarcity. During the tension that has seen people call Namubiru and Juliana Kanyomozi names for praising the incumbent, Nwagi has managed to slowly encroach on their market with three remarkable songs, Kibulamu, Science alongside King Saha and the runaway hit Musawo.
Besides winning a couple of awards at the beginning of the year, the songstress has curtain raised on a number of shows and has enjoyed quite a number of appearances on media.
From the same camp like Nwagi, Irene Ntale is having a good run too, just over the weekend, she got the audience at the Friday Night Lights Basketball tourney dancing and eating out of her palms which was a contrast of Mun*G, whose shine was stolen a little reveler two weeks back.
But it is Sheebah Karungi that must be having the time of her life, in a period of three months, the crazy girl has managed to get more than four songs trending.
She kicked off the year with Ndiwanjawulo, Wantama followed them up with Nsekula alongside Fefe Busi and last week she released her long awaited single and video Nkwatako which has received lots of rave reviews even when it was released in the same week like Bebe Cool’s African Girl.
Amidst the boycott other artistes have managed to clean their social media image which has seen them improve in the number of followers, for instance, the survey done by TechJaja.com, an IT website, Bobi Wine currently has one of the fast growing celebrity pages and by February, when their research was published, his numbers had shot up by 1167, Ntale though also was performing even way better with 1578 likes.
One Arnold Zziwa noted that before the whole political drama, he cared less about what Bobi Wine posted but now, he follows and even shares his posts; “You would realise that even his space in the news is changing, these days he makes it to page two in dailies,” he says.
Since he came out to release songs like Situka, Bobi Wine’s fame has surged, he held a sold out Easter Monday show at Busabala and he’s in plans to dare Nambole stadium for his annual show.
He has been interviewed by BBC, CCTV and has also been on the cover of the Independent Magazine alongside heading the safe water campaign for children in Karamoja that culminated into the Viva Con Agua We Love YoUganda Festival, a campaign that Bebe Cool was a face of previously.
Some have though dedicated Bobi Wine’s good performance to a fact that he has of recent hired the services of Ann Whitehead, a communication specialist to improve his image both online and in the traditional media.
Of course with many of the Tubonga Nawe artistes not releasing music, they have given Ugandans a chance to move on without them, and much of this is visible on local music sites where the likes of Nwagi, Sheebah and Maro dominate their charts; on www.howwe.biz, the most popular audio plays are from Nwagi, Sheebah, Pallaso and yes, Bad Black among others.
HiPipo’s chart leaders are not that different besides a fact that the songs are, for example Sheebah appears in the top ten with Nsekula as opposed to Nkwatako with other artistes being Navio for his Ganda influenced Njogereza, Bobi Wine for Dembe.
However, even when the cards are still against them, many seem to be dusting off, for instance Chameleone has since released his single Double Trouble and much as it is struggling at the moment, it is thought it will pick up, Namubiru has redeemed herself with two releases in two weeks, one being a collaboration with Maro, Bebe Cool’s African Girl video premiered on MTV Base last week and Rema alongside Aziz Azion have too released their long awaited Oli Wakabi.
Will these songs work even with an impending swearing in?
As one artiste puts it, it will all come down to what Bebe Cool posts at that time.