Following the 7/11 bombings, I vowed never to step foot at the Kyadondo Rugby grounds. But I could not miss the opportunity of a life time to watch arguably Uganda’s best artistes go head-to-head. This was the first of its kind in the history of Uganda’s musical industry. A musical battle between the infamous Head of the Gagamel Entertainment, Bebe Cool dubbed ‘King fi di Jungle’ against the much celebrated proponent of the Firebase Crew, H.E President of Uganja Bobi Wine oftentimes referred to as the Ghetto President.
As fate would have it, it rained cats and dogs in the afternoon worsening Kampala’s already testing traffic jam. Nonetheless, this did not deter the fans who by 6pm had formed a mammoth queue awaiting their turn to buy tickets at the entrance of the grounds. Kayihura’s boys kept a tight grip on security. Everything was searched, no stone unturned. The women’s weaves were not spared either.
As expected, the show took forever to start. The stage was enormous but dissected by a net of chains reminding me of the ‘WWE Cage Match’ with each side having its own band, DJ turntable and emcee. The output of the loudspeakers was epic; you could feel your heart burst out of your chest.
View the event photogallery here.
Katongole Omutongole the emcee of the show stepped up to the plate at 7pm. I reckon the organisers would have done better than Katongole whose gimmicks came off rather childish. Nevertheless, he somewhat managed to make the crowd laugh. Upon leaving, he bestowed on the crowd the power to adjudicate at the end of the show
Filled to the brim, the entrance was shut deterring any more fans from entering the grounds. Aboard a ‘pioneer bus’, Bobi Wine and the Firebase entourage entered from through the entrance at the right side of the stage. Fire sprays lit the air with a fair share of the crowd shouting ‘Bobi! Bobi! Bobi!’. Bebe cool followed suit in his much talked about Hammer to jubilation transcending the voices of Bobi Wine’s fans with some of Bobi’s quickly switching camp.
Omulangila Ndaus introduced Bebe on stage throwing the crowd into an overwhelming frenzy. If there is one thing Bebe Cool has mastered, it’s the art of crowd pulling. For no sooner had he stepped on stage than the audience jumped up and joined in the singing. The plastic chairs seemed to have outlived their purpose and served another but rather odd purpose of being flown up in the air like flags. The wheels had been set in motion.
After performing three songs, according to the rules of the battle, it was Bobi Wine’s turn to sway the audience to his side. He started his campaign with verbal attacks ranging from Bebe Cool’s financial constraints to his marital woes. The audience, with the exception of a few pockets of them, was not really concerned about what they had going on behind the scenes but more about who could entertain them more to their satisfaction. But alas, what he lacked in persuasion and amusement, he made up for in live singing as opposed to counterpart. His voice not only rhymed well with his band but was much more audible.
Unfortunately, this was not an R n B or Soul concert; it was a dancehall concert of which the crowd was the judge. The crowd booed him off stage and started to chant Bebe Cool’s name to rescue them from the musical oppression the President had put them through.
The Ghetto President retaliated with a song that more or less was directed at Bebe’s financial and marital predicaments. His time was up with only one song performed but to the delight of the crowd who could not wait for the “Big Size’s” next performance. Round one was finished with a point to the Munene for an outstanding performance and nil to the Ghetto President for the lack of creativity.
Bebe Cool on the other hand did not disappoint. For his second performance he stepped out in a Chinese inspired outfit with traditional baganda dancers in tow. The song was retaliation to Bobi’s remarks that he (Bobi) is the Kabaka’s man/musajja wa Kabaka. But aside from the glamour, Bebe showed surprising maturity evading even the provocative remarks made by his nemesis. He politely asked Silk Events after his four songs to switch his microphone off and give chance to the President to perform. The sequel continued with each side giving its best shot.
3.30 a.m, what would have been the close of the show, seemed to be the start of it. In came Kayihura’s boys with intent to stop the show as it was way past the requisite midnight limit. The Ghetto President refused to give up his microphone and continued to throw insults that came off as the kicks of a dying horse. Since the crowd was the judge and the way it chanted Bebe Cool for an encore was enough to know who had gone home with the belt. Either it was a well pulled off ponzi scheme that drained a great deal of money out of us or the greatest show performed by our local artistes. Am more inclined to choose the latter.