Uganda president offers another rap

November 5, 2010 12:00 am

, KAMPALA, Nov 5 – Disc jockeys around Kampala are expecting scores of requests to hear Uganda\’s new hit song when customers hit the bars and clubs this weekend.

"You Want Another Rap?" by President Yoweri Museveni is, according to some, a campaign tool aimed to prove that after 25 years in office the president is still a vibrant candidate.

But others say it\’s just a way to get people on the dance floor.

"It\’s a club banger by a big name artist," said Peter Babu, who plays music at Soberz, a bar southeast of the city-centre.

"It\’s not political. It\’s just a song. I could play it even if there were opposition supporters here. I wouldn\’t worry."

Paddy Kyezze, a DJ at Bricks in central Kampala, was less enthusiastic about the track, but acknowledged he may be forced to play it when his garden bar fills up later.

"For me, it\’s not OK," he said when about the song\’s musical merits. "But, people, they want it, and if there is someone requesting it, I will play it."

While addressing a rally on October 23 for youth supporters of his ruling National Resistance Movement party, Museveni explained that he recently learned about the black African roots of Hip Hop music.

A self-proclaimed Pan-Africanist, Museveni told the crowd it was therefore appropriate for him to contribute to the genre and recited an old folk chant from Ankole, his tribal home.

A few days later, while formally launching his re-election campaign at another rally, he offered a repeat performance.

"You want another rap?" he asked the massive crowd in central Kampala, which shouted back "Yes Sevo!" – his nickname.

A local music producer captured the phrase, added a backing track, and mixed in a reply to the question.

"And every time ‘you want another rap’ is played, for the youth it will be a reminder that their president remains one of them and understands exactly who they are," ruling party spokeswoman Mary Karooro Okurut wrote this week.

Opposition groups responded quickly, with the Democratic Party promising to soon release a rebuttal track called, "Your Rap is Crap."

"That song will do nothing," said Francis Mwijukye, the head of an opposition coalition youth wing.

He said the rap, already with more than 80,000 You Tube hits and spilled over to neighbouring Kenya, does not touch on high youth unemployment and its "give me a stick" chant was offensive.

"If the song were hopeful, talking about what the government can do for young people then may be it could be helpful. But the song is talking about beating people," Mwijukye said.

"You cannot go to a university campus and ask people to clap and dance for you when they have no hope for the future."


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