REVIEW: Bikaaye (MTN Pulse Cypher Winners) – MooTowNoh, Triggah, King Missy, Ebrahim Soul’o, Matt Travers.
In life and business, it is common that you will be asked who you know or who knows you. Who have you worked with? What important person can you call right now, and they will most certainly pick up the phone?
In music, the same applies but more in terms of “who endorses you.” When your answer is a hefty name like MTN Uganda, you won’t have to over sell your story, you will be given more than enough time to tell it.
MTN Uganda under their MTN Pulse youth brand that has continuously created a platform to elevate UG Hip-Hop. At their latest stage of this relationship, they have taken it a little bit further.
Where we used to get a beat and have up and coming rappers deliver their best bars and eventually crown a winner; MTN Pulse has given this rounds’ top 5 rappers studio time and a chance to demonstrate that it isn’t just about sweet 16s.
The result of this studio time is a song title Bikaaye.
Produced by the legendary Benon Mugumbya of the musical and events power house Swangz Avenue, Bikaaye features MooTownoh, Triggah, King Missy, Ebrahim Soul’o and Matt Travers. These 5 rappers are the cream of the latest edition of the MTN Pulse Cypher.
The theme on Bikaaye was an excellent choice. The rappers talk about our current financial, political, social and even relationship situations. Bikaaye loosely translated means “things are tough, the situation is dire.” The 5 rappers all put their best foot forward and they stay on course to deliver very captivating verses.
MooTownoh brings reference to very painful topics like the recent fuel prices and how we have downgraded from Tequila to Sodas now. This all leads you into a verse you will enjoy because you have at least been in more than 2 scenarios he raps about – so you get it! Bikaaye is also the first time we are hearing him deliver a verse impressively fused with Luganda and English.
Triggah delivers the second verse and the language diversity takes it to a whole new dimension. I honestly don’t know what he was saying, but the flow is why we enjoy listening to rappers from all cultures. Triggah was the overall winner of this Edition and his creative choice to keep it native is why he is such an appealing talent. This is best experienced when you listen to his “AfriKan DNA” EP.
We get to the chorus. A beautifully done hook by a mystery voice. A glorious mystery voice. The voice is a spell and throughout the hook you will forget what the song is actually about. You will be in a trance, eyes closed, enjoying the highs and the lows of the vocals, you will only remember that you don’t have yaka when you open your eyes after hook. In that moment, you run out of power.
Then you will go like… Eh! Eh! Eh! ebintu Bikaaye…
King Missy comes third and she is all about her money. She wants whatever you owe her even if it’s UGX 100. That’s exactly where we all are. We are either defaulting or chasing someone we lent some money to. Her performance is notable. She is fresh off an EP “Saved For 18” and seeing her already lending her skills to projects with other artists is the growth we love to see.
Ebrahim tells us about the inevitable social inequality. We have folks that can afford extravagant displays like billboards for their weddings, while there is another group that cannot afford chapati. This 4th verse is delivered with such playful charm that it’s easy to follow and you will likely find yourself humming to it the next time you buy a chapati.
The hook returns and you drown in the vocals ignoring the landlord’s text until the song is done.
Matt Travers is the closing verse and my personal favorite. For this one, he takes pole position – to borrow a reference from his verse. I am always impressed by how articulate and audible he is – this is definitely one of his greatest strengths. It’s best demonstrated on “Over the Moon” with Akeine and it pleasantly returns here. His delivery makes him so easy to listen to and thoroughly enjoy. The arrogant confidence when he says “I make it look easy to you, right?” is captivating and the sort of conviction you want from a young rapper that has the talent to back up that energy.
The hook wraps up the entire presentation beautifully and you are off to reflect on how indeed “ebintu Bikaaye”.
Over all, these 5 rappers are an act you should independently keep on your radar. Look out for the projects they have coming. They have been through the hands of some of the best mentors in the industry, we expect no excuses.
Bikaaye is a testament of what they are capable of. All of them have tracks out there and listening to them it comes to no surprise that they have won the fans votes and the judges’ verdict.
Congratulations to them and a big thank you to MTN Pulse for continuously promoting the UG Hip-Hop culture.