Uganda’s only Grammy Award winner pastor George Okudi has ripped into fellow singer Eddie Kenzo for proclaiming greatness over deceased Ugandan music legend, Philly Bongoley Lutaaya.
Okudi, the 2003 east African male artiste and 2003 African male artiste of the year made the scathing attack on Mr. Kaana ka Mbaata in a scathing interview on Farouk Sarkhozy’s youtube channel.
Speaking from his base in the US, Okudi scoffed at Kenzo’s claim that he is a bigger artiste than the late Philly by virtue of his songs having more social media views and likes than Lutaaya’s.
Kenzo made the claim while responding to critics who scorned him for murdering his remake of late Philly Lutaaya’s monster classic, ‘Born in Africa’.
Reacting to the criticism, Kenzo assured his haters that he’s currently Ugandan music’s biggest export to the entire globe, a feat Lutaaya never achieved in his lifetime.
Kenzo based his argument on social media popularity, saying that unlike Lutaaya’s original song which has just about 1 million views, his (Kenzo) songs have in excess of 100 million views/likes each on Youtube and Facebook.
Pr. Okudi Goes Politically Savage
However, Kenzo’s remarks rubbed many people the wrong way, with many berating him for disrespecting a man whose music has remained eternal decades after his death in December 1989.
Music critics, artistes, producers and others have trashed Kenzo, with general consensus having it that the greatness of Lutaaya’s song is the same reason Kenzo was forced to jump onto it.
The latest to board the critics’ bandwagon have been music greats pastor George Okudi and Dr. Jose Chameleone who advised kenzo not to mix social media numbers in his talk about Lutaaya.
On his part, Wipolo singer and double Kora Award winner Pastor Okudi urged Kenzo to show some respect to greats like Lutaaya and him due to their ability to sing original music without the aid of technological aids like auto tune.
He then demystified the theory of social media numbers, calling them fake since they can be bought. Okudi narrated that he has also been enticed to buy social media views and likes so that his songs can appear more popular than actually they are.
In fact, to stress his point, Okudi went savage, likening Kenzo’s music likes to NRM electoral results which are usually doctored to give victories to actual losers.
“I was also approached and told to pay some money so that they could give me a million views for my song overnight. So, those likes are Ugandan electoral votes. You go to sleep with different results and then you wake up with different vote numbers. Those are Kenzo’s like,” Okudi said. He added that the difference between Kenzo and Lutaaya’s likes is that the former’s are fake while Lutaaya’s are organic. Okudi advised Kenzo to fire his producer for doing a very bad job on what he called a ‘karaoke’ song!
Kenzo Is Frustrated — Chamili
Echoing Okudi’s opinion, Chameleone advised Kenzo to desist from chest-thumping over sovail media views, arguing that it is known that they can be doctored these days.
Chameleone also termed the Philly-Kenzo comparison a total mismatch given that the two musicians sang in different eras.
“Philly was not digital generation… you don’t bring (digital) numbers to a generation which wasn’t digital,” Chemeleone said. The Leone Island legend added that Philly’s greatness manifests in the fact that he managed to hit global heights in an era when it was very hard to market music unlike today when digital technology and social media have made it very easy to market music — including using deceptive numbers techniques.
Chameleone also reminded Kenzo that to date Philly’s music has remained eternal and keeps resurrecting every year despite the man having died decades ago.
“I’ll give you a scenario; I also sang a Christmas album but every year people listen to Philly’s Christmas music album without anyone promoting it or forcing them to. That therefore defeats the argument of numbers,” Chamili said.
To debunk the myth of numbers, Chameleone went down memory lane to explain the hustle of marketing music in the analogue era and the ease of modern digital music marketing techniques which have bred deceptive greatness.
“During our generation Kasiwukira would load a truckful of Ugandan music and drive through Mwanza, Zambia, Mozambique up to South Africa selling it. He would then return with South African music (meaning only the best work made it out of the country. But today the digital technology has made it possible for musicians to buy likes and views and followers on facebook and youTube,” he said. He then urged the public not to be shaken by musicians who brag about their songs trending with likes and views.
“Personally I know how they buy these social media likes, views and followers but I just can’t engage in such as I prefer organic growth.”
Chamili’s Final Verdict
Giving his final verdict, Chamili urged Kenzo not to dare compare himself to Philly, saying it is a big challenge that Philly’s music is trending on today’s digital space yet he died way before it evolved. However, Chameleone was quick to defend Kenzo, saying he could have been forced by frustration to make the spiteful comparison.
“One thing about Ugandans is that they like putting down their own instead of encouraging them. We have all suffered such negativity and I know how frustrating it is; possibly, my brother Kenzo is feeling the same,” Chamili explained. The music doctor closed his remarks by prescribing positivity for Eddie Kenzo.
“I must be the most negatively talked about musician in Uganda; they’ve called me a murderer, chameleon and all other bad things apart from rapist. I however always ignore the pessimists and cynics and concentrate my energies on those who love me. I just want to encourage my friend Kenzo to do that,” Dr. Chameleone advised.