1Der Jr – Kampala EP: purpose, hope, polarity and more hope (review)

1Der Jr – Kampala EP:  purpose, hope, polarity and more hope (review)

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Kampala EP opens up with a sample of a preacher telling of how one can find themselves and purpose in God and to be used by Him. The musical lines that open the EP by Andre are: Now let me tell you ‘bout my story/ I was lonely/ Oba father came calling me/ Me talk ‘bout the glory (glory)… and from there on you know what is going to happen next or not?

Kampala EP is the latest addition of full length projects that dropped in 2017 list. There was a time we would get one to two Albums a year. This year is deeply exceptional like the last two previous years. More Eps, LPs, Mixtapes and quality comes with them.

Kampala EP was released last Thursday,  at Gekko Lounge. The project had a number of its singles already released like Hallelujah (produced by Aethan), 17:4. It is a 6 track project that spans for 25 minutes.

1Der Jr might be a new artist for some – but he has been around for the past three years dropping projects here and there.

You saved me from my pain/ You made feel right/ gwe Katando wange nkuwe  ekitibwa

I got introduced to Kampala EP via SNMS when the single Hallelujah was playing some months ago. It is the first track and perfect intro into Kampala EP.  You definitely a spiritual vibe that will later be accounted for by the following tracks and sealed off by the final track 17:4 inspired by 1 Kings 17:4.

1Der Jr at Gekko Lounge (Kampala Ep release) courtesy Photo @1DerJr

The brook will supply you with water to drink, and I have commanded ravens to bring you food there – 1 Kings 17:4

This project is extremely polarizing. A fusion of Kampala’s urban sounds and great delivery on Dance Hall/ reggae inspired into Hip Hop – a lane only 1Der Jr has been known for. He is a rapper if you doubt him on Byanshobera (track 3). Honashi brings out his lyrical self on a sample, synth and trap sound.

Yaka Yaka Yaka nge tala (shines like the lamp) – this line is at the heart of the EP. A one 1Der Jr; who has seen things, has been redeemed from a certain amount of setbacks.  Conceptually, he is about positive vibes just like the campaign Arts for Hearts. We need love and a light path, and Kampala offers all that.

Drogba (Produced by Izaya) takes you away from that lyrical staff (not to say he isn’t lyrical on it) and gets you singing and creating moves – do the Drogba move. If you remember the Keko – Madtraxx song, Make you dance then Drogba is home. Drogba the track inspired by Ivory Coast football player Didier Drogba; without much effort is a metaphor for celebration.

Ruhanga okampanga, / Wampa namagara/ Wampa namanyi /Hati  kakuhinise

 (God ever since you have offered/ You have given me blessings/ You have given me strength/ let me lift your praise) – sings Andre on 17:4

Kampala is a flight that offers a young man’s dream, inspirations, stories and analysis of his roots especially musically. Features like Flight, 17:4 say a lot about his sonic ear.

The idea of Kampala as a project that reflects the urban musical landscape – polarizing as it gets sinks in now. Kampala as the capital of Uganda has people of all walks, faith, cultures and musical tastes: 1Der Jr is saying we can all co-exist especially in the higher power – who like Elijah provided for him and thus obedience is important.

Being a uniquely polarising artist with features that enable him cross genres is the implicit gift and curse Kampala EP hopes to offer us. He has to stay relevant and consistent. The different uniqueness we all have and how we can co-exist embody the project and we all should know – love is a key, effortlessly.

To close the EP he calls JC and Andre to offer vocals to a sound that brings us back to his hip hop roots on a modern trap fused with African percussion vibe produced by Kujo.

Hallujah, nga lwaki simusinza? (Hallelujah, why won’t I praise him?)

Diversity and extreme diversity is what this EP stands for and how to leverage this diversity to exist. 1Der Jr raps in English, Luyankole, Luganda and some Patois which well is a somewhat a varied approach.

An examination on why we live is emphasised: are you living for material or seek[ing] the kingdom of God [b]cause the rest is secondary.

One may think of it as a gospel album and yes they are right. 1Der Jr’s Christian influences enable him to add to the secular sounds to break the barriers – more like a story of any one trying to make it in a violent environment. Call this testing your faith, loose it and recover it by realising those weaknesses, those differences make us the same.

Listening to Kampala EP you will be certain of finding some sort of purpose and beauty of music as a therapeutic medium.

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