Attention spans are greatly on the low – too much info and little knowledge out of it. Blogs, newspapers, radio, artists and everyone who has something to say is competing for attention or rather – an audience, a following, a tribe, a movement or even a wave.
Big Sam Yiga’s Tutambula N’abitambula is a 25 track LP (with skits, Intro and Outro) and spans for 1 hour and 25 minutes. This is way too much music and very impressive an effort. What this says about Big Sam is that, no more excuses. The project is knowledge for days.
The LP was released on 8th March, 2017 and heck I find myself finally making a write up for the project in December. My Luganda competence has greatly improved over time and that’s why we are here.
Try and listen to the LP up to end you’ll know how long the process has been and it’ worth.
Big Sam on this album put his all including wisdom, truths, stories and inspiration especially for Luga Flow. Having the legendary Dlux Ibraw offer a sort of commentary for the LP offers it a legendary status co-sign. Being a veteran rapper himself, Big Sam is a knowledgeable cat.
If you remember the childhood stories that we told each other, the childhood games and entirely a rich childhood with play – Tutambula N’abitambula is heavy nostalgia of those times. This album is deeply rooted in the Oral Culture delivered via Luga flow – it is no surprise that all the feature are Luga Flow artists( Mulekwa, Babaluku, Shemy B, Sigo Black, Spyda, Alikaliba) except Akongo who offers vocal backups and hooks on some tracks.
In translation Tutambula N’abitambula simply means we go with what’s working or we move with what’s meaningful. Conceptually, the album shows numerous shades of Big Sam. Big Sam: as a story teller on tracks like Tebamanyi, Twejjukanye and Mirandira. Big Sam: as an entertainer, legendary emcee, human with weakness.
From track one to fourteen which is Dlux’s first appearance on the project, it marks the end of a more nostalgic ‘Biggy’. The first part of the album is much more narrative with stories of youth, strive and life. Family is not left out, roots/origins to love and certainly a comment on education. The intention of this album was to offer Big Sam a moment of clarity, to prove to him and fans he can spit and tell stories too.
Mirandira, which is a southern trap charged track offers Big Sam and Mulekwa to explain the ‘I have been there, than that’ of Luga Flow with their name on it. Later on tracks like Baako Kyokola featuring Lady Slyke – ignites us to take action and be responsible. Coming from the ghetto which is the heart of this album, faking it to make it or stay on it till you make are the messages emphasised.
The album is not that much linear as regards having a concrete story line; however, implicitly the beats that were chosen show you what it means to try different approaches to life. Trap, boom-bap, reggae to classic grand piano – you can’t want more justification for trying different ropes.
As a human being Big Sam takes time to thank God and ask him for more strength on Ndaaga Ekubo a track that shows we need some sort of light path. Having thanked God one can go ahead to have some fun right? As a single Baala Life marked an OG and on the way to make it collaboration. The LP has different temperaments and joy and celebration are just one of them felt on Baala Life.
The second half of Tutambula N’abitambula is rid of stories but charged with gospels, pieces of advice and clarity especially from Dlux. Biggy hires Babaluku for, Some Day which says a lot about Big Sam’s taste of rappers to work with.
The skits and interludes help to offer a deep narrative of what it means to be Big Sam and to keep on keeping on.
A history of Ugandan Hip Hop is explored in one way or another and one great historical personality especially to the Luga Flow realm – Rokym Mukunja (R.I.P) is celebrated. A tribute song for him is made with Alikaliba, Mulekwa, and St. Nelly Sade join Biggy to offer their heartfelt lines.
For anyone who is yet to be on tabs with Ugandan Hip hop not written anywhere, the stories from Kasubi, Bakuli and Rubaga told by Big Sam within them is a Ugandan Hip Hop history. Not much has been written in the past years having an OG make 25 track project is more than we would wish for.
Before the project wraps up you notice a braggadocio emcee on Nassalawo ( I chose) and there you get a reconfirmation, it is about Hip hop and will always be for Big Sam as he talks about life.
Hip Hop is definitely a greater place with the input of different artists, people from the past that to this day some still live. Big Sam if you asked me, was saying exactly that. In just 1 hour and 25 minutes you part with lessons on survival, making it, sticking to the script and Hip hop at the end of it all.
We might not call it the best album there is, but a story filled project with much authenticity it stands out.
The year is ending with only one fully fledged Luga Flow album; may be that doesn’t matter but for the sake of lyricism, wordplay and telling stories with hip hop for 2017 this is one of best we’ve got!