Earlier on today watching on, I watched the news and Dr. Jose Chameleon aka Joseph Mayanja had been inconvenienced by URA officers over a car whose tax records/documents allegedly were needed and the doctor didn’t have them. Chameleon was on his way to entertain the Buganda King and was stopped suddenly. He spoke with disappointment and immediately expressed what he felt and thought of the situation.
Hip hop came out as a result of unfairness that the black youth were going through in America. At her Genesis, hip hop was limited to rap – the poetry over music samples and loops. The dj played the beat and a rapper spoke his mind – artistically protested, vibes or told stories. In Uganda, 1990 is likely the ideal time in which rap music/Hip Hop hit the nation and many music icons in this country who were around that time are said to have rode that wave.
Watching Jose Chameleon today, I couldn’t help to think about the times he was and is hip hop. Putting in mind what hip hop standards for love, fun and peace – well he wasn’t at peace but was speaking his truth. Hip hop is about speaking your truth. As a versatile artist the man, knew how to tap into different markets and he was a rap darling around 2012 in East Africa and mostly here at home.
Let’s dive into the times Chameleon featured on rap/Hip Hop songs.
“Sivyo Ndivyo” – Professor Jay & Chameleon. This is likely the earliest feature on which he sings the hook as the Tanzanian rapper rapped.
“Nasema Nao” – Chameleon ft. AY. Chameleon had love from Tanzania. While watching urban TV stations earlier on this used to be a big deal on EATV.
“Vumilia” – Chameleon ft. An intro and closure from Atlas Da African. Atlas Atlas! Atlas is Chameleon rapper friend I guess, because they have three projects together. This song was the introduction to At least and Chameleon features and also gave birth to Navio’s “Dream”. Atlast was busy saying how they were living the dream on “Vumilia”. Did you see Chameleon’,s drip?
“Dream” – Navio ft. Jose Chameleon. Aethan sampled Chameleon saying “I had a dream to be a star” which he says on “Vumilia”. The song got huge traction for Navio then because the same served a hook. Mr. Joseph Mayanja gave us this no doubt.
“Movie Star” – Chameleon, Ak47(R.I.P) and Atlas Da African. This was the dancehall-ragga meets hip hop. Atlas again here. On this project my friends who didn’t really like UG Hip Hop on this song agreed the energy was intense.
“Ahh Ahh” – Atlas Da African ft. Chameleon. Atlas is likely the biggest rap collaborator, that Jose has worked with. This was a Mister Deejay’s (Radio City) jam for a while. This song brought back Chamilli in the rap circles. Dressed in the urban styles and get very raw and poised saying “VIP they giving us props”. To think of it now, Chamilli has love for hip hop and he is a music chameleon – he will adjust depending on the song. The hook he gave wasn’t usual sing-songy. He did rap like.
Owakabi is not necessary a rap song, but you will see rappers in its video like Navio, Atlas and once rapper Rabadaba and Hanz who actually produced the track. The versatility of Dr. Jose Mayanja Chameleon is humbling and also says a lot being defiant for a good reason – isn’t that hip hop in the Genesis? Thank you Chameleon for accepting to be on all the projects mentioned because they were ground breaking.
Sidenote: Does it surprise you that Abba Marcus aka TRex his son is a rapper? Maybe not.