Nkowola

Imagine that point in life, when everything just seems not to work out. When all you bump into is problem after problem. And each lamentation begets more questions! Nkowola is a sombre heart’s dialogue with the higher powers; A grieving heart pouring out grief, asking all the questions to a celestial power.

The executives at AFGF “wanted to create something around the concept of; If I called God, what would I say to him? What would He say back?” And the result is this bilingual work of art, performed by Luganda Xlz, Aj Styles and Spyder Mc. A song, conceptualised to give hope, and re-awaken the audience to humanity’s singular origin and veined existence, all dependent on a higher celestial power from whom we draw our knowledge, spirituality and being.

On the song, AJ Stylz, known for his sophisticated word play delivers a shockingly simple but fitting performance as the tormented heart. He packs his verse with thought provoking lines. Word by word, Aj dissects the pain eating his character away, and succeeds at creating a work of art that attests to his storytelling prowess. Spyder Mc then vocals the track into the second verse, his chorus acting like the proverbial switchboard to the other end of the call. His performance brings an evangelical spin to the track, like a median interceding on behalf of the mortals. True to the act, the second verse provides line for line replies, comforts and assurances of the higher power to the tormented heart. This message is voiced by Luganda Xlz, and the veteran spitter does not disappoint. Xlz unleashes his poetic and clean repertoire, addressing the petition before him, with wisdom nuggets befitting of the omnipotent character he portrays.

Spyda Mc describes the song as one that “talks to us.” Reminding us of an Infinite Power that we should all look up to, especially in times when we are not certain of what’s to come or of any one; that time when we are all desperate for something to clutch on. The Nilotica Afric troupe MC references Nkowola, as a “Slogan that all of us can use to Call onto that higher power regardless of our religions and standings in life.” At the time of penning his lines, he “envisioned the transience of life.” And the certainty of what lay ahead, compelled this subtle conclusion. “I looked and saw that the only way out was to beseech that higher power; that inner being that we all feel, dream of, and listen to in our solemn conversations, hoping for a general solution to our daily problems and those beyond our mortal capabilities.” He said.

Of his role on this project, an exhilarated Aj Stylz, revealed that he couldn’t pass the opportunity of being a party to this collaborative effort. Having shared the limelight together with the AFGF team in 2012, AJ “couldn’t hesitate to join in,” especially after learning of the album’s overall concept. “When I was briefed about the concept in the Nkowoola song, it digested so well into my zone…it had a message the masses can easily relate to” he said. Painting the image of a troubled person who couldn’t understand what was going on in their life anymore and needed divine intervention, proved an interesting process, requiring this often convoluted rapper to fit in the shoes of that troubled someone. “That gave me a broader idea of the life they go through and the different questions they tend to ask the most high.” He revealed.

Luganda Xlz thankfully reminisces on this as  “an astounding experience especially working with creators I have respected and watched for a while now.” To him, this whole experience was both a reality and fiction. For this particular song, while he wrote his work according to a plan that was handed to me from the directors of the project, his substance “came from lived experiences” and “what I personally interpreted from their presentation.”

Although they had never worked together before on a project, these three acts combined effortlessly, each bringing to the booth decades of experience in wordplay, lyricism and finesse resulting in the Classic that Nkowola is. We must not forget to credit Nase Avatar, for providing the beat and giving genius guidance in the producer’s cabin. Together, they turned out a formidable piece of work that lends an extra edge to the AFGF album in terms of positive communication and delivers a classic that should disrupt the UG hip hop frequency for years to come.

When asked how he got all of this started? A pondering Ssebunya Martin said, “a lot was happening around that time. So many cancer related deaths. I was thinking about how expensive cancer treatment is, about the people going through that phase.” Overwhelmed, he thought to himself.

“What if talking to God was as simple as making a phone call?”