Born as Yallah Gaudencia Mbidde in Kenya and raised in Uganda, MC Yallah has been a prominent figure in East Africa’s rap scene since 1999. Her way of using Luganda, Luo, Kiswahili, and English is something unheard of, and her attitude and flow are incredibly impressive. Although the lyrics may not always be comprehensible to non-native speakers of the previously mentioned languages, her delivery speaks much more.
In 2019, MC Yallah released her debut album, “Kubali,” which was produced by the German producer, Debtmaster. Despite still collaborating with him, she has expanded her reach and is now working with Japanese producer Scotch Rolex and Congolese producer Chrisman, bringing new levels of variation and dynamics to her music. While “Kubali” had a raw and experimental quality to it, this time around, Debtmaster’s beats are easier to approach, despite retaining their dark and claustrophobic essence. Chrisman’s contributions infuse the album with a dancehall vibe, particularly on tracks like “Sunday” and “Big Bung.” Meanwhile, Scotch Rolex’s four tracks on the album showcase a unique and flawless sound.
One track that stands out from the album is “No One Seems To Bother,” which features Debtmaster and an exciting guest appearance from Lord Spikeheart of the Kenyan metal band, Duma. The death metal growls in the background may seem bizarre at first, but the more you listen, the more incredible they become.
The album is replete with excellent details such as the organs in “Baliwa,” the previously mentioned growls by Lord Spikeheart, MC Yallah’s fast flow, and the claustrophobic mix of vocals in “Hera.” All in all, MC Yallah deserves far more global recognition. Her ability to weave multiple languages into the dark and experimental beats is a breath of fresh air in today’s hip-hop scene.
When talking about MC Yallah, it would be remiss not to mention the Kampala-based Nyege Nyege collective, a highly influential advocate for electronic music. MC Yallah has enjoyed a close partnership with Nyege Nyege, and the collective’s record label, Nyege Nyege Tapes, continually releases intriguing and innovative music. Additionally, the annual Nyege Nyege Festival has rapidly become one of the most significant musical events in East Africa.
Yallah Beibe – MC Yallah
Released, April 14th, 2023
Album of the Month by Cuberat