COPY CATS! — Not so long ago, self-styled grandfather of the local music industry Ragga Dee real name Daniel Kazibwe was accused by Zambian ‘Queen Diva’ and former Big Brother Africa StarGame representative Mampi Mukape of stealing her ‘Swilili’ song. However, a few days ago, the veteran singer broke the silence about the issue claiming that the blame should have been shouldered by DJ Shiru who asked Ragga Dee to remix the song as a way of popularizing it ahead of her Valentines show in Kampala. However, this is not the first time local singers have made headlines over similar issues. Omg takes a look at singers who have been accused of plagiarizing lyrics or song titles in the past few years.
Radio & Weasel
The Goodlyfe singers have been at the top of their game since their breakthrough in 2008. Around 2010, the troublesome pair was accused of plagiarizing Nigerian singer 2Face Idibia’s ‘Ole’ song. Not only did Radio & Weasel copy 2Face’s title but the duo’s version titled ‘Ole Olle’ sounded suspiciously similar to the Nigerian’s. When asked about the allegations, Radio & Weasel claimed to have been given the green light to do the song by 2Face himself. How true that was, only God and the singers know!
Sliver Kyagulanyi’s younger brother and former Big Tym crew member Ray became house hold name thanks to ‘Kasenyaku’, a song that has become his second name. However, on critically listening to the song, it was found to be a replica of ‘Me and U’ by Nigerian du Bracket. Ray did not just steal the beats of the song but also the rhyme and flow of the lyrics from the first verse to the last.
Struggling singer Rabadaba is with no doubt one of the most talented ragga stars in the country. That being said, the pencil thin fella copied Jamaican Beenie Man’s ‘Reverse the Ting’ and localized it in ‘Olunyilili’. Like the Jamaican king of dancehall, the ‘Mukyamu’ singer reversed the lyrics in all the three verses. Given the fact that Rabadaba’s did not use similar lyrics but style, shows how creative he can be.
Peter Miles & Juliana
Early 2010, Sizzaman was the most popular singer in town thanks to his mega ‘Angela’ hit. It was later established that the self-styled ragga dictionary has indeed pirated Jamaican singer Busy Signal’s ‘Angela’ song. Although Sizzaman localized the song, it still maintained the same message and style of rhyming.
Late 2011, singer Jose Chameleone released ‘Valu Valu’, a song that he launched in January 2012. A few weeks after its release, veteran radio panelist Jenkins Mukasa came out accusing Chameleone of reproducing ‘Valu Valu’ from another Veteran based in Sweden Sammy Kasule’s ‘Ozee Munange’. As expected, Chameleone denied the allegations claiming he wrote the song himself adding that Jenkins just wanted to sabotage his single. However, this was not the first time Chameleone was accused of stealing a song. A few years back, the singer was accused by Tanzanian rapper Professor Jay of pirating ‘Bomboclat’ but the two later sorted out their differences with a collabo.
When sexy veteran songbird released ‘Sanyu Lyange’ last year, little known aspiring singer identified as M Jeff claimed Juliana had stolen the song from him. Jeff claimed that Juliana has released the song two weeks after his. However, it was later discovered that the only similarity between the songs was the title, which was not enough to justify Jeff’s claims. Snoops later established that Juliana’s song was written by Silver Kyagulanyi while Jeff’s was penned by OS Suna. We suspect that Jeff wanted to ride on Juliana’s name to climb the entertainment radar.
What people think about this issue!
Okello Dixon- Events Security expert
I have failed to understand why local artistes like stealing/copying songs and sampling them as theirs. They then record those same songs that sound suspiciously similar to others’. Most of us would pay to see you Ragga Dee perform with your pot belly holding a guitar than someone else’s composition. I advise singers to be creative and compose their own songs like Pastor Okudi did and even won a KORA award for a song in his mother tongue.
Nisha Bridgette-Artiste manager
About copyright, local artistes need to be taught exactly what it means for them to follow it up. Local artistes plagiarizing other people’s songs is the worst thing any artiste can do; unless the owner grants them rights. Personally I prefer original compositions that redoing songs.