Since Ugandan megastar A Pass confirmed the release dates and title for his forthcoming studio album, fans have eagerly awaited its arrival.
The multi-talented singer, songwriter, and record producer is set to drop his 3rd studio set of his career at the start of February 2024, and here are some key facts that we know so far.
The album goes by his surname BAGONZA, as his birth name is Alexander Bagonza, and it is his 3rd after his debut body of work “NVA KAMPALA” (13 May 2016), which was followed by “AFRICAN YAYO” which was dropped back then in 2018 on April 27. During its time, Nva Kampala birthed fan favorites “Mariana”. “Am Loving”, “Turi Kubigere”, “Oruuso”, among others. African Yayo on the other hand gave rise to “Mummy”and “Didadada” as some of the many bangers that were on there.
Originally, A Pass’ 3rd body of work was to be an EP and go by the title “Bedroom Terrorist” as he first revealed to BBC 1Xtra’s DJ Edu in October 2020. It would later get a new one word – BEDROOM. This has since got a final one, by the title “BAGONZA”.
After under five years of writing, and recording, A Pass has enlisted production assistance from HerbertSkillz, Nessim Pan Production, plus Sir Dan Magic, and Baru Beatz for mixing and mastering roles, having done the majority of the production himself. From the multiple teasers be it on his Instagram stories, or during X (Twitter Spaces) or Facebook Lives and interactions with fans, one thing that’s been certain is A Pass teasing bit of tracks on there, during those sessions. There is a bit of RnB in there, Afro dancehall, and of course what is an A Pass music catalogue without some reggae?
What’s been the reason for the multiple delays and pushing back of the album’s release was that the selection of tracks out of the tons that the “Nkwagala” singer had created just for this project took a little longer than expected. This even furthered prompted the release date to be changed from January 26th to February 1st of this year. Mixing and mastering was yet another contributor to the delay, as the tracks were way too many yet A Pass wished to deliver a perfect product hence taking time on the final polishes on the album, with Baru Beatz.
Borrowing from Fireboy DML’s statement on when fans had asked multiple times on when and why he was delaying his “Playboy” album. “Good things take time, but, great things take everything”. Perhaps this could be the best A Pass album yet, hence making it one that’s worth the wait.
Then the tracklist and collaborations:
Set to be released via Game Over Records, last week A Pass took to his socials and unveiled the tracklist of the “BAGONZA” album. The set consists 42 tracks and unlike his previous two albums on which he done 100% solo deliveries. On “BAGONZA”, we see him enlist collaborators. The exciting names on it are Likkle Bangi, Alina Jah, Akeine, and Ceee (with whom he sang “Nile”, and promised a collaboration would be in the works. Her appearing on track 8 “TOUCH YOU” and track 25 “DO YOU WANT ME” on the album is a fruition of this promise). Likkle Bangi is no stranger to making sweet sounds with A Pass as he also made an appearance on her self-titled debut EP on a single titled “YOU GOTTA KNOW”.
For Akeine and Alina Jah, this will be the first time Alex collabs with each. Our music taste buds can definitely look out for a surprise when this drop happens.
As a way of bringing the vision he had for his album to life and stretching his creative boundaries, A Pass is once again working with his long term collaborator Hatimax Sebintu and entrusting him with the role of crafting and designing the album artwork for the “BAGONZA” album.
Going by the story each artwork piece tells, 2016’s ‘NVA KAMPALA’ was A Pass’ debut album. In that era was when we still referred to him as “The Teacher” hence an image of him donning a pair of spectacles being his album artwork as well as a silhouette portrait of the City Kampala below his face.
For “AFRICAN YAYO”, the Ntinda based visual artist, while still in his bag, intentionally placed a crown on A Pass’ head, with thorns, highlighting the pain, struggles, and challenges of life of being human, as well as daily hustles of trying to make ends meet, themes like unrequited love, and the experience of intimacy as A Pass sang on tracks like “MUKWANO GWO”, “DIDADADA”, “OMUNAKYALO”, “LIKE A UBER”, among others. Also, important to note on the artwork was the map of Africa on A Pass’ face, with Uganda being a special highlight, for the obvious reason of Alexander Bagonza (alias A Pass) not only being Ugandan but a patriot. Something he sung about on “UGANDA” on his album “AFRICAN YAYO”.
Lilian Mbabazi not featuring, given the excellent track record of the pair’s musical chemistry, comes as a surprise. Also, thought, it is here where we would finally get that Kohen Jaycee record (as the two have previously been in studio), but again, A Pass is a maestro of many surprises, perhaps a deluxe could be on the way just after this LP gets released, and perhaps these could be on there.
This body of work doesn’t feature any previously released tracks. All 42 are new, and just well packaged for your listening pleasure.
“BAGONZA” the album arrives on music streaming platforms on 1st February, 2024. Will you be listening? Which track from the 42 are you most excited for?