Entertainment

Music Review: Navio’s new ‘Strength In Numbers’ album. Listen Here: –

The “East Lord”; and renowned Ugandan rapper Daniel Lubwama Kigozi also known as Navio dropped his 5th studio album; “Strength In Numbers” late last week on Saturday the 25th of April, 2020 in an online concert setting.

The 15-track music album serves as a follow up to his 2016 “The CHOSEN” album which gave us the smash hit, “Njogereza”. The “Strength In Numbers” (S.I.N) album was officially announced on his social media channels; and so we had to brace ourselves for something iconic that was on the way. He also informed his audiences that the style he would use to release the album would be online; and that he would not host a listener’s party like it usually is when albums and EPs are released and this was in adherence to the Ministry of Health’s directives on how to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic. He actually wrote the caption of this post in his native language; Luganda and thrashed some English statements at the end of it.

“screenshot of Navio’s album release announcement”

On the actual day of release, Navio set a record as the first ever Ugandan act to launch a full music album online. Navcorp in conjunction with Icon Studios presented the “Strength In Numbers” online album launch. The concert and album release event that was streaming LIVE on both Navio’s Facebook and YouTube platforms was watched by an audience over the internet hence garnering over 10,000 views across Facebook alone and 2,100 on YouTube.

However, minutes before the live stream could kick off, the Ministry of Health did carry out a mini inspection on and in the Mfano Design Lab studios where Navio and mates were to do the online concert from as a precaution measure to ensure everyone’s safety.

The online album release concert was comprised of a three-member band that is; Ernest, Body of Brian, Tommy and Navio himself all clad in black T-shirts having RUBAGA written on them; since Navio is basically a born and bred in that suburb; Rubaga.

look of the t-shirts Navio and the band were wearing.

Before Navio faced the camera, a ten-minute video showing a recap of his journey in the Hip-Hop industry was played.

In this video, Navio narrated his highs and lows in the industry; big projects like One-Eight and collaboration with Keith Sweat featured in the video.

The simplicity of the setup proved that Navio’s head was cool, coming into the show. As he introduced the show, Navio seemed so relaxed and ready for a good listener’s concert.

Navio kicked off with Part one of the show; opening with track number one on the album; “By Gones”, a song where he features Seyi Shay from Nigeria and Sheila Wya. The slow-going love song gives a perfect opener to the album, considering Shay and Sheila Wya’s soft voices that get Hip-hop fans ready for authentic bars from Navio.

Navio and Nigeria’s Seyi Shay pictured

He followed this with “Down”, a song that he says was inspired by the love he has for his wife and he says that he wanted to let the world know what it means like to be down for a girl. The feel good song was produced by our very own Nessim. He then performed a couple of other singles on the S.I.N album before the band and him could take a 15-minute break.

The live event later resumed for a second part and was mostly about song requests made by fans online. The requests took Navio back in time with songs like Nawulira, Ngalo, Mr. DJ and Njogereza which he did enjoy performing.

The show ended at 5:00pm, and in all fairness, it was well-executed. Besides Navio’s simplicity in delivery, credit should undoubtedly go to the band. They had every note right and their coordination produced perfect sound.

Navio also shared the duration it took him to put together the album. He says it took about a year if to add all the strings up, but to finish and wrap up the album, it was three weeks. The album according to him is to celebrate the strength we have if we work as a team and numbers.

the “STRENGTH IN NUMBERS” album artwork

“The album is aimed at uniting Africans as one large group of brothers and sisters.”, stressed the 36-year-old rapper.

With a total of 15 tracks, the album does feature fellow superstars from Uganda and Africa as well; the likes of Burna Boy, Seyi Shay, Ice Prince, Vanessa Mdee, Khaligraph Jones, Joh Makini, Flex D’Paper, King Saha, Daddy Andre, The Mith, King Saha, Lay Lizzy, Samurae, Sheila WYA, and Mike Yangstar are all on there.

The Mith, who features on track number 12
On the track (10), “Nielewe”, Vanessa Mdee pictured above features on there.

The “Strength In Numbers” mega album features a diverse production from some of the best Producers and Instrumentalists in Uganda such as; Nessim, Samurae, Anthony Sewabuga, Charmant Mushaga, Mohammed Conta, Ellputo, Mike Yangstar, Mopiano, Mio Made, Aethan, Izaya and mates.

“I wake up wanting to hear Congo music, lunch time I might play some Senegalese joints, in the afternoon I’m bumping an album from Morocco then Namibia. Living peacefully with our diversity is our most treasured African trait. Diversity of sound is where our identity lies.”, reckons Navio.

On this particular album, we get to listen to a diverse Navio who even attempts to sing on some of the tracks. Although some of these songs have been released like ‘Nkwagala Omu’, ‘Paper’ and ‘Nielewe’, the whole album is officially out now and has the track listing as follows:

  1. By Gones (Feat. Seyi Shay & Sheila Way)
  2. Down
  3. Trophy Season (Feat. Khaligraph Jones)
  4. Kyekyo
  5. Numbers
  6. Bangi (Feat. Daddy Andre & Flex D’ Paper)
  7. 30 Seconds To Hollywood
  8. Abaana Beeka (feat. Joh Makini & Flex D’ Paper)
  9. Flank
  10. Nielewe (Feat. Vanessa Mdee)
  11. Lord There They Go (Feat. Samurae)
  12. Paper (Feat. Ice Prince & The Mith)
  13. Nkwagala Omu (Feat. King Saha)
  14. Waguan (Feat. Laylizzy)
  15. Gbesile [Remix] (Feat. Burna Boy)

Verdict: I loved the entire album. It was indeed worth the wait. I give this album a 10/10 rating; not just because my favorite female East African artist Vanessa Mdee appears on it but the S.I.N album is IT! My best tracks on here were Nkwagala Omu, By Gones, Nielewe and Abaana Beeka.

How to get the album:

The earworming album that plays under 59minutes and 11 seconds time is available on all digital music streaming and downloading platforms. And because MTN and Tidal are  here to enable you listen to all music from your favorite artists, how about you download the Tidal music streaming mobile application today from Google Play or App Store, proceed to dial *165*66# to activate your 30-day free trial or to pay your subscription and listen to the “Strength In Numbers” album or any other of Navio’s songs then. Here’s a link: https://tidal.com/browse/album/138456919 .

Remember to share your thoughts on this new single with us. You can alternatively order for a physical copy of the STRENGTH IN NUMBERS album via the SafeBoda App (Delivery package) to get it delivered to you.