Saturday July 13th, 2024
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Uzu Flaunts Versatility in Latest Album ‘Gannah’

The Cairo-based rapper makes his return with a genre-fluid album, GANNAH, asserting a strong presence in the scene.

Lana Mawlood

Uzu Flaunts Versatility in Latest Album ‘Gannah’

Emerging Cairo-based rapper Uzu returns with a genre-fluid album, ‘Gannah’, exuding confidence, versatility and asserting a strong presence in the scene.

This nine-track work, released on the label VOV (Vice over Vice), features artists Ma-Beyn and Karim Enzo. In the album, no two successive tracks are of the same style, keeping us on our toes, as we are taken from 80s pop to dancehall with light guitarwork to his more accustomed trap beat.

The album marks a distinct break from his previous album Safqa produced by 77, an Egyptian producer and founder of the regional music label SVNBIRDS. Whilst the former album explored Egyptian trap, his newest release branches out to a wider spectrum of hip-hop, trap and creative fusions.

A music video of his seventh track Pavarotti, produced by Swish and directed by Mad, accompanies the release. Dusky visuals portray the artist in night-mode, split screens, and disorienting camera rotations, suggesting suggestive of a level of obscurity, staying low-key. However, far from anonymity, Uzu carries himself with a certain poise and the message of the song is to make a statement: Uzu is on the rise and he’s blessed to have support from his entourage, his fans and family.

For all his boastfulness, Uzu does not shy away from eclecticism in telling his message: the album’s opening track and album namesake, ‘Gannah’, is a playful 80s pop take that matches his sparkly outfit and oval shades on the cover. It brings to mind The Weeknd’s hit with Daft Punk, ‘Starboy’, which Uzu may indeed be directly referencing in his lyrics in the chorus “Fil sama ana Starboy baby.” (translated from Arabic as “In the sky, I’m star baby”).

Another significant component of Uzu’s release is ‘GoPro’ featuring emerging talent Ma-Beyn of Cairo’s Ka2en collective. Hypnotic bell notes reverberate under a slow drum beat of shaabi-inspired rhythms as the piece builds, creating a haunting effect: indeed, Ma-Beyn tells us to “Bos gowa wa tshoof 3freet,” (translating as “Look inside to see your demons”) to acknowledge the spirits within ourselves.

While tracks like ‘Msh Hathasalny’ featuring Karim Enzo expand on Uzu’s stylistic choices of ‘Pavarotti’, the album also elsewhere the album features sees the artistUzu experimenting with summer-time moods, coloured with more melodic vocals and lightened by a guitar in ‘Malta’. Meanwhile, ‘Supernova’ is a bouncier funk composition centred around the rhythm guitar and decorated by whistles and synths, propelled forward by the darbouka and overlaid with auto-tuned vocals that echo Marwan Moussa.

Overall, the album presents an impressive progression in Uzu’s sound that may just warrant the cheeky confidence of his bars.