Ugandan rapper MC Yallah joins Phantom Limb for the release of her blistering new 12” Mama Waliwamanyii. Produced by Irish electronic artist Eomac (one half of R&S Records’ Lakker), the EP fuses Yallah’s breakneck Luganda language rapping with Eomac’s powerful, purposeful beats.
Formed remotely between Dublin and Kampala, Mama Wailwamanyii represents several months of work, sending beats, loops and song-stems back and forth until the results boiled down to the two vital cuts of exhilarating, experimental, unpredictable hip-hop that make up the EP.
Opening with urgent descending synth lines, ‘Mama Waliwamanyii’ rushes Yallah’s rhythmic vocal style to the forefront, bristling with kinetic energy. The song references her mother - its title translates to “Mama, you were strong” - and a sense of fierce, feminine intensity pervades throughout, a deep personal meaning that kicks as hard as the beats. The track is destined to intoxicate dancefloors across the world, perfectly sculpted by Eomac to rise and fall with breathless ecstasy one moment and send the heart racing with expectation the next. Yallah wrote the track after losing her mother, who raised her and her siblings alone following their escape from the domestic violence of their home life in Kenya. She writes that the studio session evoked floods of tears. That raw, expressive power shines through.
On the flip, ‘Kakana’ is darker, more patient. Eomac’s spacious, creeping synth lines burn and glower with simmering anticipation, while Yallah’s delivery fills in the percussive gaps with machine-gun poetry. It acts as a neat foil both to ‘Mama Waliwamanyii’ and to Yallah’s previous material, positioning her contribution to the collaboration as a colourful, flowing solo over the greyscale, psuedo-industrial sonics laid down by Eomac. A call to arms, the title translates to “calm down” in response to the criticism Yallah has faced as an outspoken, independent MC in her local scene.
The EP also features extended mixes of both tracks as instrumental versions specially created by Eomac, transforming them into a mutant, warped techno with entirely different personalities to their vocal takes.
MC Yallah is Kenyan by heritage, but born and raised in Kampala, where she is a key member of the much-celebrated Nyege Nyege crew. Her debut release - a collaboration with French producer Debmaster - surfaced in 2018 on Nyege’s Hakuna Kulala imprint. Björk recently picked up on the Yallah phenomenon, spinning her tracks in DJ sets and mixes.
Eomac (Dublin-based producer Ian McDonnell) is one half of Phantom Limb favourites Lakker, whose pitch-black avant-techno graces both dancefloors and experimental music venues the world over. His solo records - including the vital 2016 album Bedouin Trax LP of Middle Eastern samples, released on the UAE’s Bedouin Records - are favourites of Phantom Limb’s A&R team.
The EP is released on highly limited purple vinyl and digital formats on July 3, 2020.