By Gilbert Mwijuke
HE reminds us of the 1990s Shabba Ranks era. He is as stone-faced as Shabba Ranks; his music as hard as that of the Jamaican dancehall legend and he still spots that famous Shabba Ranks hair cut of the 1990s.
And even though Shabba Ranksâ€™ heydays are well passed him, Toolman (real names Fred Kibalama), still has the former Jamaican dancehall star as his idol.
â€œI have admired him since I was a kid,â€ says Toolman, â€œbut I have never believed that I really bear a resemblance to him like most people claim.â€
Toolmanâ€™s success might be a far cry from Shabba Ranksâ€™ mega success, but the two artistes have a lot in common. It is as well that Toolman kick-started his career doing covers of Shabba Ranksâ€™ hit songs like Bedroom Bully and Mr. Lover Man during his high school days when he worked as a DJ.
Toolmanâ€™s debut recording, Asanyusa Abakazi came in 2001. He thereafter recorded a couple more songs, but none of them gave him a breakout hit.
In 2002, he joined with his longtime friend, Andrew Kiwanuka, and the duoâ€™s chemistry was immediate. Toolman soon vaulted to stardom with the hot collaborative single, Mumuleke Omwana.
Since then, Toolman has churned out more dance tracks like Cinderella and Muwe.
Toolman even seemed unstoppable sometime last year when he released the excellent club banger, Kisumuluzo.
His burgeoning popularity attracted the attention of leading Kampala music distributors, and the singerâ€™s debut 12-track album Kisumuluzo, hit the shelves in February this year on a Lusyn Enterprises label.
The album also features Toolmanâ€™s earlier songs like Mumuleke Omwana, Cinderella and Abakazi.