After a two-year sabbatical with his crown under siege from a new crop of rappers, Junior Brown resurrected two weeks ago in a controversial manner to regain his lost glory.
The rapper, who had faced criticism from his fans for delaying the release of the much-anticipated album, Morning Glory, released a track titled, We Run it, which left many tongues wagging.
Fans and other rappers say in the song We Run It he was taking a dig at another rapper, Cal_Vin.
When everyone was busy talking about We Run It: the dreadlocked artist dropped a banger titled Tongogara, with an acoustic feel.
The song talks about real-life issues — child abuse, teenage pregnancies, poverty and the economic meltdown. Tongogara has garnered more than 59 000 views on Facebook.
Junior Brown devised innovative ways to eat off the track by making fans pre-order the track by sending a dollar through mobile network money services — EcoCash, Telecash and Netcash — for them to receive the track on the day of release.
“We have devised this method for the local market and the guys in the diaspora are getting it through Spotify, Amazon and iTunes,” Jnr Brown said.
Kudakwashe Musasiwa, aka Begotten Sun — Junior Brown’s executive producer — said the pre-ordering method had paid off.
“This method was more of an experiment and it has really paid off. We have recorded more than 6 000 transactions, we thank the fans and the whole hip-hop fraternity for the love they showed,” he said.
In 2013, the Madrinks hitmaker was riding high with his former partners Tehn Diamond and Take Fizzo, who made up the group Few Kings.
Within the group, Junior Brown managed to walk away as the biggest winner in the 2013 edition of the Zim hip-hop awards — best song (Madrinks), most valuable player, best group (Few Kings), album of the year (The Feeling Aint Fair with Few Kings) and for best video Happy, on which he featured Tehn Diamond.
Born James Mpakula, Junior Brown, who is one of the pioneers of the urban grooves movement, took the nation by storm with his works. As part of Few Kings they attracting corporate endorsements from beverage companies like Sting and Hunters.
Junior Brown and Few Kings hogged the limelight when they became the few artists to ever headline Africa’s most followed reality television series, Big Brother Africa, after Winky D.
Locally, Junior Brown has headlined Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) and shared the stage with the likes of AKA.
Followers of the genre have accused him of attacking Bulawayo-based rapper Cal_Vin.
Junior Brown mentions that he runs Mbare, Fio (Highfield), Mfombie (Mfakose), as well as Luveve in Bulawayo, which is a well-known stronghold of Cal_Vin — the biggest winner at last year’s Zim hip-hop awards.
The track We Run It didn’t go down well with Cal_Vin, who responded with a track called Used to Run It, meaning that Junior Brown used to run the rap game but it’s now Cal_Vin’s time.
Junior Brown dares anyone who wants to battle it out with him by putting up a $5 000 challenge so that they battle live on radio, “Anoda ngaise 5 thaza toenda one on one Friday pa The Fixx” (Anyone who dares must put$5 000 and we go live on radio).
However, Begotten Sun refuted claims that there was bad blood between Junior Brown and Cal_Vin.
“It’s not aimed at Cal_Vin. Instead, we actually travelled to Mutare a few weeks ago to support Cal_Vin’s show. Therefore the song can’t be aimed at the young rapper who is doing good and we wish him well,” he said.
Junior Brown revealed that his long-awaited album would definitely be out this year.
“I can assure you that The Morning Glory will be out this year. Tongogara is the first single off the album and we have good music for the ear,” he said.