EVERY time you hear news that a foreign artist is coming to perform in Zimbabwe, best believe everyone can already tell who will be part of the supporting acts.
By Sindiso Dube
Promoters have been loyal to dancehall chanters Winky D, Soul Jah Love, Freeman, Killer T and Jah Prayzah as supporting acts at almost every event headlined by an international act.
For a very long time, Zimbabwean hip-hop artists and followers have cried foul for being “sidelined” at these shows and other concerts that they feel would be meant solely for hip-hop artists.
A poster advertising Impala Car Rental’s 10th anniversary bash where Cassper Nyovest, Soul Jah Love, Winky D, Jah Prayzah and Freeman will be headline acts while rappers Jnr Brown, Tehn Diamond, Stunner and Ti Gonz will be opening acts has caused a social media out-cry within the hip-hop fraternity, with many arguing the show should have been dominated by rappers since Cassper Nyovest is a hip-hop artist.
Many rappers took to social media and they had no kind words for the promoter.
Bulawayo rapper Cal_Vin, who announced that he will quit hip-hop next month, voiced his disappointment on the way hip-hop was being treated by promoters.
“When I said I am quitting hip-hop, this is what I meant and felt. The genre is being taken for a joke and we are being exploited by people who claim to support hip-hop. We get fame yet we are underpaid. I feel the disrespect within the industry, we don’t have promoters but people who have money to bring artists,” he said.
However, Jibilika Festival founder Plot Mhako said promoters do not choose artists based on sympathy, but on the value they bring.
“Artists are picked based on value, not on sympathy. If the artist can give a polished performance and also lure audiences, those are some of the factors promoters consider. So, hip-hop artists need to work hard to earn this; we also have a number of artists who can deliver if given the same prominence and platform, for example Tulk Munny, Pro Beatz, Tehn Diamond and Jnr Brown,” he said.
Mhako added that Zim hip-hop needed heroes, as is the case within the Zimdancehall genre.
“The genre needs idols and heroes like in Zimdancehall. We need artists who will change the belief and support system on both the fan base and promoters, then upcoming artists can enter the big stage. Just like Winky D, Sniper and Soul Jah Love did, we started listening and appreciating even the worst of a singer because we had appreciated the music,” he said.
Stunner, whose name is on the poster but who later blasted the promoters for marketing their show using his name when both parties had not agreed on the terms, said it’s a business and promoters are all about making a profit.
“I saw comments on social media people saying they are tired of the same line up. I guess the promoter is out to make profit, he does what he feels is right for them and we can’t blame them. I distanced myself from the show because we had not agreed on what I wanted as an artist who knows his worth,” said Stunner.
Hip-hop producer and manager Kuda Musasiwa, popularly known as Begotten Sun, called hip-hop artists lazy.
“These people are just crybabies, they are lazy. Zim hip-hop must prove its worth, where are the independently promoted shows of our genre that pull so many people so that the country notices?” he said.