Zimhip-hop: Is 2021 the year?

By Kennedy Nyavaya

It has been said before that no matter how hard some musicians try in Zimbabwe, their chances of making it are close to none because the bulk of local music lovers’ taste is rigid.

If one is not within the confines of sungura, Zimdancehall or the varied forms of gospel music, they may have to invest in prayer for a miracle to grab the attention of listeners.

For many years, this has been the struggle for many local hip-hop artistes who have had to live with ostracism from the judgemental and yet majority sections of the public that largely brand them copycats of the Western world.

However, it appears, that could be changing and the time for Zimhip-hop may be nigh if it is not here already.

“Hip-hop is still pushing, the numbers are improving, Holy Ten is doing big for the culture. we are expecting a million views, but already people can relate so I am excited,” high-riding rapper Tanaka “R Peels” Mungoyo told Standard Style recently.

The past two years has seen the steady rise of new names, including Holy Ten, Asaph, Ti Gonzi and Kikky Badass, among others.

The genre is definitely on a rising trajectory but there is still a lot to be done structurally according to R Peels, the genre’s Best Male artiste in the past year if the Zimhip-hop Awards (ZHHA) plaque he got in that regard is anything to go by.

“It has definitely not been easy, but if artistes could get good management things would get better, at the moment even other big artistes do not have management which is not how it should be done. We need to fix our structures and get organised so we can do this thing,” he said.

In essence those within the genre’s confines have been struggling with how to sustain the attention given to their creative genius and reap the benefits from it.

The lockdown battle between hip-hop old hands Noble Stylz and Gze during last year’s lockdown period is proof of how there is an appetite for bars and lyrics but without appropriate strategies to maximise financially and otherwise, it just fizzles out.

In a speech to receive his award for Artiste of the Decade at the ZHHA, Stunner — real name Desmond Chideme — seemed to brag about his rise and transition from the yesteryear urban grooves movement but made a strong point on how making good music can be fun but financial benefit is needed as well.

“I have managed to make love in every continent and I do not stop, this is what I am seeing that this sh*t is fun, let’s make it and let’s make money. Ten years is not a joke, let’s do this and let’s see you guys (younger rappers) doing the work, just do not give up,” said Stunner.

“The future looks bright, I get a lot of messages from people asking me how they can make it, just do not stop even when you feel like it, do not because you may be close.”

In apparent agreement with the Godo hit-maker, ZHHA founder Aldrian “Beefy” Harrison detailed the history of the awards ceremony for the past 10 years as a tale of determination and hard work.

“We struggled from no sponsorship, being refused to do hip-hop in venues and told the genre is not appropriate, but today we celebrate 10 years and I want to tell you something, the journey has not been easy,” he said adding:

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