Joshua Makoni, popularly known in hip-hop circles as Jae Mac is a beat maker with great business acumen. He is also a maestro when it comes to using social media to promote his beats. He has done beats for Kapital K, Navy Seal, Nox and Ill Icey among Zimbabwean acts. He has also been working with artists from across planet Earth via social media. Perhaps his next level will be aliens.
He currently is based in South Africa and recently dropped a single by a Nigerian artiste called Wumi who has appreciated Jae Mac’s offerings from 2012. The song moving on is motivational and empowers anyone who feels discouraged by nay say from people. The cover art showing high buildings of large city to me represents how we can float above the hustles of the city and haters. Jae Mac has himself soared above these heights given that he is from a small town but is mentioned as much as big city names.
He has on his social media accounts been talking about major deals with artistes from out of the country and I think he has applied himself and worked smart. From how I see it, these deals involve bigger money than average Zimbabwean producers would ever earn. In fact when he released the Yeahho beat early this year, my Family Business failed to get it for an artist as there were a lot of bidders across the globe, and business being business, our proposition was low. This makes Jae Mac an international export and also means he is on demand. He is beginning to score more deals all because of his application of business ethic and good use of networking. His competition may be seen somewhere on social media arguing about who’s better Few Kings or MMT, Zim -Dancehall or Zim Hip-hop but I really urge them to follow the footsteps of this man and build fruitful relations, be engaged in fruitful posts and learn about prospecting for people who want beats on social media.
In early 2012 he would release free beats and still does, this method has pushed him much as it has given him visibility. Over time these small actions count when you offer full rights to the beat for a charge. Most producers drop beats but forget to propose unique rights to the beat at a price. Jae Mac is well versed in music industry law, and perhaps working with different nationalities widened his eyes on how one may be swindled. The business side of music is lacking from many a producer and Josh is a pure example of a trend that should be embraced. I do not suggest that he knows all, but he knows enough to be able to sell beats without being exploited.
We should be expecting new work from the producer in June and perhaps a nomination at ZHHA this time since he has been putting in work strategically, if the public agrees it’s dope. In the meantime, let’s download Moving On by Wumi (Produced by Jae Mac Beatz). Jae Mac I encourage you to keep moving mountains.
One rapper who will not be ignored for a long time is Kwekwe’s De Accolade, from Dollar Sign Music. He is a great reality Shona rapper who has used online promotion to push his music. I particularly enjoy his subjects for many reasons which you can learn from that I will outline in this article.
Initially I would have reviewed his latest offering, Siniorita. In fact I have it written down somewhere but I realized that all of his work needs attention. His lyrics are not too deep but they are not weak, he writes in such a way that is relatable to the average young Zimbabwean youth’s reality. What makes his songs more relatable is his choice of language. The majority of his immediate community in Kwekwe for example speaks Shona, which he uses to rhyme. This makes him flexible as he does not try too hard to sound foreign. Most rappers of this time use a lot of English (me included) but also most of them cannot enunciate well and even when their message is good it comes off fake.
De Accolade also talks about issues that are possible in Zimbabwean realities. They may not be real events or stories, but they are very viable in a Zimbabwean set up to a widespread audience. His choruses are quite brilliant too; you can tell that he is growing in terms of talent. I listened to Ndauraya Bafometi and the only thing I found disagreeable about that song are the effects done on the vocals. Kwekwe probably has more hip-hop talent, my first discovery was Synik.
I actually think De Accolade should embrace a good marketing model and he is sellable in Zimbabwe. Some of his instrumentals may however come off as what is termed as urban grooves. His producer is doing a good job but I also believe the artist could try out other sounds such as the type of beats Stunner uses. The mainstream is looking for artists like De accolade, I urge any DJ’s that read this blog to pay attention to artists like De Accolade and not make it hard for them to break out by demanding bribes. It’s a corrupt country, we know you’re in search of money, but it will come the right way if you do the right thing and help us rise.
I think as De accolade rises should do more shows and seek collaborations with good artists like Marques (Zunguza). Those guys really have this thing in their content that can make them save the mainstream of hip-hop as they are still rising but making as much waves as artists that have arrived. Get his music here
While listening to the underlying message in the latest offering by DJ Krimz Beatz, I took down a few points about the content we share. D J Krimz Beatz is a producer and club DJ from Harare. He happens to be in my circle and for about two months he has been very vocal about what he calls #Zviroto, which is the title of his track. In Shona, zviroto means dreams.
DJ Krimz is saying that too many Zimbabwean Hip-hop artists are representing a fake image and trying to push that to the public, a s a result, the hip-hop industry in Zimbabwe has stunted growth like those Tom and Jerry African Movie kids. The song feature Noble Stylz, Sharky and Eburn Mwanamuduku, a spoken word poet who does his craft in Shona. It was first distributed via whatsapp messenger before being uploaded to hulkshare. Those who like rap about reality in Shona have been praisng the song in my newsfeed. Of course there are those who do not agree with the underlying message.
The song in fact has a broad message, Noble stylz urges artists to study the location and language of a people they plan to Market to, he also expresses that Africa and America have different marketing models. Sharky on the other hand ridi8cules fellow rappers for rapping Pac’s life yet they live in completely different environments. Eburn gives a spoken word verse, which has received mixed feelings. Some are not quite familiar with spoken word art while some think it was a good recipe.
I feel that Krimz is encouraging people to make relatable music. People are mostly entertained by relatable stuff, a simple look at your Facebook new feed will prove that people share a picture with a statement that is relatable nto ordinary life. No matter what that thing is, relatable content is begging to be shared.
Is Krimz then saying, partys, girls, clubs , sex and bling are not relatable? Well as long as there is a group that really lives with all that at its disposal, it is relatable to that niche. Krimz is taking a shot at those who do not actually live the life they rap about. 50 cent’s many men is relatable to many thugs in America that have survived bullet wound but still manages to entertain a white kid somewhere in America who has never spent a day on the street. It is still powerful enough to make Zimbabweans want to rap about to it. The emotion that comes with content that you relate to carries a spirit of its own.
So before you think about making music entertaining, make it relatable then add a second element. It could be relatable and inspiring, it could be relatable and funny, it could be educative in a relatable way. I encourage creative writing but if you’re going to be creative, be creative. If we can spot that you may be lying, you’re probably not creative. Krimz and his team really did good work on this song. Hope you can be able to download it and relate to it.
Remember, relable content gets the most retweets. Do not rubbish the Krimz idea, modify and use it. Get the song here…
Nowadays I receive links so much American Hip-hop is starting to fall out of my playlist as I am giving preference to Zimbabwean and basically African music. Some of the productions are very good, some are mediocre and some make me regret downloading. All can be improved on and show me that there is work being put in the industry. I am in a period where I am coming across new names everyday.
This week I thought of compiling a good blog post on the songs I personally have been bumping this week. They are not new, but some are new to me, though they may have been uploaded long ago. The list is not in any specific order. Number one on the list is not necessarily my number one. I created this list from a broad selection of songs. I listen to this during different times, it is not based on what you may think about the artists or whether they piss you off. It is also not based on who you thought should have been in there, but I will definitely be glad to hear who you want to see in my next play list next time. You can tweet that to me (@Mcpotar).
- Meyniak ft. Ciya – P.D.R – this is a rather new offering from Meyniak. He is a young hip-hop artist based in Harare, Zimbabwe and he has always appealed to my ear. He is affiliated with G-records, I did not research whether he is signed or not but I first took interest in his work when Sharky introduced the guy to me. They were both in beyond Rap at the time. He has this aggressive flow to a beat that leaves it in a coma. The song P.D.R is truly a dope offering about a girl, lover and other drugs like that. I certainly think Meyniak , if he builds the right relationships will own the moment one of these days. Get it here
- FTR- Ambitious Girl – the first instance of FTR I heard was in Synik’s Syncity. He is a great producer, I took a tour to his reverb nation to download at least one song. I was not not disappointed. I downloaded, Ambitious Girl, though I got what seems to be a snippet of the song. I could resonate with the lyricism, beat and hook. A very promising sound for Zimbabwean hip-hop. I will definitely be taking another tour to his reverbnation. http://www.reverbnation.com/ftr
- J Wyzle – Let It Go – ft Anna, Mariachi, Jeffy – This song sort of shifts the mood, to something one can listen to in relaxation mode. The song manages to inspire and soothe the soul, while entertaining at the same time. I got this link via twitter, from the artist some days ago. The chorus is beautiful as well. The third verse had an inspirational message as well, but I wished there was more work done to delivery on it. All the same it will be on my playlist for a while. http://www.reverbnation.com/jwyzle/
- Teexy – Hatichamiri – A Harare based 16 year old femcee who I was initially not keen on writing about because of her age. I really needed to see her report book especially with the low pass rates we have been getting. She actually wrote O- Level and passed, she’s going for A-Level. She is coming up, I like her song because youthful. It’s not too hard. It reminds me of when I had a passion to rhyme at her age and I personally hope she does well in her A’s. hope to see her take this music up in the next two years. http://www.hulkshare.com/teexy/teexy-hatichamiri
- Flabbz Ashton – Lead Me – Now it doesn’t really matter how much I write about this song. It definitely is on my playlist and will be for a while because I am a Christian and I need to be led to. Flabbz Ashton is a very talented Christian emcee and I actually wish I could step to that level of expressing my faith on a mic. This song is the bomb, you might want it on your playlist too if you understand Shona. I want to share it with as many people as possible. https://soundcloud.com/jesuspositiveflabbz/lead-me-flabbz-feat-vuyo
- De Accolade – Manager Part 1 – This is another Shona song from a Zim hip-hop emcee about how he gets in an affair with his manager, who is also his girlfriends mum and mother’s friend. He definitely has a great story telling ability. His beat has a local feel which some of you may liken to the urban grooves sound. I personally think it’s just the Zimbanbwean original sound of Hip-hop, compared to music that thrives to sound American. Part 1 is quite good, I don’t think there is a follow up to the song yet. His reverbnation page is a good entertainment space for good local shone rap music.http://www.reverbnation.com/deaccoladeluxe
- Navy Seal, Mcpotar, Synik – Watz it all for – I always keep one of my songs in my little playlist. This is an old song; Navy Seal, Synik and I did in late 2011, in Marondera. The beat was provided by First Class Beatz. I love the song, I listen to it on a regular basis and I recommend that you go out there and get that song. Get it here
- MMT ft Tinashe Makura – Koovha – no matter how much this song may be criticized or hated on, MMT is building its own audience out of simple party songs that actually top the charts in Short Time space. I definitely like this song and I think the “hating MMT era is over”. Forget what happened last year, we are one Family we need to put our Koovha’s in the air and make merry. http://www.reverbnation.com/mmtmusic/songs
- Savage – Ghetto Stars– I did a full blogpost on this song recently. This guy is a great story teller. I enjoy listening to this song when I’m relaxed and I really think he has taken time to work on his craft. There’s so much talent in this country and I love it. His story telling abilities make you see what’s going on in your heard. Get it here.
- Outspoken – Waiting For The Bus – off his album God Before everything. This song has not missed a single playlist since I got it. The song has a spiritual presence and sounds quite conscious. I love the sound, the guitars and the ambience. It shifts my playlist to a totally conscious Paradigm before I go back to the Meyniak song. http://www.outspokenthahumbleneophyte.com/
Let’s keep supporting Zimbabwean Hip-hop and always feel free to follow me on twitter (@Mcpotar) and get new blog posts on how we can make moves in the rap game. I appreciate Zim hip-hop, let’s talk about it all day. Daily I encourage everyone to do a few actions to support Zimbabwean hip-hop, stop propagating nay say about how other genres are better than us but be the change you want to see in our culture of hip-hop. It is not the job of the old guns alone to carry this cross. It’s harsh out here
Rhyme Assassin, winner of the 2013 Male Artist award at ZIMMA (UK) and one of the most visible Zimbabwean artists online, dropped his single entitled Beautiful recently. The song features Alaina Pullen on the chorus and is a special for this year’s Valentine ’s Day. After a listen to it I managed to derive a few things to note about the song. I must warn; this is a Mcpotar review, it is not a promotional article from <insert generic blog names here, separate with comas> or <insert biased news site of your choice there>. Mcpotar reviews are very opinionated and candid. After this paragraph the truth begins.
First of all the beat is laid back, it sounds like a fusion of R&B and Hip-hop sounds from the late 90’s which is a relief from the gizmos we are hearing these days that are dying to stab our ear drums. P2daoh “Polite Sithole” a Bulawayo based hip-hop producer, made a great offering on that beat. He didn’t abuse plugins and add-ons and he kept it simple. This guy (Rhyme Assassin) is talking about taking time out to appreciate the love of his life and spend time with her. Candle lit dinners and so forth while the lady is responding to him in the chorus. Basically they express their feelings for each other and talking about sacrifice, which is the core concept of the song. It is about giving and gratitude all in the name of love.
I basically think it’s a fair song that has a fair chance of becoming popular since people love love songs. Music sometimes is about how the artist makes you feel and this is a very relatable subject which shows that the artist had his fans in mind in the whole creation process. However, I’d also say as we approach his debut album release he needs to raise the temperature a bit more on the delivery. Yes… delivery needs to be touched on, I understand this was a chilled song though. Lyrical content is basically good. He did flow in line with the beat, and the message was crystal clear. There was a well written concept on this offering. People may forget all things else about you, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
I just needed a lot of dynamics in the flow but that’s me. I believe dynamic delivery would have shut down the building. By dynamic I mean an ever-changing flow that emphasizes emotions expressed. On the other hand I believe Alaina should put in more vocal work as much though she did quite a good job in creating this promising hit. She does have the vocal qualities of a great singer who can get better and better with more studio time and acceptance of advice. Every artist is a consistent work in progress; we in the end want to have the best track out there. So my criticisms on any track I review are meant to keep empowering the artistes with real opinions that regular day to day people do not usually say to the artist (yet they say it to everyone else other than the artist. Cowards!).
I will applaud him for bringing his message at a relevant time and I believe many artistes may learn from some of his good practices. Rhyme Assassin was on Zim Hip-hop Report running a contest for the song where winners won Teddy Bears and airtime, which I believe was a good promotional strategy. So his hustle as far as promotion is way ahead of many artists, so in the end he still will get thousands of plays, views and downloads and keep his rank. By working on urgent areas and maintaining the pros, he will do much more with his music. But Rhyme assassin you are definitely not far from what people like.
He has over the years done a lot in making sure that he is visible everywhere and this is the final push. I’m sure you’ve seen him post various images and keep his presence online. He also has remained Top 5 artist on Zimbabwean Hip-hop reverbnation charts along with rotation on radio and good press coverage. May his forthcoming album be a success!
Send NAMA #BLACKBIRD to 39436
Recently running across Zimbabwean music on i-Tunes store, we came across the works of this brilliant Zimbabwean rapper by the name of Vhedza. He raps in both English and Shona, but his bars prove that he has been kicking it for a while. He had an EP in 2002 entitled Zvakagwamba and worked with Mizchif in 2004 on Breaking Backs. He was quiet for a long stretches till he came back in 2012 with a song called majestic which was in the “Majestic Mixtape.” He actually is under Majestic Music Recordings.
“I explore the nature of a Hustler’s spirituality in light of his everyday realities. I also deal with my personal emotions and demons like my mother’s death, broken relationships, fear of failure etc.” – Says the artist who’s a practicing Attorney in Cape Town, South Africa.
I was quite happy that he was confident enough to put his music on a global market. It means a lot when an artist thinks their music is worth that much so I naturally knew it would be great to listen to. The album covers various topics such as “the illuminati”, love relations, dedications to a lost mother, religion and patriotism. It is a well recorded and mastered project which is however only available for streaming online. If you need the songs you have to purchase them online.
The album begins with a spoken word piece called Hunter’s Prayer produced by Zex Nhongo and Vhedza himself, which is a mixture of Shona and English. I think here he is talking to the modern hunter, the hustler who goes out into the concrete jungle to hustle for money and needs spiritual protection from God so that he may be alive to feed his family. It the very next songs In a song called Hemlock hearts also produced by Zex Nhongo and the artist, he is making an attack on a system known as “the illuminati” whom he describes as “hemlock hearted” and describes throughout how they have people trapped. He asks his Dearly Departed to protect him from them. Dearly Departed is another song that comes up later on in the album, which is dedicated to a lost mother. I believe he was creating a continuous concept throughout the album. It was produced by Zex Nhongo as well.
Bridges ft S.Gatsi and The Future, brings is in the love aspect of the album, with a soulful chorus, this is indeed a positive love song in contrast to a song that comes up later in the album called Better Than Me. Is it that the girl he initially built Brigdes with went to build bridges with a “better man”? In essence, Bridges is about Vhedza being happy to connect to a new girl in ways he never imagined while Better Than Me is about a girl leaving him for a more financially stable guy. Perhaps this stress leads him to the next song where he talks about a place he can escape from trouble, given that his girl is acting up and his Dearly Departed is already there. I’m talking about a song entitled I Know A Place. It seems to be talking about heaven an afterlife without pain. Better than me was produced by the future while Zex Nhongo produced the song Brigdes.
He keeps old school type bars throughout the album in songs like Ride Out, Above the Vig. While I know a place seemed to talk about heaven, Will I Fry ft S.Gatsi seems to be subliminally talking about hell and retribution. It has the most powerful chorus in the project. I can listen to that chorus all day. Of course his bars come as deep as expected. The project ends with a song called Zim Connection ft. BOB and produce by The Future and Zvavemarasha which comes as a bonus track. Zex Nhongo uses sample on a few songs to make a creative project.
Vhedza in his own words intends to push the envelope of Zimbabwean and African music both lyrically and sonically and develop my record label “Majestic Music Recordings” as a viable business entity in the music business. Perhaps that is why he needs all your support in sharing this project on all social media.
I must express that as a blogger who is a Christian I was glad to know that Wordzmyth is now doing Christian Rap, so when I finally got Wi Fi today I downloaded his Mixtape via soundcloud and also an album by Vhedza. Right now I’m just going to give you an overview of the Wordzmyth Mixtape entitled Be Careful God Is Watching.
Wordzmyth in this mixtape is basically talking about the journey of his spirituality and how it has affected his life in a positive way at the same time alienating him from certain groups that knew a different him. Light of Day manages to tell us who he is and how he got into the art and eventually how he started using it to express his faith. The song has speeches in between verses and thorough delivery that shows his lyrical prowess. The song Taking Over is more on an evangelical note, it talks about spreading the word of Jesus Christ throughout the world and “taking over” every nation, while My Might is a song where he celebrates the power and the joy he has found through worshiping Jesus Christ.
The one song that touched me is She’s Got A Baby. He talks about being in love with a single mother, and how he is going to love her regardless and keep her child like his own. This song brings in a solution to a society which mostly judges single mothers and condemns them for life. The song encourages people not to judge single moms since they may really know nothing about them other than that they have babies. I believe this is one of the most relevant topics discussed here and I am glad Wordzmyth took it up. There are too many half orphans whose living fathers need to be taken to court to for them know that they must take care of their children. I feel society should take his words in this song seriously.
Another song you may find relatable in this mixtape is a song called change with a soulful chorus. He addresses how we have been to church to look for change but have still felt no different. He explains how the friends at church didn’t provide solutions he needed. However the song eventually describes how the LORD can turn around that experience.
The song Hello by Uleny which features Wordzmyth expresses how communication can be used to uplift people around us and be able to help them get through their problems. It expresses the importance of fellowship and communion.
Tehn Diamond ft Dhadza D -Simudza Gumbo Song Overview
Last week a top student of the hip hop game dropped a song where he featured a top dancehall student. I am talking about Simudza Gumbo by hip hop artist Tehn Diamond which features Dhadza D. I think it’s going to be on his debut solo album The Perfect Tehn. The song is basically what I would classify as a “conscio-commercio track” (that’s my own word :P) , something like what Kanye West’s Jesus Walks was (minus religion/spirituality).
The melody and beat is typical of a commercial track but the underlying message is strong and didactic like that of conscious hip-hop music. Over the years some of my closest friends thought Tehn Diamond was going “soft” but I guess he has been expressing his reality as he sees it and balancing it with what appeals to a wider market, rather than just metaphor hungry hip-hop heads. He does drop very conscious verses sometimes, like in Synik’s – Before Dawn. After hearing a lot of party offerings I was naturally inclined to thinking Simudza Gumbo (lift your leg: Shona) meant “dance your feet off”. However I realized it actually retained its original Zimbabwean war cry meaning.
The term Simudza Gumbo is a popular Zimbabwean war cry term; in its fullness it is actually, “Simudza gumbo, harizi rako” (which is the hook of the song actually). Meaning “Lift that foot, It’s not yours”. That statement was introduced during the Zimbabwean liberation war. It meant, one would lift his foot and go to war on behalf of Zimbabwe a.k.a “take one for the team” a.ka. “service above self”. All those phrases are closely related. So how does Tehn Diamond embed this in his message?
The Underlying Message In The Song Simudza Gumbo
At the beginning of the song Tehn is addressing a girl who seems to think that her goals in life will be fulfilled by dating people who have already made it big. However from time to time this girl has ended up hurt with tears in her eyes because these “big people” have options and sooner or later they left her. This is real in a Zimbabwean environment where a lot of young girls (I’m not saying this is bad) invest in dietary plans, face powders and mascaras to attract the elite while they ignore investing in a skill, education, self growth and things that make one truly independent. They date this rich guy, with whom six of them share and soon he leaves them broken and that lifestyle they had lived with him needs to be maintained. This is the message I decoded from that part of the track.
He goes on to highlight the Zimbabwean brain drain issue. We have Zimbabwean young people working outside to make ends meet and building industries, economies and futures of other countries. So Tehn is saying, they should “Simudza Gumbo” for their country which needs future leaders and maintenance of a culture, but the youth are too far to get advice from Tete , “What’s the student with no tutor, “. This is all within the first verse of what sloppy listeners would regard a party song.
Tehn also addresses how the youth should take opportunities and how the hustle is really not about showing off, looking hot or how many followers you have on social media when there is barely a cent in the bank. I guess he is trying to say we need more leaders than followers in order to “Simudza Gumbo” for Zimbabwe. This message is relevant in this 2014 era of “dhora mu-bag”.
Basically the song talks about what conscious rap listeners know as the “system” and how people have become victim to it. Tehn Diamond calls upon young people outside Zimbabwe to come back to Zimbabwe and help revive the country with their knowledge and natural resources.
I enjoyed the whole song and I resonate with it more than Happy. I guess I can never be Happy till people take this message seriously, work on it after the party and apply it. #It2014 and we have to wake up every morning set goals, prepare things and hustle. Sometimes the fruit will be eaten by future Zimbabweans, which is the principle of Simudza Gumbo and has been carried from generation to generation from Nehanda to Hebert Chitepo. This revolution is a different one, because we are in the information society. When you provide knowledge, skill and labour to the other team, you’re not taking one for yours.
I’m off to Church stay blessed. Please like my page for quick updates on Zim hip-hop , comics, poetry and also my music click here.
Download Tehn Diamond ft Dhadza D- Simudza Gumbo By Clicking that Link
Tell me what you think about the review in the space below, so that we can continue the pro’s and weed out the cons.