Its been a good year for hip hop within Zimbabwe and it is quite inevitable not to take heed of how far Bulawayo hip hop cats have been pushing and making serious musical moves(Cal_Vin featuring S.A artiste Cassper Nyovest) and with so much energy and a level of seriousness next to none they deserve recognition within a rap dynasty which they have built for themselves as’Ndebele Rap’.I must admit I have never been a follower of Ndebele rap – not because I stand tribalistic in all forms of being but the Kasi undertone within their rap is something I am yet to adjust to.New to my music library is Bulawayo bred Tafadzwa Tarukwana’s (known in the musical circles as Asaph) Ep entitled Kingsvilla which is surely to captivate and mind-catch the listener,with lyrics that are packed with brutal rhymes and a heavy breath of vocabulary that maintains a subtle nature to its listeners rarely giving him room to be a cliche rapper.
Kingsvilla does one thing truly well,that being, making certain that the listener is well aware that the rapper is strictly a Bulawayo product and that hip hop levels within Bulawayo are far much bigger than what the rest of the country would like to box them in but fails to represent the Ndebele language in the form of using it to spit bars.
For a while on social medias he has been on a rant that he is the ‘Saviour of Zim Hip Hop’ a title he seems to takes seriously .In his own words I quoted him saying..
”…I believe I will save Zim Hip Hop by giving it a culture. All I am is real and that is what I put into the music. I put BYO urban culture in Kingsvilla and it wont stop with just the music, the music is just the start. What I’m giving Zim Hip Hop is a language, a dress code, a lifestyle and that’s more than music.”
The former gospel rapper and the ambassador for Shades of Grey Apparel is no brand new to the hip hop circles having had the chance to work with other majoring Bulawayo hip hop artists such as P.OY and Cal_Vin and gospel artist referred to as T1NDA.On his 9 track EP project Asaph seeks the production affiliations of Charlie Zimbo(who snubs the most production spots)Dj Dakudo and LA Josh with tracks that all slide through one start up from a conversation he has with one female in Harare.Also making guest features are Cal_Vin on NTL,MJ Sings on Masiyiwa Moves and also embarks on a rap duo with Mimie on Potential .
It’s rare to find artists in this hip hop age who when faced with the opportunity to see their art hinge on either appealing to a bigger audience or a small listening capacity are willing to take the gamble to perfect their art and Asap manages to impress in that area.Ambition meets creativity on the opening track ‘KingsVilla’ produced by LA Josh which starts off the conversational journey in Harare between him and a female voice that transcends to the track which he talks frankly about being once a gospel rapper and why he opted out of it amongst other topics.
Drop That,which initially was the first track he worked on before the other EP tracks, takes on the party theme and is a brilliant abstraction for the EP heavy with a Migos borrowed flow.Potential creates a rap chemistry light and delicate on the ear and the duo makes the track an easy dance-able track to vibe with Mimie offering a crisp sounding feature to the track.On QueensVilla he holds it down with his rapping skills with the ability to up his scales with his corny verses. Byo State of Mind is a rap referential ode to his hometown with an impressive tone and vocal delivery. Masiyiwa Moves title takes a subject play on Econet Wireless mega man Strive Masiyiwa as Asaph talk how he is ‘striving’ to be better and narrates how he once rejected advice from a girl who encouraged him to take his rap to Harare where there are better airplay opportunities and better organised shows for his own good(Shoko Festival,Hifa).On NTL ‘Northend to Luveve he features fellow Bulawayo hip hop artiste Cal_Vin but the tracks falls short with a flavorless chorus.Mr Dhliwayo is my personal favorite and was the headlining single to the EP.Mr Dhliwayo is a satirical notion on the surname ‘Dhliwayo’ which translated out of its vernacular context has something to do with ‘eating’ or ‘being devoured’ .According to Asaph, Mr Dhliwayo is that one goon that’s willing to spend money on other people therefore willing to be ‘devoured on’ by gold diggers or by friends although he isn’t even rich enough.
Generally KingsVilla is a narration of various themes within the rapper’s life and as an artiste coming from Bulawayo.It is a good listen and what is most impressive is the rapper being able to finesse the English language in a way that it appeals to both hip hop tribes making his listening audience unlimited .You can follow Asaph on Twitter @TheBoyAsaph.You can add him on Facebook as Tafadzwa ‘Asaph’ Tarukwana.You can listen and download KingsVilla on the bottom link .
Who would have thought that after the eerie silence of the giant hip hop trio, MMT, that the Rehab camp would still remain intact and produce music worth listening too?Well,it seems the team is still going on strong with several releases it has made through T1’s Chaka Kala,Pmula feat Xnder and Ishy on Ma Standards and recently Cool Dude Munya with ‘Love Em Girls’.
The Harare based Rehab signed hip hop artiste government named Munya Makurumure teams up with Chris James for the track owed much to the production by Anonzi ‘Xnder’ Mutumha.The track is the debut single to his upcoming EP entitled Evolution.In his own words on the track summary Cool Dude Munya denotes that the song focuses on the life of a young guy, trying to find the perfect person for himself, and in this fast paced moving world, he finds himself either being dumped or stepping out of what he calls “situationships”. On the chorus is Chris James who also featured on T1’s Chaka Kala track.
You can listen and download the track on the SoundClound link below.Follow him on Twitter @CoolDudeMunya.
The beautiful BlacPerl talks Masofa Panze 3, debuting her first single ‘They Do Thega’ to critical acclaim, battling sexist moments as a female rapper and comes clean on critics of her being an unoriginal mixture of Trae Yung and Noble Stlyz.
As other Zimbabwean female rappers continue to play in the shadows of their fellow male rappers, Harare born BlacPerl no longer feeds in those shadows. You have heard her crooning her voice on Meister’s Vakafa Vakazoroora and lending an impressive verse on Noble Stlyz Nyanzvi but the beautiful BlacPerl isn’t just a pretty face singing her way up to stardom but a female emcee unchaining herself from watching the throne rather than reigning on it. Now running the throne as the Queen of Masofa Panze she has declared the year 2015 as her year of growth as she continues on the royalty train by debuting yet another Masofa Panze album: but this time she is driving in the front relegating Noble Stlyz to the passenger seat as she continues the lyrical journey .Mcpotar.com’s Mimy took time to sit down with the Queen of Masofa Panze out of her busy schedule and this is what we discussed.
Mimy:Walk me through the process of finding yourself as an artist.Who is Blacperl in all spheres of being an artist?
BlacPerl: Blacperl is a Harare based female rapper who grew up in a small neighbourhood where there wasn’t much to live for. I found something that kept me alive. I embraced the hip hop culture at a very early age and back then I didn’t even know what it was but it felt right. I remember spending hours listening to my brother’s old school hip hop records and somehow a fire lit up in me. My vision was to make it as a mainstream artist so I took to the streets and started doing cyphers anywhere you can think of, from my hood, at school, clubs even at house parties. The hustle was too real and all I had was a dream and dope rhymes. I soldiered on till I met Noble and the good part was he had dreams like mine which made it easier for us to get along and from there we’ve been growing from strength to strength.
Mimy:How does it feel to have a platform to say essentially anything you want whether provocative or mind blowing?
BlacPerl:I take hip hop as the release valve on a relentless pressure cooker. It has been an opportunity to take what has never been an opportunity, to take what has never been enough and piece it together to make myself whole. Music has greatly served as a means of self expression and with every rhyme comes a sense of liberty and power.
Mimy: For some time you have been playing in the shadows of one of the best vernacular emcees, Noble Stylz ,and most people were familiar with you singing mainly on his hooks and feature verses .How is your working relationship with him and did you start taking rapping seriously because of his mentorship?
BlacPerl: My sound was incorporated into Noble Stlyz 2 albums and that working experience has been an eye opener. When I first met Noble I didn’t know what to expect but fact is, with him what you see is what you get. He is that kind of person who just steps into the studio with such a great vibe and lets everyone feed off that good energy. Before meeting Noble I had already established my identity as a rapper and through his guidance I have managed to sharpen my skills and have pretty much secured a wider audience.
Mimy: What sets you apart from the other female emcees in the game?What are BlacPerl’s biggest strengths when it comes to mic business?
Blacperl:The passion I have for my work is an undeniable strength. It is that flame from within that enables me to take my body and soul and spirit to the extreme furthest just to make things happen. Apart from that I’m blessed to be working with a wonderful team of people who push me to excel beyond set limits.
Mimy: How do you describe your musical sound. What can the audience always expect on a Blacperl track?
BlacPerl: I’m a big explorer of sound and rhythm, always experimenting stuff and I think its dope because we are still in the magical moment in hip hop’s evolution. I’m more of a ‘feel’ person because I believe that sometimes people forget what an artist sings about but remember how they felt when they heard their song.
Mimy: There have been quite a few whispers that you are a mixture of Trae Yung and Noble therefore making you an unoriginal rapper. Do you think your debut album will silence all these critics?
BlacPerl: Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Salt is made up of sodium and chlorine. Now those are compounds of two things put together. You wanna know what makes Blacperl? 18 October, wait till then.
Mimy: You have declared the year 2015 as Blacperl season and there are talks of a Masofa Panze 3 album.When does the album debut and why Masofa Panze 3 and not something free from Noble references ?
BlacPerl: Masofa Panze 3 is definitely dropping on the 18th of October this year and like the previous projects it’s a journey. I was on Masofa Panze 1 and I did hooks on Masofa Panze 2 I did hooks and verses. Masofa Panze 3 is the stage I come out and deliver the full package. We been building a brand and we continue hence the Masofa Panze 3
Mimy:You just premiered your new track ‘They Do Thega’ recently.What were the key inspirations and mood surrounding this joint. How was it collaborating with Noble again and working with Dj Krimz and how has the crowd response been of late?
BlacPerl: My new single has been received tremendously on the streets and it has earned me a lot of respect and recognition from the local hip hop circle. I have always been a bit crazy with rhyme, reason and rhythm and also I wanted to tell a tale of my struggle in an artistic manner so I ended up penning down a track that anyone could relate to and at the same time catering for my wit aspirations and flow. From the get go I knew I needed a Krimz beat, a crazy Noble verse that Mr Noxa Midas touch and to my amazement they all delivered beyond the original anticipation
Mimy: Qouting a line from the recent track where you pinpoint ‘momma still doubting’ how has the experience been being accepted as a female rapper within your family, in a hip hop male dominated industry and being non–sexual in your rhymes ,one quality most femcees seem to possess?
BlacPerl:Despite all the odds I believe that a real artist must never at any time for any reason be less than their ability. Being a young woman comes with a certain level of vulnerability because the society grooms you to become nothing more than a high end object which is not entitled to a sense of its own agency. The journey hasn’t been an easy one and it’s a pity that I have unfortunately come across awfully sexist people that could never appreciate a non sexualised rapper. Through all this I kept holding on to my definition of myself until I finally managed to claim my own on a non sexualised platform. I’m not really a feminist but can easily turn into one if I witness a woman being put under fire just for being a woman.
Mimy:Where does Blacperl draw her inspirations from and what future projects are on the cards?
BlacPerl:I’m really blessed to have a big family with some really cool people like Meister,Noble,Certified Platinum Ent,Trae Yung and the whole TMG Recordz family.These guys are down for anything that has to do with anything that has to do with progress and to do with progress and has to me that’s a dream pusher and wouldn’t ask for a better team to work with. For this year my main focus is on dropping the Masofa Panze 3 Album but other projects could be released along the way. You know how it is when you have dope ideas backed by a great team
Masofa Panze 3 drops on the 18th of October this year. You can follow Blacperl on twitter @Blacperl1.Streaming and downloading of her debut single can be done on hulkshare.If you haven’t copped the track do feel free to download it on the link below
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A candid interview as Meyniak opens up on why he defies the need to rap in vernacular,his defining working moments with McZee and what his 2014 album Before Dawn:The Sire really means to him
The past three years have been quite bliss for hip hop as artistes have taken the stride from being one track rappers to pushing their art into delivering albums to the masses.Also making his mark amongst those who have made albums is rapper Meyniak in the form of his 2014 release entitled Before Dawn:The Sire.Flashback from the Now Or Never times(one of the first few tracks he did produced by McZee) to present day Skebede , Meyniak has been proving for quite some time that he is more than just a regular rapper.He is a very deep and analytical thinker compared to most of the rappers of his generation who lose their audience in their failure to translate their intelligence into a palatable musical meal to digest easily.There are times his wordplay may lose you(X and O’s)but overally his brilliance and reflections all coated up in an album will surely impress you.
I first took heed of this rapper ,a year into my A level’s ‘The Miss Pearly ‘days’ and in those times I must admit I registered he was whiling up time and trying to get St Dominic’s girls easily in the form of being a high school rap god(it worked though ana nhingi nana nhingi). Three years later his aggression to carve his musical strengths has been nothing short of amazing with lyrical footprints that boasts of features with Sharky,Dj Krimz productions and Mczee to name but just a few .You see,Meyniak is goal oriented-far from being a rapper who is grinding to stay the same,almost could pass of as a musical perfectionist in any one’s books , quite level headed when it comes to who and how his art is managed and the hunger to do better even when he has achieved better makes him one of the focused rising lyrical emblems to grace the industry .I caught up with the rising artiste and this is what we discussed.
Mimy: You have become a force to keep watch among the new upcoming rappers and the genesis of your debut album saw cats taking you seriously and giving you the much needed ear you have been sweating for. Walk us through the process of finding yourself as an artist and when you realized you wanted to share your musical gift beyond being a bedroom rapper?
Meyniak: Being involved in music has opened several significant avenues for me which have established some constructive relationships. I cannot imagine not being part of the genre i.e. rap either with me being behind the mic or giving my two senses on the production side. However it only became an option for me as a result of enjoying poetry, but mainly for the reason that I feel I am still a bit terrible when it comes to my singing abilities. I am still not sure whether taking credit for the art I create is the best option given some of the boxes and stereotypes that my creative space has to, at times, work in. I am, however still grateful to the people who have in some way helped made this part of my creative, reach where it is now, so it is ultimately difficult for me to agree with I “want to share”. From where I stand, call it what you want, I am lettering my journal and that release from my thoughts to that pad is satisfactory enough. I also believe the ‘cats’ you noted, whoever they may be, have become, whether they like it or not part of the story I am yet to continue writing. Sweating?(chuckles) I would not put it in those words, my art could be for ‘sale’ but I guarantee you, ‘attention’ is hardly the buying currency. The idea, on the other hand, of reaching a status of being an inspiration and shifting culture is an attractive alternative so in that context I could say there are some rewards that come with exploring the art, outside of my comfort zone, that I am focused on other than a couple of individuals’ thumbs up. Not saying it is not awesomely flattering but, I do this for especially the people who know me outside of the kicks and snares.
Mimy:How do you describe your sound?What can the audience expect always on a Meyniak production?
Meyniak:Growth is an important motive for me to write because, with growth comes change. Similarly, producing what is expected removes the element of surprise which, in my view, is derailing oneself because surprise gives any product, brand or artist competitive edge. The ‘Weirdo’ (to whom you refer to as audience, I am glad you did not refer to them as fans) understand that the constant in my music is the dark aura, depressive energy amongst other things. Redefining myself is always the first priority and production is extremely important for me. Any producer or artist I have worked should know I am an aggressive and competitive person so it only feels right to say that everything that I create should exhaust every possibility of making a superior product I could possibly make within the circumstances. All my energy and focus is channeled towards creating a statement, a definitive chapter, a ‘formula’ that I hope some years from now some soul can develop and help make this a much more bizarre and weirder world.“…me I study the shows, the fans, study their hearts…” is that not wisdom being given almost for free by Jermaine? I believe my worth is in my honesty and sincerity. A large portion of the society I grew up in and still in is going through similar challenges and I feel blessed that I am not ashamed to show my vulnerability because honestly that is also my strength. I would rather be respected for my heart to heart ‘Mai Chisamba’ conversations on records than be praised for sub-standard sacrificed art. Oh…by the way was getting a bit too excited…my sound right? In one word WeiRd and we can only get WEirDeR!! A couple of other things too influence the sound, among them depression and a couple legion… but I am not going to address that in this article.
Mimy:Humble Beginnings: the mix-tape,from my perspective is simply you flexing your rap muscles and trying as best as you can to prepare your audience for an album. How did this mix-tape play a part in moulding you as an artist ready for the hip hop market?
Meyniak:The mix-tape was definitely me and McZee giving each other a ‘see you later’ gift. Dude was leaving to study abroad so left with only about a month we worked on the project. The Weirdo had not really had a solid project from me so it was kind of something for them as well, you know… In any market, investors and partners like to engage in commitments that usually have sustainability so the mix-tape definitely aided my mileage when it came to trying to get the respect of some producers and create affiliations. I remember walking into G Records handing in the ONLY copy I had of my CD, which looked like a Demo to be completely honest and telling G and Klasiq that I wanted to work with them. Looking back, I can see the superego I had, I mean I doubt these guys were even signing up artists. Anyway, the mix-tape was more of a simple ‘1 + 1’ math problem in class however, doing the album was a leap from that to quadratic equations. The need to also consider the team I had signed a contract with was new to me and I must say difficult coming from an indie environment. But we managed. And no, I do not think the Weirdo could fathom how the album was going to turn out like, the sounds are different, the album is more mature, more refined and more accurate when it comes to execution of concepts. Probably because of the lengths taken and the place I took myself before embarking on the project and constant echoes that lingered in my creative atmosphere. The mix-tape was cool…everything considered.
Mimy: From simply being an underdog three years ago to climbing a milestone of making and marketing an album do you think you have pushed yourself to the level of considering your music as mainstream rap or you are still building your empire one verse at a time?
Meyniak:I am nowhere in comparison to where I want to be, but I won’t describe where I am as a failure. Great Zimbabwe was not built in a day, or maybe it was? Hameno, ndichabvunza Soko Matemai point is I am not really concentrating on what I have done because of the simple fact that, it is DONE. I try to keep myself in check, it is all about shifting gears pumping the gas hitting the clutch I am on a mission I could never get enough. I do not know whether my art is mainstream, I think the Djs would know better, and from what I have seen it may not be. Still that does not worry me mate, radio is cool but when I am on that something foot by something foot stage I am with god. My spirit is in alignment with not only the universe but with other people in that space, in that moment. And that is the most important time, few of the liberating moments I have on this forsaken sub-Saharan land. I mean, the Djs play what they feel is relevant, which is subjective to their opinions, power to them, but when the Weirdo come out for that Can You Kick It show, or a Book Café event to witness me, how can that even compare to a spin? I appreciate the push radio gives to artists, myself not included in the ‘lucky’ bunch yet, but I LOVE the Weirdo. Period. I feel a legacy is at hand, my ‘footprint’ on the side bench while others fight for the side walk.
Mimy:You have worked with some of the upcoming hungriest producers of this decade Zimbabwean hip hop wise and amongst those includes McZee(Tinotenda Machida) whom you have worked with on many projects for quite some time. How has the experience been, working with someone hungry and aggressive to achieve better as you?
Meyniak: That kid is just in another league…he demands excellence, he creates ‘pyramids and aeroplanes’ when folk of the same age still trying to figure out how to nae nae. I am blessed. He, along with other producers I have had the pleasure to work with, provided a more contemporary canvas for the colours I had to show. It has been an honour to partner with McZee on projects, being the guy who actively introduced me to the genre, gave me my first mix-tape to listen to back when we used cassettes and would give me my first mix-tape and be part of the beat makers for my album how can the journey be anything short of amazing? We the few remaining active artists of our group Hudboi Entertainment so we have been through a roller-coaster 10 year friendship, from the hustles of getting kombi fare to get to his house and back, having to be in boarding house in different schools, ZESA doing numbers when we eventually got the time to get into the studio for that one month of school vacation. I can confidently say it is much easier for him to understand me at times and how I would want things done without having to go the excruciating pain of constant explanation and illustrations.
Mimy: Before Dawn: The Sire from my leverable hearing experience is a musical jungle clogged with dynamic lyricism that takes the audience from an afro endorsed Jungle Bred to Fireworks that takes us on an emotional found journey of infatuation versus love .Free from any critics, how best can you describe the album through your ears ?
Meyniak: Wow, you think it is all that? That is some description on its own right there Mimy compared to what I have. I think I would have just described it as part of my collection of journals. The album is split into two parts (sets) with an interlinking part (intersection). The album in simple carries two main themes which are the dark, cryptic side of the album (Before Dawn) taken from obviously just before the sun rises which happens to be arguably the darkest time. The other side carries the confident aggressive energy, self-worth, proud, with some wittiness as well (The Sire) taken from the attributes of a king, which is a synonym of a sire. The album also has tracks which have a little bit of both, as kings were expected to have wisdom, mystical energy (especially in the native African context) and also rule with authority. So concepts of the album are based on those themes…not revealing everything but you should know there are other sub-themes as well.
Mimy: There are various emotions and sentiments shared within the album that differ from one another as they trancede to the last track.Take us on the emotions that guided the album and what key inspirations led to the differentiation of every track?
Meyniak:I am inspired by everything and anything. It may sound a cliché but those who have sat down with me for chats know what I am talking about. I am not afraid to feel, because it is in those moments that I am able to create, hence I absorb as much as I can. I will go through a few tracks at random on the album, starting with ‘Grey Twilight’. I wanted that serene, calm energy, similar to what you might experience when watching the sunset or listening to the ocean collide with shore rocks. The song “Jesa” by Trinity was also key in taking me to the right place. It describes the heart-breaking situation of star crossed lovers. ‘X and Os’ I mainly wanted to address relationship/love, sex, ‘immorality’ or rather the context in which it is understood. The only thing I would like to give away about this song is a breakdown of the title, those who have listened can then evaluate because I feel up until this point a few, if any, understood. There is X n O which is given meaning by the game hence illustrating the players in relationships, X n O from the shorthand form hugs and kisses, Ex and whores. That is all I will talk about, but I promise there is more word play. Fireworks is more of a reply ‘letter’ I wrote for a friend of mine. People usually neglect the constants of their life. An assumption that these things or people will always be there sometimes comes across as taking them for granted. I was simply trying to appreciate the person looking at the challenges and uplifting moments in any relationship, hence the words “…beautiful war in the sky…” P.D.R which stands for Pride Determination Resilience was inspired by the movie Pride (2007). The title of the track was also derived from the initials of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation which operated a dilapidated recreation centre. An interesting fact is that the movie is also adapted from a true story. My interpretation of the movie was how an African American swimming team battled with racism. The song then has its foundation on trying to eliminate discrimination in many social aspects, in an African setting, including religion hence the words ‘…is it candles or angels in the sky?…’ with candles representing stars, that is basically a statement asking whether the world is scientific or religious. “…open your mind when need the truth behind the church there is a tomb…” besides the literal meaning of most Anglican and Catholic Churches having graves or cremated people, the other meaning is how sad it is how some Christians would condemn other religions e.g. Jihads by Islam, when we have the Dark Age period. I felt the need to address other socio-political issues in the song and ‘Angels’ as well.
Mimy:In these times when hip hop within Zimbabwe is growing and appealing better to a mass that seems to appreciate vernacular rap more than English rhymes, the album sees you adjusting to a few vernacular undertones but the rest of the album is in English. Qouting one line from your verse on The Sire ”…who that asking why don’t I rap in vernac.Cause I can and I wont” hasn’t the vernacular bug beaten you yet or you lyrically still playing stubborn with your suburban rhymes?
Meyniak:I understand that a lot of artists would like to claim that they are representing their roots because they use vernacular language, which I won’t protest to, however if anyone feels I should be given credit but won’t give me because I choose to use English then power to you mate, remember ignorance is bliss. I feel language is a means, beautiful even, of communication, but it is not the only one. I listen to tonnes of music from different languages some of which I do not understand. I had to Google to know what ‘Loliwe’ means, that Zahara song, but the fact is I had already been moved. Emotion is what attaches people to music, that is why even the ‘crappiest’ mp3 song could be a masterpiece if given the appropriate emotion on stage. I will use the language that appeals to me in faith I have done it so well it will appeal to someone else. I have been blessed with the education, with education comes power, with power comes choice and I choose to rap in the manner that comes natural to me. Besides I do give them some vernacular, it might just not be me saying it(chuckles)
Mimy:On the album you worked with various producers , from the trap god McZee to the deejay cum producer Krimz to G records affiliates Gwagz and Klasiq. How was your working experience with such diverse vessels of talent and how did their sounds aid in giving your lyrical ideas a voice?
Meyniak: Every single producer that I had on the album had their own idea of who I was when I was making the project. Their interpretation of my capabilities may not have been a complete summation of what I wanted for the whole project but, those building blocks from everyone made the project what it is. I had MclyneBeats who is usually comfortable with Bangerz come through and spice up the project, I had already developed a good relationship with him as we had worked on other projects as well. Boy Tricky made it very conducive to work, he listens and the alignment of conceptualization when we made Angels and Jungle Bred was incredible.
The detail we had to put on the instrument to create a melting pot of intricate sound yet simple to the ordinary ear is mind-blowing. McZee and Fun_f are really talented producers, the beats that made it to the album were different to what I normally hear in local Hip Hop circles, Big up to them! KrimzBeats is insane. Between him and Gwagz I do not know who I fought with the more about production. These guys elevate and push me to become sharper. It was an amazing experience working with the two gentlemen, Gwagz produced a sequel of a record I had done and we put it on a compilation album for 2013. On the album we made another masterpiece, one of my personal favourites. Klasiq also helped me progress, guy was with me almost every time I was in the recording studio creating two of my favourites on the album. Geez the experience was overwhelming, almost 8 months working on it. Credit also goes out to the special ears that came through to the booth for a listen so they can chip in some input. Amazing!
Mimy:Ciya steals a whole lot of features on the album compared to other featured artists.How did your ideas compliment each other and how was the experience of working with an RnB voice?
Meyniak:Ciya has a special voice. Before the album, I had met him about a couple of months before, once, at the University of Zimbabwe through a friend. I hit him up when the project was commencing and we made the first single for the album, P.D.R. Well he is down to earth so it is not difficult to work with the chap when a good concept is on the table. And I won’t deny that I am not the easiest guy to work with, but Ciya makes it easy to cut a record, he has the passion and talent.
Mimy:What future projects and business ideas can we expect for the coming years ?
Meyniak:Well I could make the cut for a compilation project which is likely to be released this year, so look out for that. As for individual projects, well, let us starting looking at 2017. I been working however, with a lot of young talent on guest appearances on projects, and a couple of tracks out already and more are coming hopefully slick videos as well. I am mainly focusing on engaging with Weirdo more directly so shows are the top priority right now to hear any NEW music. I am hoping to acquire knowledge which directly and indirectly influences the music, so you might see me involved in a lot fashion, film, modelling events…etc.
Meyniak dropped a track recently called Jeso produced by Fun F.If you haven’t checked it out do take a listen.For more of his music do visit www.meyniak.bandcamp.com.Follow him on twitter @meyniak_artist.
In a year that has seen a plethora of major releases in both vernacular and English rap, it is just the middle of the year but the bar has already been raised on what it takes to stand out as a hip hop artiste in Zimbabwe and fans have begun to focus more on the lyrical and wordplay execution rather than the beat itself.State of Art is one rap clique readying to prove themselves in the rap circles with the incredible foursome consisting of Taz Da Prince,Fab Johnson,Cashbid and Stunnerman.This year already they have proved that they are hungry enough to slaughter by putting out lyrical masteries in the form of Fab Johnson’s ‘Mr Johnson’ ,Taz Da Prince’s ‘Work’ and the trio joining Meyniak on a DJ Krimz acclaimed production, K.O and their own rendition of Fun F produced beat on Full Moon At Midnight. This time Taz Da Prince and Cashbid embark on a twosome rap journey on the new track entitled ‘Discover’ released under the State Of Art.
While there are artistes constantly on the prowl for sales and Facebook hype that will keep their names relevant the two never venture out of their own lane and yet their material never seems to spoil any rap playlist.Ushered in with a sampled background which doubles also as the chorus, Discover takes its listeners on a lyrical synopsis with a pampered beat selection still unrivaled owed much to their team work with The Hitmen (ZW) .The song offers a mixed bag of lyricism all pinning for attention at once with a flavored chorus and hook that manages to still waver within your mind after listening.Taz Da Prince opens up the track admirably never disappointing in bar execution, with the MC undergoing a self-examination and pouring out his lyrical soul in discovering his rap realm and the steps he is taking.
Hip hop wise, Taz is one of the most underrated cats around bearing in mind that his delivery resonates well with the modern-day hip hop sound managing to switch from straight forward raps(Murderous Methodology) to melodic flows(Talking To Myself).
Cashbid’s takes homage on the second verse of the song and his lyrical strength lies in the ability to reach both mature and comparably younger minds all the while effectively navigating both worlds. I still feel there is a level of consistency he is still breeding, the consistent rapper who gave us Lord Knows three years back but not breaking through enough: although lyrically if he was to push a few walls Lord Knows he would end a few careers.He is real and holds no filters to his lyrics and his freestyle side also makes him a strong and an intellectual emcee.
The two are basically the blurred lines between owning the power to lyrical aggression in an underground manner and still holding perfection with beat selection,who does their production and the execution of playful bars making them viable to be leaders of hip hop that should be getting airplay.If you haven’t checked out ‘Discover’ you can take a listen to it(Varume vane chirungu ivavo) and do add it to your music playlist.
Hip hop within Zimbabwean borders is yet to surpass the level that its proclaimed pioneers laid ground on in the times of its ignition. Fast forward to these times in its new school era,it stills lies like a virgin on a bed awaiting to be deflowered and unchained of its naive nature and mediocrity’tine mota nema yellowbone’ sound.Times have changed and so has hip hop and its undertakers.Aligned to the fact that the 90s class of cats could argue any given Sunday that hip hop confined within the borders of Zimbabwe which bore a political and poetical flavour in the earlier days, now in its present day is nothing but a “dead dog hit by a speeding bus”but it is also debatable if hip hop on Zimbabwean ground ever grew to the extent of being termed as ‘dead’ in our decade.Gone are the days when the birth of Zimbabwean hip hop was moulded within the hands of great acts such as Raas Kaai,the rapping side of Chiwoniso,Mau Mau, Mbare born Metaphysics, the late Mizchief, not forgetting also ,that Zimbabwean hip hop enjoyed its defining moments in the anchoring times of the late emcee,King Pinn who took his sound beyond the borders of Zimbabwe and found homage also on South African radio stations even the U.K astoundingly.Some have defined him as the best thing that has come out of Zim hip hop:quite a big tag to bestow on a man who only had one song known by the ordinary music listener(I Salute You) playing on radio stations ,some may say ,but not most hip hop heads knew the battle rap and freestyle side the late emcee possessed in his prominent days.Decades later,a great many might feel his relevance is rather misplaced and exaggerated considering the fact that most of the hip hop heads only got to know and hear about his works after his death and for some of the hip hop heads,nothing else is known about this modern-day god besides his radio single ‘I Salute You’,let alone bear knowledge of the album he left entitled Verbal Vitamin.King Pinn was a lyrical emblem,calm on character but beastly on the mic,a son of hip hop that Southern Africa should bestow hero-ship as his legacy continues to live on, for those that acknowledge his existence, in the form of the decadent will he left for his listeners – his album.I hold count of the numerous rappers that have been inspired by this work of art,R peels in mind, and how its relevancy surpasses its years of existence.So who was this King Pinn every hip hop head claims to know and well inspirations from?Is he merely an underdog of irrelevant artistry or does he clearly deserve our respect even if he lies six feet under?Is King Pinn worthy to talk about in the Zimbabwean context,as our own,considering that South African’s are quick to associate him with their country,the same way they stole our Oskido?Didn’t we overally push his greatness to find closure within our failing hip hop days maybe claim him so that the audience could feel kuti takabva kure and our music was just as good as his and far from being termed ‘bubblegum’?Widely considered as one of the most prolific lyricists in the history of Zimbabwean rap,the late King Pinn was born Tonderai Makoni on the 25th of March in the year 1980 in Leicester before returning to Zimbabwe with his family.Growing up in the small town of Marondera familiar with Amiz,King Pinn started making a name for himself together with like-minded emcees,Adopted One and Mundawg.He fast became a force to be reckoned with becoming a well known artist within Harare and managing to gain a strong presence on previously Radio 3 Fm( present Power Fm)Known also to be the younger brother of a lyrical poet cum emcee in those days nicknamed Raas Ai who was a member of pioneering hip hop group named the BlackFoot Tribe,King made his official debut featuring on a track on Black Foot’s Tribe debut album.In the year 2000 King Pinn relocated to Cape Town,South Africa where he attended the University of Cape Town South Africa majoring in Cinematography and Theatre.During his stay in South Africa the King collaborated with south African rap cults such as The Others and Groundworks while making a name for himself at local events while his singles ‘I salute you’ and ‘Inauguration’ received moderate airplay in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.
On the 12th of May in the year of 2003 the King Pinn passed on having been a lyrical hurricane on the streets of South Africa and also back home being considered as one of the best MC’s from Zimbabwe during his lifetime.He left behind a rap bible that we can steal notes from in the form of Verbal Vitamin.Gone,but never forgotten, his dynasty will forever be a guiding yardstick for hip hop in Zimbabwe for those that glorify his run in the hip hop marathon.Whether he simply is an overdecorated rap ideal or an unappreciated underdog to some who feel he isn’t credited enough, he represented well the future of Zimbabwean hip hop and pioneered it in the years he was alive.As we continue to stand and ascertain our worth as a genre and a subculture,lest we not forget those who paved the way in the times when Whatsapp broadcasts were unheard of,in the primitive times when Soundcloud and Vevos were yet not considered,in the times when the upcoming rapper didn’t have to molest bloggers and friends’ inboxes and Facebook walls with links to their bedroom produced music.Despite not having the most favorable ideals of getting their sound heard they survived the times,giving us a starting map to guide us on our lyrical journey.Featured today is also the freestyle he did with the late Chiwoniso and Capone in the late 2000’s.All hail to the king,we march on!As you go about perfecting your grind ,as you go about recording your tracks on that Dj Mustard beat we clearly know you stole..as you give your audience a performance that makes you look like a headless chicken running from the thought of being turned into Chicken Slice for Cashbid’s consumption…Dear rapper, as you perforate our hearing announcing your debut albums that do not hold lyrical artistry,take time to look at your art and question,but what would King say?
Far from the trap noise tendencies and rapping about whips and chains the track Paranoid by H3nry and Hillzy offers a fresh new feel to hip hop with its incorporation of lyrical rap verses and a melodically toned chorus and R n B verse courtesy of Hillzy.This isn’t the duo’s first work as they have featured and recorded other tracks before .The track takes us on a lyrical journey of a male in a love dilemma caught up in a paranoia stringed with fighting the idea of trying not to hurt the girl he is in love with,almost in a Drake mode.This track will definitely get the ladies in a frenzy(taking off their clothes maybe)Its a musical you will definitely put on repeat and If you haven’t heard it,its not too late. Feel free to take a listen and download the track.
Recently he fed our listening buds with Black Orchestra and this time award winning blogger cum rapper and also my mentor,Michael Mupotaringa a.k.a’d Mcpotar is back again with an intriguing yet wit filled track that sees him flexing his rap generic muscles in an impressive manner.He had us throwing the #zvakusungisa hashtag all over social medias for the past weeks but for those who are familiar with this lad’s genius comprehension, know that the versatile Mcpotar isn’t just a mean guy blogging away his opinions on a rusty three legged desk but he is also a musical soul who knows how to market and push his productions to a variable extended audience,never limiting the realms his music is supposed to appeal to. For the past three weeks we have been hashtagging Zvakusungisa in a Zilluminati fashion but now the full product is here for public listening and I had the chance to have a listen to it before it was mastered for public hearing(no,you don’t have to sneak your nudes in his inbox to get such benefits ladies)and its still sounding like an impeccable piece of art after full production.Zvakusungisa sees Mcpotar/ Eureka taking us on a lyrical journey congested by vernacular rhymes that are in antecedence with English lines too which are playful and witty, at the same time engrossed well with a fitting and catchy hook.Within the first hear it captures you with its bumpy and ‘club feel’ produced beat owed much to the young and rising tag team of producers ,The Hitmen (ZW)
Clogged very well with braggadocio lines such as having more twitter followers than people getting airplay to comic filled lines of haters getting envious, ‘ganda ravo rakutaita green kunge ra Shrek’ this is one song to bump to,whether you are twerking your African jelly behind in the mirror,claiming your rent money from that dubious tenant or clearly bragging about how your grind is turning out good.Feel free to take a listen and download the track because this is one track that needs a feature in your boring playlist.This one is just for control people…#zvakusungisa (Mcpotar taught me)
Marking its genesis in the year 2013 when Maskiri,Stunner and Munetsi were the most played artists amongst radio stations hiphop wise,the School of Hip Hop was a source of hope for every hip hop artist to gain airplay. After two and a half years of promoting Zimbabwean hip hop with an hour of play within a broader radio medium,the School of Hip Hop show principled by the Mariachi Code is now a thing of the past.Starting out in the years when radio was most dominated by loud Zim dancehall and Urban Grooves genred tracks the show managed to close that hollow gap, catering for the hip hop’s heads thirst with its top ten and random plays of Zim hip hop tracks that did much to put Zimbabwean hip hop on the airplay map.
But within such a confinement of celebrating hip hop with a show that garnered a favorable mass of listeners and gave hip hop a sense of seriousness the show faced a whole lot of criticisms from the artists and the listeners starting off from their criteria on who got airplay(did you have to buy Mariachi a pint of beer every time you see him?wash his clothes?give him girls to twerk for him maybe),from being Rehab generated(too much overplay for Schingy,Boneman,Marques) and from extorting artists of their rands and dollars so as to get airplay(yes Chris the librarian we know).Whatever the criteria used was, we can never argue the impact that the show had for the hip hop movement and a stride it took for Zimbabwean rap to be considered of radio worth.The show introduced me to acts such as Kidd Aktive,Savage,Icy Murda and a whole other new class of cats who I would have never taken heed of, who managed to get airplay within the years when the show was rising.Although criticized for being a Rehab camp in its start off days we can not also run away from the fact that in those days Rehab signed artists were CLEARLY making a lead in mainstream music,music that could actually count as radioworthy in standards of mastering and mass appeal whilst some were still suffering from ringtone beats produced songs.
The halt of the show has been met with various concerns and mockeries from other rappers.Controversial Noble pinpointed on his Facebook page that there were rappers who only received airplay on that show therefore making their careers hinge on broken glass since the show that made them heard is no more. Marondera born Amiz concurred that he had been asked to pay a bribe fee to the librarian to get airplay which he quickly refused to.Dylan formerly known as ‘Didzavelli’ Danda purported that the show was merely a sham and didn’t represent well the ideology it was supposed to embrace.Whether these artists are simply speaking out of truth or basing their views on not getting airplay, School of Hip Hop failed to fully incorporate various rap sounds all over Zimbabwe and most of the times it simply failed to be an earpiece for the talented yet unnoticed artists and if the ‘pay to get airplay’ scandal is true then Mariachi again failed to act fair to a genre that birthed his worth and gave him standing in musical terms.I do not know the criteria he used for the years the show graced our radios but salute to Mariachi,anyways, for building a brand and leaving his footprints as we march on to demystifying hip hop not just a genre yemasalad dressed in Tunechi clothing but a musical culture that has so much more to offer.He might have been myopic on other artists but for those he gave a voice on radio, he did it to his best of capabilities.
Last question is,what now?Like Noble questioned, what happens to the artists that were only breastfed on Mariachi’s show and remained ghosts to other radio play slots?Do they wait on Dj Elroy slotted on a new hip hop show or simply disappear into thin air like Hakeem’s two minutes fame?Either way,they have to wake up and simply be good enough to garner for radio worth:not any easy thing to do in an industry that is calculated to produce more than 40 tracks a day in Harare only.Artists should take the initiative also to push their music through streaming their music on Soundcloud and Reverbnation.We can not keep waiting for radio stations to play our music when we can use other means to be heard.It will take time to be taken as a brand worthy of listeners ears on radio but hip hop within Zimbabwean borders is taking giant steps and surely will get there.School of Hip Hop:gone but never forgotten,we march on.
The new generation of hip hop worldwide has seen the growth of female emcees taking over,even going against their male counterparts in terms of album sales and hype.That cant be said,however sadly,in the Zimbabwean context considering that hip hop is yet to nurture one of its feminine elements-its female rappers.There are a few of them really with notable names being South African based Icy Murda,the Ndikoko hitmaker Trae Yung,new and upcoming BlackPerl,Blackbird,the on and off Dice and the deejay cum emcee Naida.The rest of the female emcees are busy committing hip hop crimes and slaving themselves to getting only chorus and ‘i can twerk’ mediocre verses on songs that don’t even garner for airplay sometimes.Female emcees in Zimbabwe are still yet to be taken seriously and forever remain just a myth to the average hip hop head and yet are to show their feminine worth behind a mic.But it will take time,if they see themselves only as chorus rappers with no self standing without a male emcee in front of them.Even in the Biggie times,Lil Kim grew as a solo emcee still being termed ‘Biggies toy’ in the beginning but she managed to unshackle herself from that and continued to flourish even after his death.Back to mother earth,the truth is there is much to be done in terms of performances,being marketed,getting out albums and creating an image by our female rappers if they want to stand ground and show their male counterparts that they are a force yet to be reckoned with.As a female trying to make a mark also in the hip hop circles I have compiled a MIMY 5 A-B-C-D-E guide that could help female rappers old and new to gain ground in the rap circles distinctively and these are…
Align yourself with a good management team that markets you and pushes you harder.
It is always hard starting up as an emcee but it is harder enough starting off as a female rapper.Your raplines are undermined.Your voice pitch is questioned and in most instances you are only called up to do a sexy chorus only 6 lines worth of time.Talking from experience,this is quite demeaning considering that there are quite a number of female emcees out there who can spit fire but they are only getting small chorus verses.In avoidance of such sticky situations that are likely to discourage you,make sure that you at least make a demo and find a proper stable that can help you work and manage and market you as a brand.I think Trae Yung has managed to do that with ease and the fruits of that are really showing off.You are taken more seriously and you have people who want to see the best in you.Do not limit your capabilities to just a shady $2 recording booth.Dream big,aim for better.Grind like a man.
Be confident enough to own the stage.Never let the stage own you.
Hip hop shows and concerts are not only about seeing your artist on stage but seeing also how your favorite artist owns a crowd and takes center stage .Fans notice when an emcee isn’t confident enough in their work and this quickly kills off a show’s mood.Not so long ago,I watched a female emcee performing and later on her male emcee counterpart came to join her on the stage.She looked clueless from her dressing,to the way she handled the mic to the way she badly lip sung to her own track.The crowd tried to bear with her with hands folded not until the male emcee came through with so much energy and a good execution of crowd play did we start jumping up and down.It wasn’t even about the sexist card but most female emcees are yet to learn and to polish their performance skills.You can never separate being a good emcee and knowing how to perform.
Create an image for yourself.Dont be ordinary.
We live in a dollarised country where looking good is too expensive to pull but creating an image for yourself is a key element for a rapper,especially a female rapper.Missy Elliot had a tomboy image .Lauryn Hill had a 90s look and dreadlocks.Creating an image basically means creating a rap ego that your fans are quick to embrace you with.Do not be ordinary especially when it comes to performances .Don’t come out on stage wearing an oversized dress with six year old torn and sewn again pumps.You might argue that talent and skill is all that matters but so does first impressions especially when it comes to musical influences.
Desist from just featuring but put out solo projects to build your musical career.
It is quite necessary to start off doing features for other artists,making a name and building contacts with other artists in the industry but it comes an issue if all you do for more than three years is feature,feature and feature more.Sounds more like an exaggeration but it is true.There are female rappers who have been rapping since gore riye renzara but still they have no solo tracks or mix-tapes and albums to their name.They are plain shadows,only playing in the background of their male counterparts.Its important to build yourself first but there is also the need to break out of that comfort zone and learn to build a rap career and to get noticed as artists not back up singers.
Encourage yourself to stand solo.Period!
I know it’s a trend that’s not new and that wont be erased any time soon-that one of writing rap verses for female rappers.I’m not judging at all,even other male rappers are getting their verses written for them.If the female emcee isn’t able to write her lines, I’m sure her male counterparts or the stable can help her get away with murder but in most instances they can’t get away with murder :it kills her ownership to that song.She isn’t familiar with the idea of the rap bars-they didn’t stem out from her so they lose a sense of originality and usually blurs up her performances making her a shadow on stage.Its not originally her idea so when she performs these tracks she is basically an ordinary person karaokeing to other people’s ideas and we, the fans are quick to notice.Generally writing is an inborn trait but it can be tutored,that means writing verses everyday and practicing,making silly bars and correcting them to be better.We learn by trying and trying even harder.The thing ladies,is we can’t keep on being backed by men all our lives.We have to take a stand all by ourselves,taste the waters,be swallowed by Jonah’s whales,be spit off but be courageous enough to stand solo.Its not going to be smooth because the streets were meant for men , and for us,the sidewalks but let us change the way the game is run.I am not saying partake on this journey all alone but be sure to get advice from your fellow counterparts and lose the dependency syndrome you have been pulling all these decades .Get your mixtapes out,push your tracks for radio. Perform fiercely with so much hype.Build yourself an image.Learn to cypher your art through writing for yourself.Be original.Believe me,the gender card doesn’t work in the hip hop industry.These male cats will feast on you and not feel any remorse at all. Female emcees,WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!