Recently African Hip-hop Blog’s Philchard raised logical and serious concerns about why “Zim Hip-hop is Dead” (read it here). I concur with the majority of the article, the concerns he raised were brilliant. he hit where it hurts but it was important . I felt that African Hip-hop Blog was hypocritical to talk about a failing Zim Hip-hop industry yet they possibly do 70% of South African reviews and frown upon local hip-hop submissions as subpar. This can be verified by comparing the post count at the top of the Zimbabwean category versus the post count on the South African category.
At the time of posting this it was 370 Zim articles ever written versus 780 dedicated to South Africa.
Phil has mentioned that he is very meticulous about content but is that why we have more coverage of SA than anywhere else? Yeah , there is considerable coverage of locals but sometimes it feels like we not important.
25toLyf (which evolved to AHHB) is an early Mcpotar.Com influence and so is the current AHHB…but I have to be honest with Phil in this piece… before we go further.
We are large consumers of South African and Nigerian music which by the way is eons ahead of us, but I am sure they did not build their industry through their own curators, disc jockeys and fans promoting the music of another people. The ability to create connections with big PR companies and kick it with big guys like Tumi, Khuli Chana and Burna Boy is good but how can we forget Jungle Kid back home after-all that. Is the filming gear available being used with as much enthusiasm to document local acts as it is with foreigners.
Shouldn’t Nash Da King, Navy Seal, Mile and other talented kids be feeding off that traffic? Imagine if the people that visited the site to read about Khuli Chana saw a Jungle Kid article in the side bar. – But ohhh Jungle Kid is just some guy from Masvingo right, never performed at Shoko, does his own artwork, doesn’t record at a dope dojo, few uptown cats have made much noise about him (yes there is apparent classism) and he hasn’t had special features in his career right? The only time we will promote an artiste is if he is visibly great. We are not going to help him be great…
The problem with curators and DJ’s in Zimbabwe is to act like day one fans to artistes who are already self made. You know Tehn Diamond, Jnr Brown, Gze, Kapital K, Abnorm, Simba Tagz, Yagi Dojo, Sharky and many other creatives that they didn’t really help rise. Some kid who is gifted but lacks PR basics will not be paid attention to. It is no wonder a lot of publications now care about Cal_Vin and want to propagate his first hand news today. It wasn’t happening before Bebengakholwa hit. Everyone loves to back a winner but Cal_Vin and many others blowing up in their early 30’s or very late 20’s should tell you that this has been happening for a long time and happened to them.
The advantage of having an older brother should be that you don’t have to go through struggle he went through. If your brother was rejected by girls and was later a Casanova, you don’t have to go through as much rejection because your brother already told you what to avoid and what to do to win the heart of a woman. We have a situation where most of our brothers prefer us to go through heartbreaks and learn it ourselves. Fine! There are circumstances in anything you brothers can never walk you through, that you have to learn yourself we understand that but check it:
So if Synik blew up at 28, Outspoken around the same age, Stunner started flying to to Dallas around 30’s then that Blueprint should be handed to Kidd Active and R.Peels earlier so that they do it earlier. They will have their own unique challenges along the way which we expect them to impart on the kids that follow them.
Many industry pioneers share blunts with dope international acts but they will never hand the information or contacts to rising artistes. They only criticise how our new artistes do it but they have no books, seminars or coaching programs publicly available to teach these things. We would be willing to pay for that consultancy than be blasted year in and year out through condescending tweets and blogposts. My assumption is that the first generation of Zim Hip-hop either is not giving that information because:
a) They themselves have never done it but are trying to figure it out or b) They are still in competition with new artistes, so they would rather test the formulae on themselves than hand it to Meyniak, maybe c) I hadn’t handed them the idea and now they owe me one.
The scenario that happened with Syncity is one which needs to happen more often in Zimbabwean Hip-hop. Indeed Synik’s artistry made it dope but even he said it in walk with me that the execution was solid because of the meritocracy that was built around that album. Now I am not saying the same crew that worked with Syncity should work with everybody. Begotten Sun worked on that project out of passion, so it has to really be a a situation where the collaborators genuinely collaborate because they vibe with it. I believe there are enough intellectuals from all walks of life who can decide to team up and make one project successful.
Meritocracies can eliminate mediocrity.
I still believe DJ’s, bloggers and anyone who is in charge of a mass media channel even if he gets something as little as 200 visits a day should try their best to promote Zimbabwean Hip-hop or it’s music in general. I have been to events where Zimbabwean music is not even played at all and I wonder if the countries who’s idols are worshipped play our music as much. I wonder if there’s a Nigerian or South African based blog even whose focus is on Africa has 80% Zimbabwean content promoted.
80% of foreign content is promoted when it comes to hip-hop and the 20% they do play is of self-made individuals whom these curators are trying to feed off.
That’s the Kombi Haisati Yazara (the commuter omnibus isn’t full yet) mentality. In Zimbabwe you know how people do not want to get into a commuter omnibus because “it has no passengers” yet they could be the first passengers. In order for you to degrade and benchmark Zimbabwean Hip-hop against SA or Nigerian sound , some people in those countries had to be early adopters that were proud . I was at Zim Hip-hop Awards yesterday and everyone wanted to be Ti Gonzi’s friend (except you know who…). Everybody was trying to tell me how they are cool with Cal_Vin in their inbox (except you know who…).
I am not trying to torch down anyones initiative or legacy here but I am giving you my reality. How can bloggers, DJ’s and curators in Zimbabwe claim that Hip-hop here is dead when they keep ignoring songs passed to them by young people? How Phil?… I am very guilty of this too. Your blogpost highlighted the problem only on the part of the artistes but you forgot three fingers were pointing back at us. The bloggers, radio people, dj’s and fans.
How can people we grew up trying to be ridicule us on twitter for “doing it wrong” when they have been here for years and know the right path but have never held a workshop to teach the young guys? What’s the point of having brothers if you still learn on your own?
At the end of 2013 I only remember Begotten Sun, Pauline (Mafriq) and Take 5 among others holding a workshop on the industry. I was in the same building for a poetry workshop. Pamberi Trust , Magamba Network and a few have been able to provide those opportunities from time to time. I got more serious with blogging when Zimbojam presented their ideas at the first ever Shoko Festival. In those days I was on blogspot. Two years later I attended the First Hub Unconference where Enqore, Larry Kwirirayi and Sir Nige spoke. I don’t see many arranging these talks besides Magamba really. All I see is self-hate and criticism. People even distancing themselves from the genre altogether yet we know they were in it and loved it.
To whoever made it to the end of this article, please let’s love our country and lets be the change we want to see. Those who want to agree or debate it out on twitter it’s @Mcpotar. I will respond to you all.
To understand what i was saying about mentorship I leave you with this Tai Lopez TEDx talk on the Law of 33.3%.