Braggadocio hip-hop is where one exalts themselves against a real or imaginary opponent usually. It is basically that kind of content that says, “I’m dope because of this and you’re wack because of that.” It is a very great branch of hip-hop in proving ones emcee skills. Most Hip-hop in Zimbabwe however is fast becoming confined to this type of hip-hop.
It has become all about punchlines and stolen delivery melodies. Unrelated song lyrics, no concepts at all and I’m saying yes we need some of that but we need to grow and be useful to society by expressing through other means. Only a few individuals like Savage, Synik, Noble Stylz and others unmentioned are doing storytelling. Very few people have done concept rap songs and that’s why we have the same thing everytime we download songs. The bars are sick, but what do they mean? What is the underlying message of the song.
I mean the bars are like:
I tear down rappers like a pair of scissors/
I bow down daily to the throne of Jesus/
??? – Okay I made up those, but it’s an example of what is happening. The first line has totally nothing to do with the second line. At the end of the song, a rapper has spoken on religion, self praise, his mom and his cats all for the sake of making way for the next word that rhymes. You can tell that the guy did not sit down to say I’m going to write about this. When you ask them ,”what’s the song about?” they can’t give a good description. They probably say, “It’s about how haters be hating on me,”…. Blah blah blah. Personally I don’t vibe with songs about haters, there’s really a very few that make sense.
These guys really get on a song and mention that they made it? They are upcoming however and apparently their “haters” hate them for things they don’t have.
I’d say Noble’s Rwendo rwengirozi was deep conceptual rap, with storytelling in it. Karma does concept albums as well. There was a time in hip-hop that concepts mattered. Nas has always been good at concepts for example as shown in Rewind where he told a story backwards or Book of Rhymes where he rhymes snippets of rhymes he once scribbled in his journal. That was very creative and it showed that Nas was not just playing a comfort zone that most rappers want to stay in.
Zim Hip-hop is crying for acceptance from the public but do you really think people want to turn up the volume all day and hear punchlines about how deep you are? People have real world problems, yes at times they want to go and hear a punchline or two but not all day. The girl who just got cheated, needs to hear an emotional break up song, the new widow wants to hear that she’ll be alright though her husband is gone.
The average guy who’s been sneaking into his girlfriends crib related to what Winky D’s Bigiman was saying, because that was a concept based on immediate realities that happen in the ghettos. Now, I love punchline rap. I want to be awed by every single bar that drops like “Whoa, did you hear that?” but I also have real life problems. Problems with relationships, money and spirituality. Is there a rapper who’s really coming through to address these problems. Is there a rapper who’s song I can sing along to when I want to remember my parents and sacrifices they made?
See because, someone out there can’t write but they need a song to dedicate to a life situation they face and hip-hop is nowhere to be found.
Where is hip-hop when Zimbabwe wants to commemorate independence?
Where is hip-hop when women are getting beaten up by boyfriends and murdered?
Oh, hip-hop? That’s that culture that sees none of the social ills right now or any social good either. All they see is the chains on their neck and the next punchline that will make crowds clap. After the crowd claps it goes home to face real life and whatever they hear from other genres is addressing it. Come on guys we have the best form of delivery art can offer , we aint gotta be outdone by nobody out there. We can be kings.
I want to challenge emcees today that are reading this to go and write something that will inspire, educate, entertain or potentially change someone. Something that will speak to someone so much they want to pass it on and after it’s hype they want to play it over and over again.
As it is music is only getting hype for less than 1 month then new material kicks in. It is areally a sad scene in hip-hop. I know we can handle it though. Just use the same creativity you have used in braggadocio raps to move the world.