Victor Saul Chiutsi and I seemed to be agreeing on a certain forum about urban grooves some weeks ago. We agreed so much he suggested I should do a blog on this whenever I get time. Well Victor, here it is. You thought I’d forget didn’t you…
Zimbawe has had hip-hop for a long time; way before what some would like to call the “urban-grooves era” which brought forth much talent but in recent years it seems like an insult to be called one. In this article I’d like to take you through why I think it has become an insult.
Etymology Of Urban Grooves
In my view urban-grooves was a term decided upon by a group of artists who adhered to what is known in most countries as urban culture. Even the DSTV channel that plays Hip-hop , R&B, Pop, Soul and so forth has the word urban in it. The name obviously grouped genres that were popular in urban Zimbabwe. That is Hip-hop, reggae, dancehall and rnb, to make one collective… I don’t want to say genre. Rather one collective category. It became a category of music that the youth liked and it was mostly from the ghetto.
How Urban Grooves Settled In
During that era the David Chifunyise’s (hip-hop), Plaxede’s Wenyika’s (R&B) and Sanii decided to execute their talent in local languages. I do not think David Chifunyise ceased to be a rapper in that time for using a local language (Shona). His content was just the same as an American yone would choose to call a rapper but in a different language. All elements of hip-hop existed, Roki would fall into the category of pop and like it or not maskiri is a shone emcee. Maskiri is a story teller like Tupac was a story teller, he narrates from beginning to end, meaning in the logic of those who deny Maskiri the title (because he uses Shona), 2 pac is also not hip-hop to them. Urban grooves was just a category which became to famous and was imposed upon us. In fact there is an agenda to not play on radio those who refuse to join the little association I hear. (NB: I hear)
The Problem Caused By Urban Grooves
The problem was after putting ngoni, maskiri and Roki in the same category and have the nerve to call it a genre, it would go to the ZIMA as that. That was unfair, how can you do an award show that nominates Michael Phelps and Bolt in the same instance. Yes they are both athletes but they can never be compared, because the criteria that makes Ngoni said to be good at his R&B is not the same as the criteria that makes Maskiri said to be deep at rap. Ngoni may be applauded for never missing notes and pitch, while in Hip-hop even a hoarse voice will make it if you have lyricism. That’s what the problem was and we began to resist the name urban grooves, till Stunner in hameno said, “Ndiani rapper akambohwina ma award ku ZIMA?” It had become that big. Meanwhile those who rap in English had always kept their little borders and chosen not to go under that category. Lucky us.
The Point Is…
If hip-hop is in shone it’s not urban grooves, in fact urban grooves is a dying category, we do not want to be categorized. I respect all emcees that use local languages and those that use English too. But if you have a sloppy accent at English like some of us, it’s about time you step up your game or come back home. Shona is cool again. 😉 #Provokatif
Random: Pane mfess anonzi De Accolade, anoita Shona rap… Akaipa.