Hip Hop in Zimbabwe? What a shame…
By Lenon I. Rwizi
Since 15.09.89, Lenon I. Rwizi has made two critical decisions that he regrets in his life. However the depth of these mistakes, I will never regret having made the decision to unreservedly associate myself with discourses related to hip-hop culture.
Today 08.08 2014, I woke up to the sound of one of the greatest albums ever articulated in hip hop circles.
Listening to the ‘back twister’, Nas’ ‘Time is Illmatic’ album got me thinking seriously about the relevance and impact of lyricism and consistent commitment to conscious articulation of bars. In light of rising dancehall superstar, Toky Vibes’ lyrical prowess and the positive reception from dancehall consumers, one just wonders whether hip hop in Zimbabwe will rise above the waters of neglect.
On the track ‘Half Time’ Nas tries to paint the image that invites us to take a break and reflect on the realities that he would have noted in the ‘Intro clip which he named ‘The Genesis’. Yea, he had a story, a big story that I find relevant and applicable to the realities facing so many of our young people in the ghettos.
It speaks of the concrete story that in this day and age still has to be achieved in the here and now. It might have been in the early 90s, yet Time is Illmatic still questions our authorities, confronts the masses and boggles those gifted with proper intellectual properties to handle these situations using proper tools of analysis.
In my previous article I referred to the ailment as the ‘The Poverty of Right Philosophy’. Of all forms of poverty, I contend that this is the worst ever disease that people can suffer from. The Poverty of Right Philosophy’ is the inability to think along and against social trends; to adjust versus the realities that manifest along the road.
Listening to conscious American Hip-Hop, one can almost hear the New York project hallways, the noise factor that ferments from the ghetto in the beats. You can feel yourself being led down the Queens Bridge streets, experiencing the struggles of street life that Nas grips and engulfs young adulthood in an Afro-American society.
Zimbabwe too has its own problems that are limited to time and space. American hip hop culture introduces its subscribers to dialogues that confront themes of street-life; guns violence, drugs, alcohol and the pursuit of money by any means. In trying to address these problems, I guess young Zimbabweans are capable enough to implement ‘The Right Philosophy’ in articulating their lives through bars.
Prostitution and immorality are persistent issues that Zim Mcs might need to seriously articulate rather than getting excited with word rhyme. It is quite disappointing that Zim Hip Hop (if ever there is something that deserves that title) has been tainted by young people who do not have an insight into ‘The Genesis’.
The themes mentioned above can be used to represent our roots; where we have come from, the difficulties that we have face today and the fight for a better tomorrow. This form of art is needed desperately to partner Zim-Dancehall which has gone viral amongst youthful circles in Zimbabwe.
As of now, my opinion reliably informs that Hip-Hop suffered a miscarriage; a false start moments after King Pin. Radio stations are not helping the situation either. Though music has an entertainment role to it, it can be a remedy to all sorts of circumstances. When it comes to hip hop, radio stations need to bring in a positive message that strengthens those who are bowed down economically and opportunity wise.
I think it’s high time these usually ignored questions are answered. We are the question and the answer to this sad situation. Is there Zim-hip hop? What form is it? #BRINGBACKTHE#KINGpinSPIRit#