‘Fresh Prince’ of Zim hip-hop
By Zion Divaris
Naysayers will say it is Nasty C’s star power, others will point to Laylizzy and his legion of Mozambican followers while the usual “he has rich parents” excuse gets thrown into the fray.
All this, however, does not take away that King 98’s new music video raced to 100 000 views on video sharing site, YouTube, in just five days. Surely there is no greater endorsement by music fans than that.
Furthermore, his album is being played in Mozambique, where he performed recently and was “pleasantly surprised” by the singalongs.
In Zambia — Diamond FM, Prime, ZNBC stations, Movie TV, Que TV and CBC TV are playing songs and videos from the singer’s debut album, “Francesca”.
In South Africa, where King 98 is based — his reach is reported to be over 20 million while in Nigeria his association with Davido has opened new doors for him.
King 98 told The Sunday Mail Society that Davido not only introduced him to industry players in Nigeria, but encouraged him to collaborate with a rising West African artiste named Zlatan.
The YouTube success by King 98’s “Wacko” is no fluke. The visuals are brilliant, fusing upmarket and ghetto settings to great effect. Supercars, beautiful women, wild parties and a whole lot of other elements one would expect from a hip-hop video are featured.
Explosive clips from the “Francesca” launch gig were also thrown in there, further enhancing the visual effects. Kicking off with a groovy hook, King 98 does not disappoint on the first verse, delivering numerous solid bars, which are complemented by the energy he displays on the video.
King 98 on set with Nasty C
When Nasty C comes on in the second verse, he drops that fire, spitting hard-hitting bars with his signature effortless flow. Laylizzy then gets to set it off with smooth vocals, getting a bit aggressive as the verse progresses before throwing in a bit of Portuguese in the end.
Writing on his Facebook page recently, social media influencer Plot Mhako said he felt vindicated for rooting for King 98 after watching his performance in Mozambique.
“Last month I got vilified for supporting and endorsing this boy! I stand by my word. Hate or like him, the boy is doing what most of you, WhatsApp rappers, are failing to do. Let’s appreciate and support the grind and effort. He is putting in the work,” wrote Mhako. Blogger Miss Mona had this to say about the rapper, “Out of all the hip-hop ones, this one is pretty lit… ‘Wacko’ by King 98 featuring Nasty C and Laylizzy. So the person who sent me this said King 98 is the Prince of Zim hip-hop. A lot of hip-hoppers have claimed this title and most turned out to be clowns. This video has no clownery in it. The camera work is exceptional.
“Nasty C and Laylizzy do what they do best but I was impressed that King went toe to toe with them. Not only that, he manages to shout out Zimbabwe and make the chorus catchy. ‘Never gave up, now I’m dancing, moonwalking to the money, Michael Jackson’.”
Reginaldo Guateras, a music critic from Maputo, pointed out that King 98 had just staged a coup on music lovers.
“I thought I would only watch Laylizzy, who is from my country, but after listening to King 98 I found myself appreciating the art. He is really good. I love him. I have just started digging up all his music,” said Guateras.
On video sharing site YouTube, for instance, many music fans admitted that they had been drawn to the video due to Nasty C, who is featured in it, but were surprised to find King 98 quite palatable. This youngster is definitely making moves in the industry and this is one of the jams that proves that he means business.
King 98’s album has a number of good songs, among them “26 November”, “Born to Win”, “Francesca (Mama)”, “Twiste”, “No Bad Vibes” featuring Davido and “Shoko” ft ExQ.