Zimbabwean Hip-Hop under Attack!

Music | By Black Bird, Musician | 05 April 2013
PHOTO: © Baynham Goredema

My take on the recent Lil Kim, Fat Joe and Ciara show in Harare is probably one sided, but it's a side that many people share with me. I am a Zimbabwean hip-hop artist who puts on a hell of a show but just because greedy cats want to keep such platforms for their 'homies', I couldn't get on the line-up when it's clear I am one of Zim's most prolific rappers at this moment. It’s ridiculous because the promoters don't realize that the industry will never grow until they have faith in the local artists. I pack a real punch on stage and after the show, a lot of disgruntled people in the crowd kept complaining saying I would have probably put on a better show. Fat Joe performed to his own damn CD (not even back track) and Lil Kim did the same on a couple of songs. Despite her dope choreography, Ciara sickened me even more when she did an Akon cover version whose words she didn’t even know, so the DJ played the track whilst she danced or whatever, and only sang the chorus! Talk about ridiculous... at least here in Zimbabwe if u see a cover.. it's well rehearsed and you can see people put effort into it. All three of the US artists performed cover versions and this kinda shocked me considering how much we paid to see em do THEIR TRACKS... Lil Kim didn't even perform how many Licks?? One of her all time classics! It's just a pity Zim promoters believe more in these backtrack Americans than in this countries wealth of real rappers.

When it comes to promoting local hip-hop, they chose to lie to me that there were no local acts, when instead they had a bunch of owns dressed like their going to sip scud by the shops... mumbling about how they run H? In the audience, people kept asking each other (Who are these peeps?) If I had seen Munetsi, MC Chita or Outspoken doing the opening I wouldn't be complaining coz these are MC's who have proven their mettle in ALL the rap circles of Harare and I know they would have given the American performers a run for their money. The same bloodclat politicking happened at Akon and Sean Paul's show and i was told a few days before the show that i could no longer perform becoz the line-up was 'full'. I think owns need to realise that every time they under represent Zim to international artists, they do the country a disservice.

The media is the same and the majority of local publications dedicate more time to promoting Americans so how the hell are Zimbabweans ever gonna appreciate us on the same level. The amount of publicity that goes to Sungura and Urban Grooves is so unbalanced with what rappers get, and I hardly ever see any stories about local hip-hop artists. When you do it's either gonna be the only one for that month or you can make sure that the artist had to push sooooo hard to make sure the item goes to print. I've been interviewed on several occasions, by several papers and it's sad to to note that a lot of the time theses journalists are just killing time on you, when they know all they wanted was a free CD. As far as I see it Zimbojam, Newsday and The Standard are the only publications who have remained objective in their journalism and they gotta be commended for that. To make matters worse the promoters for the 'biggest hip-hop show in Africa' charged $50 a ticket, an amount that is ridiculously out of reach for the majority of Zimbabweans, especially the core hip-hop heads. Most of the cats who would have treasured such an experience are young and unemployed. This should have been fostered into the price and slashing it to even $20 would have ensured a packed event instead of the flimsy turnout that came to watch such big acts. I think it was cruel to make a show like this out of reach to the average hip-hop head and to me this further shows me how promoters are just money hungry capitalists who have no intention of 'promoting' local talent... if they did, they would have made the ticket prices accessible to our local artists so they can learn from the international performers...

You can tell the type of tree by it's fruits... it's obvious that local promoters have no love for Zimbabwe's abundance of talented artists! Can promoters stop pretending that they are trying to promote Zim's music industry when in reality they are just sabotaging it!