A lot of great hip-hop songs and brilliant rappers from Zimbabwe have come and gone, however, their names and songs that will continue to ring a bell in our heads and memories. Here is a list of 13 hip hop artists/groups (in no particular order) that made music to last, music that stands the taste of time and can still find space and relevance into the new age. Their music transcended many barriers and moved the heart and soul!
The list goes beyond 13 and we shall certainly revisit and speak about other artists and their significance. #EARGROUND
One of the pioneers of the Urban Grooves movement who shot to prominence rapping on the song Seiko which features Roki. Mapfumo’s native rhymes gave magic to several songs that became national anthems and for more than a decade, he remained stuck to the ground dropping hit after hit (such as Maidei, Two Chete) and was instrumental in grooming several artists through Hesh* Mfesh studios and today he is part of the DreamStar talent show discovering and promoting talent in the country.
Born Tonderai Enerst Makoni and died in 2003 at age 23. Undoubtedly the illest and best rapper to ever emerge out of Zimbabwe. Sadly his life was cut too short but his music never stopped playing. A profound and extremely conscious lyricist whose poetic dexterity remains unmatched. His song I Salute you made a huge impact on radio and the streets during the Urban Grooves era and echoes of relevance can still be heard today with many still trying to decipher the message.
One guy who has managed to reinvent himself and has stayed connected to the mass audience for two decades. Real name Enock Munhenga. He broke the ground with Musalala and never looked back. A chilled but charming rapper who knows how to make hits. His yesteryear hits still find space on today’s playlists.
In 1999 he dropped Tauya Naye and the song catapulted him to the big stage and literary commercialized hip-hop in Zimbabwe. He went on to give us Hapana Chakaipa, Sarudzai, Glass RemaHewu and several other tracks that informed the dynamics of youth and pop culture during the era. Chifunyise went mute after a few albums but his music remains some of the best rap tunes ever released in Zimbabwe.
Entering showbiz as a backing dancer, Stunner went on to steal the mic and has never passed it to anyone. In fact he turned it into a crown and made himself king of hip-hop. Many might argue but he is the longest man standing in the game. With or without current hit songs, the Team Hombe maker is still touting loud and touring.
Hechichamunorwa Mount Zion Kwenda the undisputed legend. The first rapper to independently release a solo hip-hop album in South Africa. A record breaker whose music knew a place called home. Two songs A place for a wife and Summer Time engraved the legend’s name in the books of musical history. Mizchif produced music that never left us even when he passed on in 2014. May his dear soul rest in peace!
A pioneer and a hip-hop master all in one. Shingirayi Sabeta joins the list of Zimbabwe’s hip-hop greats who gave us bars and punchlines that inspired and raised a generation. The MC who has since switched to hip-hop gospel music made music to last forever. His abilities to flow in deep Shona gave him the acceptability at home and earned him the respect he still commands in the industry today.
Hailing from the city of royalty, Mgcini Calvin Nhliziyo took over the legacy from the likes of Majaivana, Solomon Skuza and made it hip hop. The Luveve raised artist’s impact on the music scene, not only hip-hop, will forever be remembered. Endorsed by South Africa’s undisputed rap maestro Cassper Nyovest as Zimbabwe’s finest rapper. His song Z’khupan broke the record and still sounds fresh.
Some call him Tateguru a term that befits his elderly and kingship in the game. An artist who broke the ranks with norms and traditions at a time the country was still very conservative and has a long list of hits to his name. Maskiri has stayed afloat for almost 20 years and is still believed to be one of the best ever rappers. Real name Alishias Musimbe, the rapper’s old music still sounds great. Looking forward to his comeback album dropping soon.
Do you still remember Chimoko Chidanger, Ndoda Kupindanewe, DDF et al? Nasty Tricks broke into the music scene in 2003 and became an instant hit. A gifted lyrical champion whose deep sense of humor won him the hearts of many. One of the few rappers to drop so many hits within a short space of time. Sadly he then varnished but he left his music with a far later play by date.
The trio of Junior Brown, Tehn Diamond and Take Fizzo came, gave us drinks and the music. A star-studded hip-hop group whose grand entry on to the scene in 2013 made us Happy and gave us the longest hangover to date. Their later releases continue to bear the torch that carries us into the future.
For a genre that is male dominated and very competitive, one woman defied the odds and came in hard with powerful bars that saw her opening the path for other female rappers. Mercy Kaminyu from Penhalonga near Mutare was formerly part of Project Fame which gave us Matindingoma and Chabvondoka. She went solo and dropped several great tunes.
One can never talk about hip-hop in Zimbabwe without mentioning David Chitate, Michael Sagomba and Tatenda Nziramasanga popularly known as Mariachi, MC Cut & Tatea Da MC respectively. The three microphone controllers owned and changed the game. In essence, the Zvidhori makers were a revolution. They made hits and redefined the street lingo. Such was the power of their music. Their magic was a product of their slick, fresh appeal cemented by unique wordsmith skills. Sadly the union did not last long despite several attempts to revive the group. However their smash hits remain intact and still serenade to date.