The music and videos dropping right now have the unenviable task of pulling the nation out of the post-election (and, honestly, post-Ronika) funk. Zimbabwean social media has been deathly serious and miserable all August, and the doctor has ordered nothing short of good vibes to switch up the mood.
By Shingirai Mavima, USA
Enter these two videos. Admittedly, I had intended to only review Terry Afrika’s Ndikokote, but upon seeing Jah Signal’s video for Sweetie (Shinga Muroora) and observing some thematic similarities between the two sets of visuals, I decided it may be worth killing two birds with one stone.
Despite the difference in genre, both songs are mischievous in their innuendos, and both videos center their love story in a rural home, joining a growing list of urban musicians who have recently found beauty in the edenic simplicity of kumusha (See KIller T, Pah Chihera, Tocky Vibes, Nox, Guspy Warrior… you get the drift), and I tip both to be definitive of the 2018 Urban Zim music scene
Ndikokote- Terry Afrika ft Xoxo
Terry Afrika is criminally underrated.
One of the best voices to emerge onto the limelight in recent years, he has not garnered the notoriety worthy of his talents.Take, for example, that, at the time of writing, Ndikokote has one twentieth of the views amassed by Sweetie, despite having near-identical videos and having come out a week earlier than the latter.
Perhaps it is his commitment to collaborating that mandates that he shares some of the shine (often with more established names), or perhaps it’s just a matter of time. Whatever the case may be, his sonic discography keeps growing- and growing well. His ExQ-assisted Torova Ngoma ought to be in the conversation about this generation’s patriotic anthems, Kangoma with Pah Chihera is easily on par with other boy/girl love anthems (think Pah Chihera & Prince Musarurwa, Jah Prayzah and Ammara etc), Muchinda is the motivational song you need to hear, and Sarura Wako– his biggest hit thus far- with Tocky Vibes and the aforementioned Pah Chihera is a genre-bending fun love anthem.
And now, Ndikokote…
The video successfully brings together a rural scene- complete with the traditional tropes of the man being the uncontested provider, the commitment to dressing disproportionately chic as a status symbol (crossbelts and all) and the occasional splurge on a 2 litre bottle of Sprite to share with your paramour- and the contemporary attitudes most represented by Xoxo’s character: equally as mischievous as the man, a confidence that is nothing like the “chew on a blade of grass” demeanor of yesteryear, and teasing she will leave him if he doesn’t come correct (albeit said in jest.)
As to the mischief I keep talking about: what exactly as “kukokota” a reference to? Tell me in the comments if you know.
Sweetie (Shinga Muroora): Jah Signal
Jah Signal is having a 2014 Tocky Vibes moment right now.
What is a 2014 Tocky Vibes moment? Glad you asked. Back in 2014, everything Tocky touched turned into gold. Mhai was arguably the biggest song of the year, Usakanda Mapfumo Pasi was the motivation we needed, and Tocky Aenda Nenyika was a well-earned braggadocio anthem. Since then, he has failed to set the world alight again (despite making some of his better music in recent years in my opinion). In a ZimDancehall scene where the likes of Winky D, Killer T and Freeman are the constant figureheads, every now and then, a star breaks through and shines as bright or brighter, even only for a short while.
While we hope Jah Signal’s star shines for years to come, let us delight in its brilliance at the present moment. After creating some buzz in recent years with tracks like Kuri Sei kuGhetto and the Boom Beto collabo Mairevei, 2018 has been a breakout year. Mubako has topped the Dancehall charts, and the impact of Sweetie has been seismic.
Unlike Ndikokote which essentially released the song and video simultaneously, Sweetie was already a hit over the past few months before Signal dropped the overdue video last week. The video, helped in part by the corruptible sing-along chorus as well as a tongue-in-cheek sampling of a popular Charles Charamba refrain, features social media personality Mai Titi playing the role of the wife. Also a fun and even more mischievous song, I anticipate that this video will carry the already-popular song to another level of notoriety, and hopefully catapult young Jah Signal to the next level of stardom.