The urban grooves generation is often criticized by Hip-hop purists in Zimbabwe, despite the fact that it was more effective and popular than current Zim Hip-hop in a time when it mostly relied on traditional media. We all know how picky traditional media is yet even then you can probably count more “urban grooves” era artists that made an impact than Zim Hip-hop artists.
Mind you Zim Hip-hop emerged at a time when a larger population now had access to more affordable internet and did not need the help of traditional media to reach the people.
Some may argue that the digital age came with more competition, but the juxtaposing of Zim Dancehall success easily debunks that narrative.
In this article I intend to talk about one major urban grooves strategy Zim Hip-hop can learn from.
It is a strategy that allows artists to
#1. Give their best effort.
#2. Expose each other to each other’s audience.
I know you are guessing, “He’s telling us about features.”
Well kind of but not exactly.
I am not talking about features in the sense of “Giving one verse to your buddie on your song” I am talking about features in the form of CO-ORDINATED MASS COLLABORATION and I am about to give away blocks that can help you formulate a strategy of your own.
What is CO-ORDINATED MASS COLLABORATION?
- Compilation Albums – There are not very many mass compilations in Zim Hip-hop at the moment. Individualism is okay, but it works better when the collective industry is already doing well. Unity and communion is required more in a struggling niche.
In their day Chamhembe and Chigutiro were compilation albums from different camps which allowed us to know many different artists at the same time, including comedians that got a chance to lay some skits in between.
It is not too late for Hip-hop artistes that get along to organize themselves perhaps in groups of 12 to produce singles.
They can even get Zim Comedy people that love Hip-hop to do the skits.
I do know G-Records once did one big one which included Sharky, Savage and Kidd Aktive among others. Fun F also worked on something DJ Khaled Style.
Right now I believe we need a lot of that coming from different camps. At least that way I can get one big ZIP file where I get to pick new artists.
It’s always daunting and Risky to download 170.6MB of one artist you have never heard, who is dropping a 24 track album.
However, 12 artists you don’t know to drop a 24 track album makes a listener think, “They can’t all be bad, so let me invest my time and data.”
- Collaborative Shows
Instead of educated artists waiting for people who do not know much about Hip-hop to create shows they have to beg to be part of. They can organize themselves and create risk management frameworks that allow them to combine finds and be able to do shows.
This is not at all hard, the comedians have been doing it for years through Simuka Comedy. It’s many times that I have seen Posters of Kadem The Comic, King Kandoro, Tinaye and others. They began at Small Venues like Gaby’s and as they grow they have been moving into bigger spaces.
Urban Groovers did the same so wake up Zim Hip-hop there is no excuse. Yes it is not easy to run such structures, let alone find a team that still responds to group messages a bit later. Hence I recommend physical meetings.
No whatsapp groups! They are a waste of time.
Again I love how G-Records Team , Mariachi, Anonzi Xndr, Krimz and other entities once gave that idea a test run through “Can You Kick It?”. Mashoko and The Circle as well were effective.
As I said, these are not my own ideas, but ideas I have observed.
- Collaborative Online Platforms
If an individual artiste can launch a good website what stops a collective of minds that claim to be creative from going beyond that. See that’s why I am writing for Ear Ground, to bring traffic to one place as opposed to fighting for traffic when we are for the same cause.
Facebook Passion Pages, Groups and websites that have no bias towards any camp can be established to bring the traffic to one place.
What is a passion page?
A passion page by my definition: A page whose focus is broadly on a certain niche or industry and is no way biased to one brand, personality or group.
A passion a page on Soccer would probably post content on various footballers across wide spectra of teams with little or no bias. It would be different from a Manchester United or Arsenal page.
See a Manchester United fan page is mostly liked by Manchester United fans (well except the few non-fans that like it to troll or spy). A soccer passion page, in contrast, benefits traffic across different teams, so it has the potential to harness more traffic because its traffic from all teams combined.
Apply the same logic to a page about Zim Hip-hop or even be naughty enough to make it about both Hip-hop and dancehall in case you intercept that Killer T and Enzo Ishall audience.
Why must I work with others?
Humanity has always progressed that way through managing that and avoiding corruption and so forth, of course, is always a risk. However with good risk management policies and not having one person to lead it too long we can effectively creating little Hip-hop “governments” that facilitate the fair exposure of those who work the hardest in the culture.
Think about we use roads and water supply systems that we all collectively fund through various taxes and bills. It doesn’t really kill our individualism.
We still enjoy the freedom to use the roads, the water, and electricity the way we want it. Paying or working for it collectively does not mean that we are now traveling to the same places.
It simply means we have facilitated collectively, our ability to move up to where we want to go from there
The Other Major Thing To Learn From Urban Grooves
After we study the successful come up we also must research into why that structure fell apart. At present, I have no ideas on why that fell at some point but I am excited to hear it from you the readers so that we can contemplate the answers.
Others might say, after urban groovers collectively built their own roads, they decided to each use them in their separate ways but forgot to come back and service them.
If you keep scrolling under this post, there is a comment section you can make use of which I will be checking to replies directly.
If we do not already follow each other check me out on Twitter @Mcpotar and feel free to request a follow back because if you read up to here I want to read your tweets too.
Mcpotar is an award winning infopreneur (ZHHA 2014) , 2D animator, Hip-hop artist and published author from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. My website: http://www.mcpotar.com