There are not many artistic platforms in Zimbabwe that have survived the past decade and defied the very volatile economic situation, lack of funding, criticism like the Zim Hip Hop Awards have done. Salute!
By Plot Mhako, Germany
I vividly recall the first edition, i remember meeting Aldrian Harrison through Tatea Da MC, alongside was KK, Tendai C Tanga and Dj Phatbeatz.
I dint have an office so as the ZHHA team and we constantly bumped into each other at the same spot, the internet cafe just behind NSSA building. What struck my attention was the zeal and the determination Beefy and the team had. He had a strong desire to see the growth of local hip hop and see it fly the international radar.
Years later some faces varnished but one amazing thing, he still stands. Nothing is as inspiring as a man with a vision, one who stops at nothing to make that dream come to reality.
A vision to celebrate, appreciate and reward Zimbabwean Hip Hop cats who were putting in work in various niches in the game.
Like any growing enterprise, setbacks were plenty but the wins were also very much apparent. As the Zim Hip Hop Awards edge closer and closer to a decade it is crucial to retrospect and catch up with the Chairman of the Zim Hip Hop Awards Academy.
“When we started out the thinking was to create and bring the actual hip hop culture to life by appreciating the work put in by artists in the genre. Along the way we faced some challenges chief among them being finance.”
Having had to self finance the awards from his pocket, Beefy as he is affectionately known deserves the biggest Zim Hip Hop Award.
Through consistency, more sponsors started warming up to hip hop and culture in general.
“I believe things have really changed, sponsors are now seing the value of the artists and our annual awards showcase.”
Like most awards, the ZHHA awards have endured some controversy too but Beefy is confident that the 9th edition will be much different.
“The major diffrence this year is that we are more organized and the brand is continuously growing with transparency being a benchmark of how we handle business. We have also taken both negative and positive criticism while doing our best to exercise better practices and correct past mistakes.”
“Currently, the game is about to blow up!” he quipped.
“People may not see it but hip hop has become the only export quality genre in Zimbabwe . I predicted this some years ago but now it is becoming a reality.”
“In 2020 hip hop in Zimbabwe will be one of the most dominant genres.”
“The future is very certain, with more money, less problems, more hip hop stars!”
With a regional tour to South Africa Zambia, Botswana in February courtesy of the Hip Hop Development Fund, Harrison believes that Zim hip hop is headed to greater heights chiefly because the artists are phenomenal.
This Friday the 13th all roads will be leading to the Wood Sensation (formerly 1+1) for the ultimate annual hip hop show of the year. Some of the biggest highlights this year include a line up of leading female MCs such as Natasha Muz, Kikky Badass and Phreshy who will also perform on the night. Ti Gonzi and King 98 are some of the major contenders this year running up for several awards.
King 98 has been touring the whole year, gracing some of the biggest stages and also collaborating with international giants like Davido and Nasty C.
Like always, the internet will be jammed as winners celebrate and those who fail to win trashing the show but the important thing its all part of the culture and hip hop in Zimbabwe is on growth.