Lately there has been a war of words from the Helmet Movement towards DJ Mbale following the later’s assessment of the Helmet Movement; with some Helmet Movement loyalists resorting to insults.
By The Connect zw & earGROUND (Plot Mhako)
What are the Helmets? Is it the same with Zimdancehall or a new offshoot? Whats the connection to the original Jamaican Dancehall? Is there a hope for the movement?
To get an answer on this we asked one of the most prominent artists promoting the music style Dashocca had this to say, “I’m of the view that “Helmet” genre which literally is authentic dancehall; has been around and vybing since the days of the late Jah Billiard in the early 90s and nothing has changed apart from the “nick name” helmets. I pray that all new comers who view/think “Helmet” is some type of our own homemade genre we created here in Zimbabwe would soon come to realize that it’s just dancehall with straight English / Patois lyrics anyone who is literate can comprehend given the time and ears.”
Here are three comments from a Facebook conversation by Plot Mhako a year ago
RudeBoi DjDuse Lxg “Helmet is the definition of Hardcore Dancehall & that existed way b4 Zim Dancehall was created. The inability to make proper Reggae / dancehall rhythms is what made them re-create their own sub-genre & name it Zim Dancehall. Helmet artists continued to write n voice Jamaican produced rhythms hence maintaining an underground appeal n failed to breakthrough mainstream platforms. Only now, over time the HELMET artists have managed to master their craft and have gained support from local HELMET producers creating a unified force which is forcing the streets to take note of the once undermined HELMET ARTISTS. We have just mastered our craft over time to create a better sound than the once overrated ZimJunkhall artists.”
Mac Rollex Dasoundaddict “Helmet it’s hardcore also international we have Sprag Docious Jamaican based in London who is supporting Helmet also Dwyno from Jamaica and plenty artist from different countries who are supporting Helmet Riddim so helmet is the real thing.never had any artist from another country who do Zimdancehall.so mi say Zimdancehall is short and wrong cuts”
Some of the notable Helmets artists include Spragdocious, Dashocca, Jahnoz, Eyetal Fyah, Mr Syncleer, I Ratty Mwanawambo
In a quick interview with music promoter Dollarbill of Dollarbill entertainment who recently organised a concert for the Helmets movement, he expressed faith in the genre saying, “Yes there is huge future. I actually feel. Their music is more sellable than ma Zimdancehall. Their have a wider relation internationally. The genre need a push”.
For the record DJ Mbale is entitled to his personal opinion and the Helmet Movement likewise should know this. Besides DJ Mbale offered constructive criticism and if the Helmet Movement is serious about growth then they should welcome constructive criticism with pleasure.
For the benefit of all Dj Mbale’s crime and biggest undoing was to highlight things which all radio callers on the night concurred with and these are:
1. The Helmet Movement needs to find ways to reach a wider audience as most Zimbabweans are not familiar with Jamaican Patois.
2. Most Helmet Artists need to be original instead of imitating voices of renowned Jamaican Artists. A Popcaan wanna be Artist can never outshine the real Popcaan.
3. Helmet Movement Artists may also need to fuse in Shona Language in some of thei songs. This will help to grow their brands locally.
4. Helmet Movement as long as they wanna plagarise Jamaican Dancehall then chances of greater heights are almost zero. Its the Juntau Rhumba case. Juntau will never be bigger than Olomide or Werrason.
5. Jamaican Artists the likes of Buju, Capleton etc are desisting from the hard core Jamaican Lingua. They are trying hard to ensure they speak in more audible better English to bring in wider Audiences. That is Communication!! People need to hear you.
6. Commercialise the Helmet Movement and make Money in the Process. Even in Jamaica there is more commercial music. Helmet Movement should realise this.
7. Today which Helmet Movement Artist can go to Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and hold a successful show. Do they want to remain Downtown Nite Club Artists; With 25 Artists on One Poster perfoming for 300 people??
At the recent ZimDancehall Summit one of the panelists, US based Jamaican Producer Canute Neil Ellis “When u have a sound or melody & the world doesnt have it, stick with it & be confident about it. The world will soon embrace”
Is it too early for us to be asking these questions? Food for thought as the sound thickens. The Helmet Movement continues.