And just like that, we find ourselves in the throes of summer again! On one hand, 2020 has been an incredibly long year, whose ups and downs have been unprecedented. On the other, because much of it was spent indoors, it may yet appear that we have circled back to the last time the world was normal without much having happened in between.
By Shingi Mavima, Michigan USA
Over the years, there are bonafide staples of the season that we need no reminding of: from ‘Mugove’ and ‘Tenda’, to ‘Disappear’ and ‘Ngaibake’ in more recent years: this isn’t their list.
As the world flatters to open up again, and it looks like Zimbabweans may yet have the semblance of a summer, we decided to roll back the years and remind you of urban songs created with the summer (and summer-esque shenanigans) in mind: some that went under the radar when they come out and others that have fallen off the public’s consciousness as the years have passed.
*In case this needs mentioning, these aren’t ranked, and this is purely the authors’ vibes and opinion. Hopefully they just bring back memories and even remind you of yesteryear tunes you enjoyed. Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section*
- Xiomara ft Jaybone- Summerparty
Now here’s one I’m sure would be in the ‘forgotten’ category.
The late 1990s/Early 2000s saw the emergence of several camps making waves in the nascent Urban Grooves movement. Prominent among these was MOVIP entertainment. While mostly remembered for such hits as ‘Any Minute’ and for the hip hop swag of Baby Biggie and Jaybone, it is the jam ‘Summertime’ by RnB songstress Xiomara we are here for today.
Giving off 1990s chilled RnB vibes, the song holds up perfectly two decades later, which is not something that can be said for all early Urban Grooves.
(Uploaded to FB just two years ago, the song is sitting at a lowly <800 spins on YouTube; let’s get it onto our playlists this summer and bump it up!)
- Major Playaz- Shake Umzimba Wako
So confession: I came here to put Came to Party on this list, which itself boasted an iconic Urban Grooves video, breaking onto the regional scene. As I did my research, however, i was reminded of an even earlier summer bop from the three fellas, ‘Shake Umzimba Wakho’ (S/o to Twimbo Central), and seeing as I hadn’t had other Step-aside/Galaxy songs on this list- and such is foul for an Urban grooves curation- we would use that one instead.
Y’all remember Major Playaz? They were here for but a brief moment, then they were not. But they rocked. Let’s bring them back this summer!
- Tehn Diamond ft Jr. Brown-Happy
If you had your ear to the ground in the early to mid 2010s, you know that Junior Brown/Tehn Diamond combo (eventually branded Few Kings, together with Take Fizzle) was nothing to mess with! The gritty street-ness of Brown complemented the mellifluous uptown cadence of Ngoda. This cocktail of harmonies came together perfectly on the laid back party anthem, ‘Happy.’
And while we’re at it, a true 2020 Shout out to Tehn (Tendai Nguni) on his starring role in Netflix’s “The Cook-Off” movie!
- Blush ft Shayne Ndingz & Diana- Bum Jive
For a few years after the demise of Galaxy Records, Chamhembe reigned supreme. Then, in 2004 the camp split, with TBA taking with him half the artists. Enter the Chigutiro movement, complete with an inbuilt narrative to rival Take Five and the rest of the fam. The studio announced their arrival on the scene with the release of Chigutiro,a Chamhembe-esq compilation, complete with a stylized cover graphic in a similar vein to the latter.
“Bum Jive’ was quite possibly the standout song of the project. With Blush, Diana, and Shayne Dingz showing out, we had reason to be hype for the movement. Vibe with it.
- Tytan, Dboi & Sparxx: Ndiwayinire (NDWYNR)
List this in the “went under the radar” column.
Before he became tabloid fodder, some will forget that Tytan was a real bright spark in the industry, blending soulful singing with some pretty decent bars. Sandwiched between the Ammara-assisted juggernaut hit ‘Mukoko’ and the brilliantly choreographed ‘Bho’, NDWYNR featured the Mutare duo, Diamond Boyz (or Dboi and Sparxx) of Energy fame, and frankly went hard!
It also features the incredibly witty irreverent bar, “we shut the hotel down like Phelekezela Mphoko…”Haha.
- Winky D- Ninja Saturday
The Johnny-Come-Lately fan probably knows Winky D as the indomitable conscious voice of the pending revolution, tinged with witticisms and the occasional party anthem.
But way back when, before he was the Extraterrestrial Gaffa, Winky was the bhachi-and-jean rocking Ninja president renowned for his party anthems. One such was 2011’s NInja Saturday.
- Party Yatanga- MMT
Now in the early 2010s, while Tehn Diamond and em were squaded up on one side, their natural ‘rivals’ (if you will) were the three-man collective known as MMT (Mariachi, MC Cut, Tatea Da MC.) For a few years, their star shone brighter than most, culminating in the Zvidhori (and Zvidhori Rmx) anthems that shook the place.
But the entry in this list is 2014’s ‘Party Yatanga.’ The beat, the flow, and camaraderie captured both the Zim and the global party vibe of the era. Also, these opening bars from Tatea:
“Ini Party yangu yatanga masikati/
Kuti Tatea ndookuti Party
Bring us some drank nemabhebhi toita party
Call it musangano, kunge party!” (the cadence is so much fun when you listen to it!)
- Tererai ft Reckless-KuChamhembe
I know I said there weren’t any Chamhembe songs on the list; I was wrong. THE Chamhembe song had to make it on here.
Sure, it doubles as a love song (and I purposely avoided those for the purposes of this list), but is also a laid back, sail-away type of tune. If you prefer a beach side post-up as opposed to a party over the summer, you may want to bring back Tererai ft Reckless for this one.
- Asaph- The Vibe is Correct (V.I.C)
We are into the rule-breaking section of the list now. Up until now, yesteryear has meant at least pre-2015. This track from literal yesteryear (2019) makes it not only because it’s a stellar song, but because it gives off early 90s Hip-hop vibes. It’s another laid-back vibe and, for my money, represents Asaph at his best.
(also, shout out to Asaph for taking home the “Best Verse’ award at the recent Zim Hip Hop Awards!)
- Chinx & Ilanga- Zvikomborero
It doesn;t get more yesteryear than this: shout out to the progenitors of the post-independence urban sound: the band Ilanga. The group was not only laden with the optimistic vibes of the era, but was multi-ethnic and multiracial, representing the essence of the imagined Zim national project at the time.
This Cde Chinx-led anthem is a throwback to a hopeful young Zimbabwe, and the visuals are certain to evoke warm memories among people of a certain age.
There you have it folks: ten yesteryear urban songs that THIS writer recommends adding to your summer playlist. What are some that you would recommend?