Saul Musaka popularly known as Souljah Love remains undoubtedly my number one Zimdancehall artist! Yes! Chibaba ndomira nacho! Love him or hate him, doubt him or vilify him, Sauro has already made an indelible mark on the local music scene. A lyrical genius
NB: Kindly note the mix in language in the article. Some of the lines in Shona can not be easily translated to English whilst maintaining the context and literal meaning.
The bad boy of Zimdancehall, Jah Love is our own Vybz Kartel. He is to me the Bobby Brown, Tupac and Dennis Rodman of local music. His lyrical prowess is matched by very few, I called him a type of Tupac because Makuruwani is a poet, a lyricist.
No wonder the late icon Dr Oliver Mtukudzi when asked by former Star FM DJ Phatisani Sibanda who he can listen to amongst the new crop of young artists? Tuku was clear in his response, he singled out Tocky Vibes and Soul Jah Love, on Sauro he said “mumwe anotaura zvine musoro zvekuti dhu!, kungoti pamwe zvinozovharwa nehunhu hwake” Very true!
That’s where his magic lies. From tracks like Ndini uya uya, Zviri Pandiri Zvihombe, Dai Hupenyu Hwaitengwa, Kana Ndafa, Mwari Ndovatenda, Mwana waStembini, Murwe Wepfungwa, Ndakuda Kudzikamisa Hana and Mwari Vauye Padhuze, you can clearly hear that the man is singing about what he knows and understands, his own life story.
On Dzimba Idzo Pazai, he lamented the demolition of the house he had built and his pain can be felt in the song. Another part of his life that he has not been shy to talk about is his marriage with fellow Zimdancehall chanter Bounty Lisa and his failure to have children an issue he addresses on the song Zviri Pandiri Zvihombe and his November 2020 song Muchaikudubura Mbiya.His reputation though and his drug abuse are his undoing.
I do not know what it is about these talented guys, their lives are always dogged by controversy. That aside, their art is infectious and you can not ignore them. As for Sauro, if Zimbabwe had an urban dictionary or even if there was an update on Tsumo dzechiShona, lines from his songs “Tovadyira bhonzo nekuwonda kudai, tinongo mira pamomonya ipapo” or “mind your hokoso, mind your turusu” would without a doubt be included.
His signature chants have evolved too with time. From Full Bar and catering, Counquering (pronounced Kangaring), Hauite, Hauite, Chibababababa, Mafundan’a, Television Ting, High Definition, Chigunduru gunduru, Makuruwani to the current Ngwendeza! With those chants too has come many hit songs, from Ndongosimudza musoro “Gum Kum” in 2012 on the Zimbo Flavour Riddim, to Ndine Musindo, Pamomonya Ipapo, Vamwe Vari kuti Ndakatenga Gun, Magetsi, Hove Huru, Yeke Yeke, Mind Your Turusi, Naka Dhula Dhaka, Handichabatika, Kuponda Nhamo, Makonzo, zvandinomudira, Ndofirapo, Zvauri, Back to Sender and one of my personal favorites Simango, Mhofu kana Chirandu (thats obvious right?) And who can forget 4 4 2 Formation and John Terry? The list is endless.
A song that Sauro showed how quick thinking he is on his feet is Zvinhu a reply to a diss by former Zanu PF national youth commissar Innocent Hamandishe, after being told “hausi chinhu” you’re nothing, Sauro refused to take it hitting back a few days with the track saying “Soul Jah Love haasi chinhu, ZVINHU!”Chibaba has featured on some very exciting collaborations too and on top of that pile for me is Hatichabatika with Shinsoman, one of the biggest Collabos which i think we slept one is Magafa with Winky D, Vakorinde with Tocky Vibes is another good one.
Then there is Ma1 Atanga with Kinnah and Seh Calaz, one song that defines Zimdancehall, There is also African girl with Trevor Dongo and Zambian Shyman Shaiz, Zuva with Nutty O, Muridzo with Ba Shupi, Mari Mari with Queen Vee and of course Suluman Chimbetu’s Nyuchi and many more.
One unique thing about Jah Love is his unapologetic way he does things, he is one artist who has done something that many other artists have tried and paid for dearly. Supporting the ruling party ZANU PF. No one has ever brought this up and I doubt it will affect him, he has sung at the rallies and even sang songs in praise of the liberation War party. Many got burnt from trying to cross the divide from “G40” to “Lacoste” but with Songs like Happy Birthday Baba Mugabe and Garwe where he praises former party Chairman Godfrey Gomwe, retired army General and VP Chiwenga and of course the President ED Mnangagwa, Soul Jah Love has managed that feat. How?
Nobody knows and frankly his legion of fans we do not care.It’s either you love him or you don’t, either you appreciate him or you don’t and it’s either you understand him or you don’t.
His latest offering Simudza Gumbo produced by Oskid Productions and video shot by Studio Art Pictures (SAP) is are pure refined gem. Clad in designer suit, playing a piano and supported by a bevy of beauties, a bootylicious vixen and two amazing contemporary dancers.
The Passion Java Records supported project paints a new bright picture for the serial hitmaker. The images are refreshingly awesome and the concept thought outside of the box .
That is Saul Musaka for you, Controversial, unapologetic, unbothered and hokoso minding!
Writer: Marshall Shonhai
A music critic, writer, citizen activist, events planner and thought leader.