For a moment, I thought the 2013 to 2015 wave that brought us Few Kings, MMT, and the “Masofa Panze” version of Noble Styles was the cloud line that Zim Hip Hop could never transcend. With Ti Gonzi bagging the best male in 2020 and Holy Ten eating up everything in the digital sale plate this year I have had to rescind and pretty much admit that things could be getting better, way better than I thought they could for Zim Hip Hop.
By Lennon Mudzengerere
With Covid 19, lockdowns and everything else seemingly going from bad to worse the silver lining to the year for me has to be the strides that the Zim Hip Hop industry took in 2021. For a genre that was condemned to failure by most before its inception, it is amazing to see just how far Zim Hip Hop has gone over the past years.
If 2021 is, anything to go by then most will agree with me that 2021 was the year Zim Hip Hop became “numero uno”
A lot happened during the year and as most of us predicted the Hip Hop prodigy or more precisely the reigning “King of Zim Hip Hop”. Holy Ten did not fall off. If you disagree with the “king of Zim Hip Hop” notion, a bit of a refresher on the huge numbers that Holy Ten achieved this year might convince you otherwise.
Based on Spotify reviews, Holy Ten was the second most-streamed Zimbabwean artist only a few thousand views behind Jah Prayzah. With 1.4 million Spotify views in over 130 countries, there is no arguing on who is currently wearing that Hip Hop crown.
It was not any different on YouTube. As the year closes, the video to “Zviri Pa2” is only second to Winky D’s scorching release, “Happy Again”. If you already think Holy Ten’s 2021 was amazing, wait till we add the 2 Zim Hip Hop awards he won and the successful Ghana tour.
In terms of overall quality in both visual and audio productions, Zim Hip Hop certainly was in charge.
Top acts like Probeatz, Holy Ten, and Tanto Wavie released scorching albums, B.IG.U from Probeatz was everything and more. The album was well crafted and with a Crooger feature, you can be certain that it was scorching hot. The Risky Life album came a bit early in the year and we have to be honest, most people expected way better from the Leader of The Youth but it was a banger on the charts nonetheless. Hits like “Wakatuka Amai” and “Sahwira” certainly had crowds going crazy.
Then Tanto Wavie. I have always maintained that for me, Tanto Wavie has to be the hardest working artist in the Hip Hop game.
The “Sungura Museve” album was perfect. Trapsu as a sound is the future and Tanto Wavie made sure that the world realizes that in 2021. “007”, “Usaperere Pavanhu ava” and “insecurities” were some of the hardest-hitting tracks from the album based on the fan feedback and it was only just for the Chitown rapper cum producer to release a video for the smash hit, ”007”. Many exceptional albums came out this year; Konkrete Jungle by Crooger is also worth a mention. The fact that Jnr Brown blessed us with a single during the year is also amazing.
It can’t be a year of Zim Hip Hop without R Peels complaining about something.
The former “best male artist” had a lot to complain about through the year and he always kept the Zwitter streets alight with some jabs. The same goes for Mudiwa Hood. The only difference between the two though has to be that R Peels had some good music to back up his social media rants in the form of the Revelations album.
Kikky Badass also had a lot to show in 2021.
The fans cannot seem to get enough of the raunchy antics from the GZU rapper. Her video with Crooger had many tongues wagging and rightly so. The video had a lot of sensual sauce and divided opinions. The debate on whether showing skin is ethically and artistically right or not was ignited and we are going to be going on that on another day. In terms of the “romance” element of the ZHH sphere, it seems Noble Styles and Black Pearl couldn’t handle the gravity of love. The two megastars are reported to be hitting it off romantically and if it is true we might be getting ourselves a Zim Hip Hop power couple.
The biggest winner of the year 2021 has to be Voltz.
With the release of “Masinhi” around 2016, Voltz had shown a lot of potential but with the switch to drill in 2021, the Chitown artist exploded onto the mainstream music scene. For some years, it has been difficult for Hip Hop to penetrate the ghetto but with, “These Days”, Voltz managed not only to propel himself but the whole drill movement into the mainstream. The song had a lot of rotation and nearly every knows the lyrics to the song. The song was rightly named song of the year and other projects like “Howfar” with Holy Ten and the solo scorcher, “Muranda achaita king” ensured that Voltz was the biggest breakout artist of the year.
During the last quarter of the year, a genius by the name Saint Floew catapulted to the mainstream courteous of Samanyanga records, and well all we have to say is that Zimbabwe was not ready. “Gundamwenda” trended for nearly 6 weeks on pole position and “Under Pressure” also made a lot of rotation on both radio and social media.
If my predictions are right then 2022 will certainly be Saint Floew’s year.
With all these wins for the genre in 2021, it is said that we as a community experienced one of our biggest losses. Dodger managed to light up our Facebook walls with his humorous literary pen with every song review and his commentary on everything Zim Hip Hop. Sadly, he had to die in a year that was so amazing for the genre. The fact that there was not much of a tribute or in fact, any tribute at all at this year’s edition of the Zim Hip Awards for Dodger made it even worse. I know though that wherever he is Dodger is glad that Zim Hip Hop was big throughout the year and will only get bigger.
The legendary Dodger breathed his last in 2021 and the blogging, as well as the whole Zim hip Hop scene, was left scarred.
To sign off to a good year, for the most part, I would like to end with one of my favorite quotes from Donald “Dodger” Marindire,
“If reincarnation is real, I would want to come back as a rap song”Dodger