Chronicles of ExQ’s two decades of consistency and not stopping

ExQ is short for Exquisite, how many of you knew that?

I smiled yesterday when I noticed earGROUND mentioning that Exq’s breakaway hit Salala (ndiri musalala) is now twenty (20) years old. Yes folks, two whole decades ago is when Mr Putiti rose to stardom with that hit song, though he had been in the game since the year 1996. Exq Baba came from the golden generation of a revolutionary sound we christianed Urban Grooves. A movement that was born out of Central Government’s 75% local music content on both radio and television.

By Marshall Shonhai | Opinion

Last week as I compiled what I called The Urban Grooves 100 for my #RetroThursday, my personal favorite one hundred songs from that era, I couldn’t help but notice how this guy has been around for so many years and thought I should write a tribute to one of the finest of our generation. Earlier I said I smiled when I saw the earground post, I smiled because it simply confirmed that right now was the correct time to honor a legend amongst us.

One word comes to mind when one looks at his musical journey and that word is CONSISTENCY. I call him Mr Consistency because where 90% of his contemporaries in the urban grooves era have sunk into oblivion, ExQ has refused to backdown and has constantly and consistently reinvented himself and keeps giving us hit after hit.

When a new wave came through after a solid decade of urban grooves monopoly, a wave that swept off stage and off the airwaves many big names. He did not get swept off, when Zimdancehall took over the streets and the airwaves. He instead rode that wave and remained relevant, he in fact claimed his stack in that movement and gave us some of the biggest number 1 hits of recent times.


He teamed up with Killer T and gave us Nhema, from that he went into the studio again with Freeman and gave us Nzenza, as if that was not enough, he gave us another monster hit alongside another Zimdancehall artist Tocky Vibes, the song Wakatemba. He has also gone on to collaborate with Nutty O, Enzo Ishall amongst other Zimdancehall artists.

For those who have been following him over the last 20 years, they will know that this is his undeniable super power. Who in the Zimbabwean music industry has so many collaborations that went on to become hits? From back then, he always came up with the right chemistry alongside many other artists.

One such artist is Roki, the music Exq did ft Roki, will forever remain classic, the two make an amazing duo and its surprising that they have denied us another hit in recent times. Back then everything they put their voices on turned to gold. Some of the songs they have given us over the years include Hauchambofona, Alleluyah, The Way amongst many other’s. Other big collaborations from back include songs like Pandakakuwona ft the duo Shane and Nathan of the Aripo fame and Mazirudo.

Exq was also amongst the very first new generation artists to collaborate with the late great Dr Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi on the song Pane Rudo. Other notable collaborations of the years include;

Bhachura ft Ammara

Lights off ft Gemma

Pahukama ft Jah Prayzah

Zuva Rese ft Ti Gonzi

Bvuma ft Tanga wekwa Sando

He has also been featured on many other artists music as well. Again I ask, is there another artist in Zimbabwe with more features?

Just before you think all he does are collabos, ExQ has given us so much music on his own and some of the songs that quickly come to mind are; Tsvigiri, Misikanzwa, Paya paya. If you want to understand the whole journey I suggest you look for the album Lost tapes to experience Mr Putiti’s early years.

With several albums under his belt, Exquisite (2005)Love is my Religion (2007) Grown and Sexy (2008) Mr Urban Grooves (2012) Mr Putiti, Tseu Tseu (2018), Lost Tapes (2020) and the more recent Verified Milestone (2021), Enock Munhenga is a true definition of resilience, a true survivor. The Zimbabwean musical landscape can be very treacherous, ever changing and unpredictable. For an artist to last this long and to remain relevant is nothing short of a miracle.

The music industry has paid attention and Mr Putiti has been recognized for his work by being nominated and winning a number of local music awards, some of them include; Best video of the year for his song “Ndichakutevera” National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA)2005. Best Afro-pop award Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) 2014

2019 remains his biggest year where he took home five awards in the following categories: Best Afro Pop Song (Nzenza), Best Collaboration (Nzenza ft Freeman), Best Male Artist, Best Album (Tseu Tseu) and Most Played Song (Nzenza) at the Star FM Music Awards.

Outstanding Male Musician NAMA 2019

Outstanding Album (Tseu Tseu) NAMA 2019

BEST AFRICAN POP SONG – Nezvangu (musoro bhangu) StarFm listeners choice awards 2022

Another huge accolade and recognition came at the 4th edition if the Star FM Music awards which coincided with the station’s 10th anniversary. 10 Star Music Brands were honoured, these are artists that have grown with Star FM since the station launched in 2012. Exq was amongst those 10 artists.

Best Afro-pop – ZIMA awards 2022

Ladies and gentlemen, a standing ovation please for Mr Consistency.


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