Leon Mutembedza: Raises the bar, drops a socially provocative track

Hip-hop has always been a powerful tool for social commentary, protest, and change across the globe, Zimbabwe is no exception. We have had an iconic figure in every generation to represent that, whether it was the undisputable lyricist, King Pinn or his under-studies.

By Mcpotar

For this generation it’s an intellectual emcee known as  Leon Mutembedza, who prefers to be identified as a Christian hip-hop artist. Having been raised in Zimbabwe, did all the right things a young man can do, including working on his education to earn a degree.

The next intellectual thing was to utilise his diction and cadence to highlight the struggles of a majority that has faced common struggles.  Lee, as his family calls him has become a messenger of social justice in his home country.

Recently, Mutembedza released a song called “Judas and The Black Messiah,” which interestingly came at a time when another young rapper, Holy Ten, has come under fire for switching sides with a people he once purported to represent. 

Holy Ten rose to fame with his socially conscious track titled “Ndaremerwa,” when the Zimbabwean Lives matter hashtag went viral. Yet sadly in recent times he has been criticised for allegedly distancing himself from the same message.

He was recently part of a  socially conscious song called “Ibotso” by Winky D, which attacked the perpetrators of high corruption in the country. Holy Ten then several times expressed regret for participating in the song and implied that he was trapped into it.

Although the song did not mention any political parties, many analysts claimed it was against whoever took offence. After-all the song is about social justice, which is something we would expect any patriotic citizen to be on board with.

Whilst Lee has not directed the song at anyone specifically. Wen listening to “Judas and The Black Messiah,” you cannot help but deduce the meaning in relation to  the criticism Holy Ten faces. Hip-hop is fun, because it is always clad in allegory and such. The literal devices do the job.

I guess Holy ten is not the only “laywer” minded person in the genre.

For context Holy Ten inaugurated himself a few years ago as  the leader of the youth. To play devils advocate I will say, “Well he did not mention with youth”.

The counter-argument is that Mujaya gained popularity by doing social commentary similar to that of “Ibotso.” As such why would “Ibotso” is political, so is “ndaremerwa”.

Now let’s keep it clear that this is still a work of creativity by Mr. Mutembedza which he himself did not give such interpretations to. It is his freedom of expression just as all Holy Ten’s songs are.

Mutembedza challenges other Zimbabwean hip-hop artists to consider where their funding is coming from and not to accept money from the real trouble causers. As such anyone who is on the right side of things should be happy to share it.

His song ends with the caption “NOT MY LEADER,” which we assume is implying that his leader as part of the youth, can not possibly be a sell out of the struggle.

Through his music, Mutembedza is not only speaking out against corruption and oppression in society but is also encouraging other artists to use their platform to do the same. He believes that music can be a powerful tool for change and that artists have a responsibility to use their platform to speak out about social justice issues.

His song may not necessarily be about home, but it speaks of a place where  freedom aof speech is promised, but the outcomes are not guaranteed.



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