The Sunday Mail
HAVING started the year on a high with “Madirirano Riddim”, “Panomhanya Munhu Riddim” and the epic “Gombwe” album launch, the heavens continue to smile on Zim dancehall.
As Winky D sang, “Dzika dzika ngirozi…dzika tiwanire nyasha” — it appears grace has been poured on Zimbabwe’s chanters.
Headlining the charge is the award-winning Killer T, who on April 6 will launch his third album, “Mashoko Anopfuura” at Club 1+1 Happy at Harare’s Longcheng Plaza.
“We were supposed to release this album last year but after we realised that many artistes had unleashed albums in that year and others were releasing at the same time as we wanted to, we decided to postpone our project to 2018,” said Killer T’s manager Kudzai Biston, aka Supa.
“Another factor that caused us to delay the album were the singles we released. We wanted to give them time to be heard by the fans and not just load the market with content lest fans missed some of the songs in the process.”
Supa said “Mashoko Anopfuura” had 15 tracks.
“The main message on this offering is that bad words will pass hence the title ‘Mashoko Anopfuura’. In life, people might say negative stuff but these words pass. What remains is you and your objectives and it is critical to ensure that you do not hold on to the negative sentiments — let them pass.
“As usual we worked with a number of producers on this project. Some of them include Aya T, PTK, Oskid, and DJ Tamuka just to name a few. Most probably Munya Viyali will be roped in considering the impact his track had on the last album. I can confirm that indeed we have a collaboration with Jah Prayzah on this upcoming album. So it’s a loaded package.”
The choice of venue for the launch has been seen some Killer T fans saying he had abandoned “Mbare Massive” and he was no longer their “Chairman”.
“We are not dumping the ghetto youths by not using the Mbare Netball Complex and moving to Club 1+1,” explained Supa. “Killer T as a brand has grown and no longer just appeals to ghetto youths but uptown folks too. So we are seeing Club 1+1 as a neutral venue where all fans can converge and be comfortable as we launch the album.
“We are also doing this as a message to the ghetto youths. They have to know that there is life beyond the ghetto and must aspire to rise and blossom outside the ghetto.”
Poor videos, however, have not done Zim dancehall any good.
Killer T’s own chart-topping “Bvunza Tinzwe” had an underwhelming video.
“I cannot say much at this moment with regards to videos we are making as we want it to be a surprise to the fans. What I can reveal is that the videos will be released earlier as than in the past,” said Supa.
Another sour point has been that the big in Zim dancehall no longer use popular riddims as much as they did in their early days.
Some have said veterans are afraid of competing with younger upstarts on riddims.
Prominent producer Levels, who is behind the trending riddim “Panomhanya Munhu”, said: “Most senior dancehall acts are now focusing on producing albums because they fear the upcoming youngsters.
“Vakuru varikuziva kuti vapfanha vechidiki ava vane moto (the big guns know that these youngsters are on fire). There is nothing wrong with people dropping albums but if you check in Jamaica, the likes of Movado and Vybes Kartel still feature on riddims despite having dropped albums.
“Manje madhara mazhinji emuno arikutya (but seasoned local dancehall acts are petrified) so they hide behind the albums.”
But Killer T’s manager thinks differently on the matter.
“I would want to disagree with the idea that we are afraid to feature on riddims. For us the time to be competing at that level has passed. We are now at a position where we are using other strategies to develop our brand. We did benefit a lot from the riddims years ago but we believe we need to slow down on that for now.
“However, if we feel that a certain riddim works for our good and grows our brand, we will definitely feature. Strategies change and this is the path we have chosen.”