The Sunday Mail
ZIM hip-hop fans were early this month pleasantly surprised when Zvigaba.com, until recently a relatively unknown music distribution company, released a hip-hop compilation album featuring some of the top local acts.
The 16-track album “ZCollabs Volume 1 Album” was dropped on all major digital platforms.
It features amongst others the foxy Kikky Badass, Ti Gonzi, Holy 10, R Peels, Tashamiswa, Crooger and old foxes Stunner and Seke Mutema.
Oskid, DJ Tamuka and Gray Beats threw in their touch. Zim hip-hop has once again gained traction.
But what is causing this renewed interest? Our reporter Tendai Chara had a discussion with the brains behind Zvigaba.com, one of the forces solidly promoting the movement.
Q: Who is Zvigaba.com?
A: It is a company that was founded conceptually in the 90s by Ernest Mabika and Joseph Mufuka, who both attended Mazowe High School and were active in the school band.
In the early 2000s, they both relocated to the United States of America and gained experience by working in various capacities in the music industry.
In 2015, Zvigaba.com was formally registered as a music distribution company with the goal of marketing Zimbabwean music. Zvigaba Foundation (non-profit) was also established with the sole purpose of assisting artistes finance visuals.
Q: Are visuals the missing link in growing Zim hip-hop?
A: Often Zimbabwean musicians are able to record a great song but fall short of marketing the production because they cannot afford the cost to hire a music director for videos. Our foundation solicits donations to assist artistes with visuals. The name “Zvigaba” started as a joke and comes from the slang “Gaba”. When one says “Tora Gaba” they are saying “take a photo”. This became our mission. To visually showcase what the youths are singing.
Q: Why did you choose to work with the Zim hip-hop artistes and not other genres?
A: We decided to work with the Zim hip-hop singers because the genre is evolving and we want it to grow and dominate. We want to help develop a sound that is uniquely Zimbabwean. Zimdancehall is already getting enough attention with major chanters like Winky D aptly representing the genre. We believe local hip-hop is to reach its full capacity.
Q: What other projects are you involved in?
A: Our non-profit organisation, Zvigaba Foundation, has partnered with organisations such as Yett Trust in drug abuse awareness campaigns. We also offer free advice to local artists on topics like “monetisation” and “branding” so that they can actually make a living from music.
Q: What are some of your success stories?
A: Zvigaba is a very young company. Our biggest success has been the ability to partner with musicians to present hip-hop as a viable genre in Zimbabwe. With support from artistes like Ti Gonzi, Crooger, Kikky Badass and more, we were able to stream the “Rise of Zim hip-hop” concert during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the genre continues to grow with musicians like Voltz JT and Holy 10 proving that with proper organisation, a lot more is possible.
Q: Do you think Zim hip-hop has a bright future?
A: We absolutely believe that Zim hip-hop has a bright future. We have nowhere to go but up.