Image credit: Plot Mhako
COMMENTARY

Zim Hip Hop Summit: Is Progress A Must?

#ZimHipHop

The inaugural Zim Hip Hop Summit ended in Harare on Saturday with attendees coming up with various unified plans for the Zimbabwean hip-hop industry as it moves forward.

The one-day summit drew together a striking panel of well-known internationally acclaimed and locally respected industry insiders and enthusiasts to dialogue. In toto, they conversed and educated each other on the state of hip-hop, its business side, unity, lyricism, freedom of speech, responsible life and professional skills and the use of new media in building brands and following.

Begotten Sun, ProBeatz, Karizma and Zaza leading a panel at the Summit (Image Credit: Plot Mhako)

On the state of hip-hop, the majority agreed that artists are not working as they supposed to be. One of the panelists Cal_Vin shared that ‘hip hop has just become so easy’, that artists tend to neglect the hustle side of their craft, and that there is no passion in the music anymore.
Munetsi, addressing the same issue said,

‘(hip hop)It hasn’t moved. We do not have the Culture , we’ve rappers. There is no culture , so we cant relate.

The question of the absence of culture was therefore introspected, and consensus had it that artists are not talking to the people. So it was therefore concluded that until they have their sound, content and mediums right, the problem will remain unsolved.

Sitting on the business side of hip-hop panel, South African entrepreneur and veteran rapper, ‘Slikour’ urged artists to stop giving traditional mass media like radio so much power and that they should make use of the new media. He went on to say that ‘the problem with many black Africans is that we run so much to disconnect,’ so it is important that we reconnect and create an ecosystem that works in our favour. He also encouraged the hip ho[p community to document their culture and pass it over, which he emphasised is generational wealth.

PR/journalist and radio presenter Zaza responding to the question of the radio”s tendency of “narrowcasting’ and preventing a diverse range of hip-hop artists from getting airplay and attention said that the radio comes with regulations and commercial agendas, which some of the artists do not meet.

A light moment during the proceedings (Image Credit: Plot Mhako)

 

CBZ Holdings representative said that it is their plight as a financial institution to help artists achieve financial freedom. He went on to reveal that they have partnered with beatboxer Probeatz in some of their entrepreneurial programmes and that they are willing to start a hip-hop mentoring programme, which would attempt to help with the career development of rap artists who sometimes lead chaotic personal and professional lives.

The final panel which covered lyricism, freedom of speech and conflict greatly enlightened on how artists can use their work of art as a vehicle for social and political change. Raphael Tudesco from Brasil told the auditorium that it is essential for artists to create truthful art. According to him, it doesn’t matter which side of the hemisphere you’re from, ‘everybody gotta have some truth.’

From the general flow, burgeoning artist Griffin reiterated the age-old adage that,

Freedom of expression is here in Zimbabwe, but  freedom of expression is not guaranteed.’

In that light, ZIFM Stereo’s PD The Ghost finally suggests that artists should find a smart way of addressing sensitive issues that are likely to render them in jeopardy.

Now that the summit has happened, then the question is, what’s the way forward? Where do we go from now? Are our artists going to put the knowledge they received in use or they will continue going with their old way?  Only time will tell.

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