Image Credit: Zim Hip Hop Awards
COMMENTARY

“What do you want from me?” MiLe Speaks Out As Zim Hip Hop Awards Nominee List Leave a Bad Taste

S. Kapfunde & K. Chidamba

Year after year the Zim Hip Hop Awards have been consistent with one thing and that fucking with everyone’s emotions since 2007. Yes, the feeling stations are in high demand, men and boys involve themselves in catty mudslinging and name calling in Hip Hop’s version of Politics in Zimbabwe. Over the weekend the thing that usually is the climax of local so-called beef happened, the Holy Grail of Hip Hop acknowledgement that is the Zim Hip Hop Award Nominees List stood in splendour ready for all to celebrate and more likely than less, scorn and belittle.

But are the Zim Hip Hop Awards nothing but a business?

Now that feeling stations have been opened and the queue is rather long with frustrated fans and rappers alike let’s discuss this issue that has ripped the industry throughout the years. This year we had a historic moment when the ‘industry’ decided to host the first Zim Hip Hop Summit, a monumental achievement for the genre as no other has managed to sit down and discuss issues affecting them. The fact that this was organised shows that Hip Hop is an intelligent genre which values its work and the players. However, a question arises. Are the ‘awards’ actually valuing the players that have contributed to the growth of the sector with good music and progressive efforts?

The Zim Hip Hop Awards have been a topical issue ever since their inception. The question of the legitimacy of most of the nominees being the leading debate. Firstly we would like to congratulate those who made it to the ‘honour’ roll, whether their nominations are legitimate or not. Their efforts must be worthwhile to someone up in the hierarchy of the awards. However, Lets really look at these awards with 20/20 vision and a clear mind.

We contacted MiLe, a rapper, who released an album this year titled Trading Hours and he had this to say,

“Nothing negative … after some thought I’ve come to terms with the fact that people in these survivalist conditions in Zim will make a business out of anything they need to …we as artists just move forward and let the music reach where it needs to … and the overwhelming support in the form of indignant outcries after the snub proves that my music’s been doing what it needs to all along… therein lies the real trophy…they can conduct their business, however, they see fit.”

MiLE’s album was received with great acclamation by fans and the industry alike. So, it only right that he complains or is it? Check the Stahtistics fam! If artists have reached a point of complaining this much it means that there is something wrong with the system, we think. Who is on the selection panel and what criteria is used to choose the content/artiste which makes it to the nominees list anyway?

The nominations seem to be skirting along the lines of political correctness in an attempt to quell the cries of Bulawayo Artists who have long complained that there are left out. We guess they just had to put them in there as the awards are being held in their turf. Pity nominations?

As the debate rages on, we have one question. Are we trying to stimulate the growth of an industry or crush the spirits of those who have decided to dedicate all their life forces into this genre?

As you listen to what we are beginning to believe is the theme song of the state of Zim Hip Hop as you think carefully about what you want Zim Hip Hop to be!

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Stephanie is the Founder of Zimbabwean New Media start-up Enthuse Afrika & the Editor of their biggest project so far #ENTHUSE.

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