Two weeks ago, I was cradling a harrowing day when my phone started buzzing. At first, I thought Zimbabwe might have been under a terrorist attack at the hands of the Mozambican Islamist group, Al-Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ), Jesus was coming back, or even more important – that Hope Masike had just announced that she was actually pregnant with like triplets (damn ya’ll! I heard that was a sign of her battle with fibroids. Shame on you rumour-mongering peeps who milled that pregnant scuttlebutt).
But when I clicked on the texts, emails and direct messages, they were just links to a YouTube song. It was a song called “Fatality” by veteran and relevant wordsmith Resilience Gze dissing the Prince of Puns, Noble Stylz. I did not see any of that coming and I had no clue to whatever had happened between the two Harare emcees. But just lending my two (probably filthy) ears to the song gave me a déjà vu jiff.
The song was so full of venom and hate that it went past diss track and into the area of “If I see this human I might have to stab him in the eye that he is blind forever.” It had a crushing influence that would’ve possibly transformed the Masofa Panze wordsmith from whatever he does for money into a would-be burger-making supervisor at any of your favourite fast-food outlet.
Among the barrage of facts and a cotton bale-full of allegations laid against Noble was his involvement in robbing Bulawayo-based rapper Asaph an award of a sort, how he’s a loudmouthed keyboard battle rapper who basically shrugs off clout from his “proteges”. Oh, and that he is a perennial underground rapper whose career was yet to take off and was struggling to score a hit of his life despite boasting multiple bodies of work because he basically had no “street bounce”.
Gze also added that Noble got bodied by Jnr Brown with mere two bars on “We Run It”. Yikes!
It took Noble a couple of days before he hit back at Gze with a “Gze Lecture“ which also carried (or confused) facts with gossip tales, according to the streets. On it, Noble alleged that it was Gze and his accomplices who robbed Bulawayo-based rapper Cal_Vin of eight awards and that he met Gze’s ex who told him of his premature ejaculations, among many other things.
Some rap consumers said that the song was wack to them, for a million reasons: the daunting production, the sanguinary Carl Joshua Ncube couplet, and well, that the song was lyrically buttressed on hearsay like it was curated by nose-poking women who always win arguments at the beauty salons.
But it was no one whose opinion I trust.
It wasn’t long before Gze strike again with “Dhaf”, to which Noble responded with “C10”, a record sampled from Tupac’s “Hit Em Up”. Apparently, the song kinda made the ground even for the two rappers and everyone who thought it was mere “aight” was either a person who claims to be a “hip hop heads” because they like Amaru Shakur, a mediocre poet who has lines about the revolution not being televised, or a hater.
It didn’t end there as the streets continued to gas them up. Gze dipped his trigger fingers really deep down in the bounce with “Tsika Gas” giving us that 1992 Lil Elt vibe. Picture a call-and-response-style party bet lyrically waxed by nothing but a sleazy and slick talk over it, that’s how wavy the record was. I mean, it was still a diss song.
While many would have concluded that the song was an ultimate song of triumph, there was a talk about folks like 263 Nights CEO Batsie Masvinge, journalist Maynard Manyowa and Prophet Uebert Angel pledging to give out R100 000 for the two to battle live on the big screen to determine the winner. Noble Stylz confirmed that he was game for the challenge on “Chivhitivhiti”, albeit Gze turned it down because he couldn’t commercially exploit a “lesson for respect” for money.
For him, “there was an actual problem with Noble that he felt” the Chana Chidokosa rapper was “not being respectful”.
“This was never a battle for clout or money, but a lesson in respect. Part of the reason for this battle is demonstrated by what’s going on right now; Which is that regardless of how highly you view yourself as a person/rapper, how conscious or “ill” you are, you have no license to disrespect those that actively choose to channel their talents towards the mainstream and go commercial,” the “Fatality” spitter wrote on his Facebook page.
Ultimately, Noble Stylz ended up getting the money, and Gze got nothing, according to the good friends at Zimbuzz.
But we thought the entire thing played out unfairly and as mediators for all things culture, we sat down and write them tremendously short individual letters.
To Gze The Resilient Brother,
First, man, what are you doing? You know you are way too old for this game and now you are just gonna murder someone in front of millions of witnesses? Aren’t you afraid this might mess up your Big Dick Energy or cool factor? Look, I know you don’t like to let shit slide, but now all of your business is out there in the streets for millennials to scoff at. The Cal_Vin thing; the VID, not CIO, the Trae Yung gwaan and even premature ejaculations etcetera etcetera.
Seriously Mr Chekera, we need to stop this culture on culture crime. What you did to Noble was an act of violence. Given your age differences, it was the adult version of child abuse. You just can’t go around doing that to young people in public, especially without hinting to it. We have crafted a society where young rappers walk around with their chests out and claim greatness while telling everybody that every rapper with a metal ID or is old enough to be their father is mediocre. Instead of letting them be, you went into the booth and called them bluff. Shame on you! You aren’t cursed with his dilemma, so when you said he has been an underground rapper his whole life who has no street bounce that was a low-blow.
We know that rap beef goes back even before hip-hop and predates us all, but damn, bro… did you have to go in like that in all the three songs? The swiftness in which you replied made it look like it was effortless for you to construct those steel bars of fury. I could hear the ancestors saying, “Lord have mercy! We were subjected to forced labour and slavery by the capitalist white folks for decades, but tell you what kiddo, we never got whipped like that!” I’m sure if you simply called Noble ahead of your releases and gave him the choice between buying your silence and having those doses of “Fatality”, I think he would’ve just rationalized and gone with the first option.
You did him wrong, Gze. Clearly, he wasn’t ready for this record game, perhaps the live battle version of it. You could’ve at least given him a heads up, or maybe okayed the on-screen battle to give him a win. I mean you and everyone know that Prince wouldn’t have let you walk away off that stage with a win, right? It’s the way of things in the rap universe; it’s a rarity to find a guy with street bounce outrap a spiritual lyrical miracle individual.
Hey, don’t take it personally. All I’m saying is that you are gonna have to repent one day for the bloodshed you caused. If God doesn’t like ugly, he hates “Fatality”, “Dhaf” and “Tsika Gas”.
But it is good to know that you are also a person who guards his integrity even when a fatass check is tempting. That’s such a gentleman’s mentality. Remember, the love of money is the root of all evil. May God have mercy on your soul.
Dear Prince The Noble One,
I know you’re probably cooling off right now. You could still be a bit nervous and it’s OK. We watched your interview with Robert Mukondiwa on ZTN, and some sosho media people who don’t like you as much as some of us do say you were childish and that nerve was kinda written all over your face.
Now, before you start gathering more bars with the intent to turn this into an all-out record war, let me say this; Bro, don’t do it. That ain’t what you want. I know it will be hard given the palatine battle rapper status you have enjoyed over the years, but the money you had will make up for it. Go stack those Jordan kicks that he said you only wear on album covers… just to make a statement.
Look I remember how you punked MMT and Carl Joshua Ncube. It just so happened that musically and streetwise, Gze ain’t no walkover. He probably sprinkles the stuff that spooks MMT into his coffee in the morning; probably puts it into his bathwater to make his skin tougher. Gze ain’t scared, bruh. This guy started rapping on drums and mbira back then and still managed to come back and be relevant again. That’s how deep down in the bounce he is, and his laid back guttural tone colour works in his favour.
Trust me, the best thing you can do is to celebrate those jabs, hooks, the cross, and the lyrical uppercuts you gave him. Folks who didn’t get it might say they were low-blows, inconsistency and somewhat more enjoyable when read out loud than rapped, but hey, remember you put out all his business in the street. He is an open book now. We know all that’s there to know about him, thanks to you (except that you left out a part where he is also pursuing an honorary degree in Media & Society Studies at Midland State). He might have said all of your bars hit from the waist down and called you “problematic, conceited, cocky and arrogant” and you know what? It’s a good sign because it means he can’t stand you.
So look, let’s focus on the good things here. You are much more famous than Gze, and if you like, you can ignore this and pretend this was one of those tiffs you partake in just for the “Culture“. We know you have been “spreading knowledge about the culture across all your social platforms with an organic reach of 100 000 people” and were in an “amazing position” after the One House Battle with Ti Gonzi. Tell you what, that was a dope show. I tried the other one by the other guys and I just couldn’t “last for six-minute”. See what I did there?
Anyway, the guy might have said you’re a lifelong underground rapper desperately looking for a hit, but go look at the stats, man. Frankly speaking, the numbers you have are tenfold bigger than his, and while the internet was in denial of your “factual” disses, you were the only one who trended for a streak of days like you were somehow conniving with the powers that be of Silicon Valley. That wasn’t a minor feat for Zimhiphop.
Look, Noble, you’re nice and Gze even gave it to you. You’re even talented. Maybe this kind of bounce or record beef is above your paygrade. We understand that sometimes it doesn’t require to be a super-spiritual lyrical miracle wordsmith to make a hit record. The kids say easy does it.
Anyway, you’re still the majority’s fave. The Zimhiphop attention span is so short like the guy’s cumming rate. This will be over in a few weeks and everyone will have forgotten about it. You can choose to lay low for a while or continue telling the world that he couldn’t show for a live battle, however, it’s at your own risk.
I don’t care what level of lyricism you might think you are on, there is one fact that people have overlooked in this entire feud: Gze somehow managed to turn you posting pictures of booze into a negative thing. That is almost impossible to do with things and party-loving Zimbabweans, yet he accomplished it.
So just chill out, keep out of sight and act like you’ve never heard of Gze and chow the easy money. It’s the best strategy for this situation.
I mean, you guys both won, and you know what else won?