It’s the summer of 2012 and the hottest record on the waves is a rap song about getting broads drinks, Makandiwa, Joburg, Harare and other ratchet stuff. It’s booming and it is packed with punchlines and metaphors. It seems like everybody likes it. I do too. It’s kind of a club jam I’d bop to. The song, entitled Madrinks, was performed by a rookie emcee by the name of James Mpakula, but most cool people prefer to call him Jnr Brown.
As the year progresses and the record gets more popular, the enthusiastic hip-hop artist, somewhat drunk on his assumed fame, goes on record and announced that the song was a precursor of his debut album, “Morning Glory” which he was working on in the labs.
We believed him, as just under a year ago he’s given us with the “Kings Rendezvous: H.R.E,” a joint album he did with the then Jamaican-based hip-hop rapper MC Chita.
In October 2013, James, having savoured the saccharine Koolaid of collaboratory projects with Chita, joined forces with Tehn Diamond and veteran and relevant producer Take Fizzo and smashed the industry with “The Feeling Ain’t Fair” album under the Few Kings moniker. The project was received with great acclaim but folks were not blinded to the fact that earlier in June Jnr Brown had told the greedysouth.co.zw that he would release of The Morning Glory and the Madrinks video the very same year.
“I have been writing my debut album since my career started and have come full circle. The title I gave the album reflects that because I did work way back then, that I’ve been waiting a long time to share. I’ve been waiting for The Morning Glory and now that moment is almost here…I don’t want to kill the surprise factor by saying too much,” he said.
For reasons best known by himself, that did not happen, according to his timeline.
A year later, Brown would couple up with rapper Gze and hit us with Mariia. Dare I say, he did not let go off his upcoming Morning Glory album talk off his mouth, like a kid sucking from a pacifier. Time and again, he would make a feature or drop a hot single and hint that “MG” was just a couple of hours away to arrive.
With more vigour and aggression than he’d ever exhibited in his career, Jnr Brown made an assertive crusade and bounced back on the scene in 2016 with three scorching singles in the year’s quartet as if to claim his fading glory. In January he dropped the ether-ish “We Run It” a fullisade-ridden record amid rumours that he was ruffing feathers with Cal_Vin that Luveve Boy. As the back and forth continued with Cal_Vin, he emerged from the backyard with “Tongogara,” a socio-political song that cuts through the political bullshit of the time. A month later, he was back with, “Amen” yet another jam that revolved around making the club a cult of pleasure.
As he kept on dropping with a godly consistency, many were convinced the Morning Glory album was going to finally see the day. In an interview with The Standard sometime in February, Jnr Brown revealed that his long-awaited body of work would unquestionably be out that year.
“I can assure you that The Morning Glory will be out this year. Tongogara is the first single off the album, and we have good music for the ear,” he said.
That was that.
2017 came, and Brown went back to bed with his fellow Few Kings slingers and waxers and dropped The Feeling Ain’t Fear 2. Around the time of the release, I ran into Tehn at Stimulus Incubation Hub, and I recall trying so damn hard to wheedle him into telling if Brown had told him for certain when Morning Glory was coming. He, quite leery of my machinations, said, “he was not at liberty to speak on it” but he knew that his brother was working on something.
In 2019 Jnr Brown bounced back, but his raps weren’t so “Loud” enough to overpower the proverbial streets.
Now, we are in 2020 and among other things that COVID-19 anxieties got me grappling with is the grief of waiting on Jnr Brown’s debut album.
For approximately a full-ass decade, the Zimhiphop community had been in a state of suspended pre-orgasm waiting for the anticipated Morning Glory. Even though I am a bit incredulous that it would ever come, I have for years determined not to share this opinion as I’ve seen King James methodically butcher his goodwill with his fans, and all the credibility he has as an artist, by not accomplishing something a teenaged rapper with a SoundCloud or YouTube account and an Android phone can do: release a solo proper fvcking album.
It appears the anticipation for the album is slowly devolving to the point of farce. For many hip-hop fans, his failure to release an album ranks somewhere between the deaths of King Pinn, Mizchief and Noble Stylz’s retirement as one of the most tragic tales of Zimhip-hop history. It’s been the subject of countless news stories, timelines and think-pieces over the last decade. Meanwhile, James has danced around the issue like a marionette emcee with excuses and prevarications, making empty promises about upcoming projects as die-hard hopefuls keep sopping up for it like a three-day-old biscuit and an unloving stepmother’s gravy. Man’s hip-hop’s version of your gaslighting partner whom you needed a year of therapy and multiple fifths of vodka to finally get over.
For skepticals like me, the pain was expected but I really feel sorry for the die-hard hopefuls who in this case are the actual victims. Whether you go through his entire discography repeatedly to make up for his empty promise for Morning Glory, there is a universal script that goes through the minds of the people waiting on serial renegers. It is akin to the seven stages of grief, but it is far more painful than losing a loved one.
That said and to cut this nyaya short, one can tell that there have been like eight stages of waiting on Jnr Brown’s Morning Glory album. Here is a rundown.
2011: The Anticipation – When he debuted on the scene, and we heard the guy and were like, “Damn this dude is that good!” During this time of innocence, he assured us that he had an album coming the following year. We believed him because we had faith and because he gave us the Kings Rendezvous: H.R.E.
2012: The Pre-Wait – Madrinks came out, and we wanted the album but were told it’s early. There we were saving a couple of bucks to buy the album when it drops because we wanted to support the man. We were still hopeful because, technically, he hasn’t disappointed us yet and we had young hearts so innocent and pure.
2013: It’s time – When the clock struck the exact time, we were so ready but quite understanding when he dropped The Feeling Ain’t Fair as Few Kings. We were not worried yet because we assumed that he’d put a pause on the album because he was working on another project with his supergroup.
2014: Fifteen minutes – We were a little antsy, but Mariia “leaked” and like a late motherf*cking friend we love to death he texted, “I’m on my way guys”. We reasoned with ourselves, “Ok, it’s not that late.” We believed again and put on some booty call music at the time to keep us wavy.
2016: Thirty Minutes – What the f*ck, J man? Come on, bruh! Just when we were wondering what was going on, we got three banging jams in three months and they read like an “I’m pulling up” text or a club announcer saying “Are you ready for the great, Jnr Brown?!” We went wild, but the album was still nowhere to be found.
2017: One Hour – Now we are devil mad. We started talking to ourselves. “That’s why I don’t fuck with serial renegers.” The lights went down, and we were beginning to not care. We lashed out, Fvck this nigger and whatever he’s doing. Fvck everybody with dreadlocks. If he doesn’t show up in the next ten minutes, we were done with him.
Then The Feeling Ain’t Fear 2 happened.
2019: Acceptance – Still nothing. Yes, this is the fvcked-up hope we have constructed. All the dope rappers have gone extinct or are in hibernation. We become resigned that we might never see anything related to Jnr Brown again. We wanted to cry, but instead, we did what all of us do in the wake of late motherfucker frustration: we ordered some wings. Just as we were on to the last piece, King James walked on the stage. He was really “Loud” for us to grab most of what he was talking about. That’s when we notice the sex wasn’t all that and only lasted 3 minutes. This can’t be what we waited for eight solid years.
2020: Hope – The Rona happened, and we started reviewing our lives just in time before the rapture gets to us. Along the course, we recalled all the fun we had with Jnr Brown. All the times we were throwing it up happy, running it, splashing the 15 Billion and whatnot. We started thinking of giving him another chance or buying tickets to his next concert. Our faith knows no bounds. Who knows? He might uncertainly drop it in these precarious times of Miss Rona…