On Monday, a widely shared and largely engaged story was told of how hip-hop steamroller Noble Stylz the paladin son of Butawo descended from the GHQ of Zimbabwean hip-hop like a bolt from the blue, donned in his Knighthood armour and challenged the country’s entire regiment of self-proclaimed wordsmiths to the battleground. In an openly aggressive epistle sent out through the messengers at his social media sierra, the Masofa Panze rapper did not only threw down the gauntlet to Stunner, the seasoned Commander-in-Chief of hip-hop and Mudiwa Hood, the hetman of the hermit crusaders but also offered that they were to bring along any three other generalissimos of their own liking to aid them.
To the disappointment of those who were watching from the refuge of their homes due to a leprosy called COVID-19 which was plaguing the land, the five-against-one battle which was planned to happen on the valley of Mountain Instagram did not happen. Stunner nicodemously crawled out of his tent and told Butawo that he would only show up to the battle if he gets his promised spoil upfront. On the other hand, Mudiwa the son of Hood came out of his pavilion and shouted that he did not anticipate the battle to be about shiny, sharp-edged swords but historical records of war spoils and territorial triumphs.
The story is long and was told well across the interwebs hence I have no intentions to rehash it.
While the promise of a Noble Stylz versus everybody hip-hop rap battle royale may really just be a pipe dream— we are still working on our own thoughts regarding Stunner and Mudiwa’s reasoning for wanting to hold off—, we thought it out long and hard, along the lines of the scripture that reads, “Eff up a blessing and ain’t nobody is doing shit for you again.” Thus, owing to my unatoned love for the genre that is Zimbabwean Neo-soul and Rhythm and Blues, I thought it was only fair to sway the conversation to the talented men and women who have been serenading us for the longest time.
Why? Because I care. Because RnB is the closest point to the reality of love that there is. With other music and genres (rap included), there’s a big gap of how close love is involved in the song. That’s what rhythm and blues is based on; love and heartbreak. You need it because that’s real life. So, when you take real life out of a song, suddenly we’re dancing to a song that doesn’t mean anything, that has nothing to do with my life after this. If you take R&B away, you take away the feeling of one human being to another. You take away the passion and love. And once you get out of R&B, actually, even if you’re dealing with tempo records, that’s still just about your love for music, it has nothing to do with human contact. My thinking.
So, without further ado, I have put up an incandescent pairing of some of the great soulacoasters we have had who I think will give each other a good run in the case of an IG/FB live songs or vocal battle. Here we go.
Takue vs Elli-ot
Takue and Elli-ot are two interesting young crooners with still-burgeoning careers and long-term staying power. Possessing dazzling voices with barely any snag beneath them, these two are where many RnB purists can invest their hope. Although the playfield may not be even for the rookie Takue who only have two singles out, it will be awesome to see how luring Elli-ot the proclaimed King Of Hearts is and how smouldering can Takue go. For reference sake, check Takue’s music here and Elli-ot’s music here.
Kevin Munetsi vs Phante
“Badd Influence”, an album by Mr Mack.a.Roni. aka Kevin Munetsi remains Zim RnB’s biggest highlight of 2019 as far as projects are concerned. But who doesn’t remember that the previous year before Badd Influence materialised Phante held it down with Tabve Mvuma EP? Wouldn’t it be great to find out live how “badd” and cloying Kevin is and how much “Amnesia” Phante can give us?
Hillzy vs Takura
All of you must be looking at me crazy now, with a, “How dare you pity the kid with a man?” Well folks, chill. I’m an avowed Takura fan too. I like Hillzy well enough—he has made a ton of great music—but if nobody asked me and I decided to share my opinion anyway, I’m Takura all day at least the singing side of him. The thing is, folks have a pretty strong opinion when it comes to Takura vs Hillzy. But how fun would it be to have a whole 15-round song-off between the two? Nobody loses remember, the real winner is the culture.
Shashl vs Varaidzo
Ashleigh “Shashl” Moyo and Varaidzo Nyakunika are two interesting personalities. In between pursuing their passions as serenaders, they also happen to have aspirations in white-collar trades. Shashl, who is a daughter to Health minister Obadiah Moyo, has interests in the health sector while Varaidzo is a post-graduate with a Bachelor of Laws degree from Rhodes Univerity. Although striking a balance between college and their creative endeavour seems like a strenuous task, both have been able to carve a mark on the RnB scene. And because they have a tendency of starving their fans to death with dry spells, they owe it to us to come back and grace our IG live. Among other things, we’d love to confirm how much love kisses can Shashl “Blow” on the internet and we get to tell Varaidzo what we want as she asked us, “Chii Chaunoda“.
Trevor Dongo vs Sanii Makhalima
These boys grew before our eyes. They raised many of us. They created various soundtracks for our erratic love stories. They made us fall in love, laugh, and cry and gave meanings to our meaningless lives. Since they were there at the beginning of the culture in Zimbabwe, they probably have loads and loads of music we lived through. Imagine what life will be like if the internet invests an hour or two of its time to give the two a moonwalking moment to rundown 20 of their hit songs. Who wouldn’t want to see how Sani’s vocals have not changed since Usadaro and how Trevor’s chiselled abs would look like when he’s dancing to Shoko Rerudo? It’s certainly not me.
Lloyd Soul vs Adrian Tate
I might be a bigger Adrian Tate fan than I am a Lloyd Soul fan as the former has journeyed with us since Soul Afrika. A part of wanted to pity Adrian with his former duo member Takura so they can iron whatever happened between them once for all but my clearly biased instinct assured me that if a winner was going to emerge from that battle it wasn’t going to be Takura. Then a beautiful bird hinted to me that I should bundle up Adrian and Lloyd as both dabble with Afropop sound. Consensus can agree that the two don’t get nearly the amount of props as they deserve. So what if we can get the two neo-soul/RnB crooners of our time who are CRIMINALLY under-appreciated on a versus battle?! Again, the culture wins.
Kudzai Sevenzo vs Tia
Since y’all are quarantined and don’t have anything real to do, I will not explain who these beautiful ladies are to give you time to ask around and do a quick google search. To all the Generation Z kids, you can humbly ask your pops, moms, aunts and uncles who these people are. All that matters, for now, is that they existed and at some point reigned our waves. And because their discography is shorter than my nephew’s shoes, we will dub this live battle, “The Battle Of The One Hit-wanderers” where Kudzi will play “I Don’t Know Why” over and over while Tia will be telling all the horny boys out there what they “gotta know”. She might as well explain why, in the name of the Shaderoom, did she think it was aight to ridicule Cindy Munyavi’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) outfit that she donned at the 2018 NAMA, saying that it made her look like she was trying to sell Sungura to Kodak “Disrespectful MF” Black. We need answers.
Garry Mapanzure vs Mik Manjengwa
Anybody who has not listened to Mik Manjengwa will honestly be convinced that vocally Garry will win this in a landslide. But hey, Mik had the jams. And in a battle, the jams are what matters. And that’s not to say that Garry doesn’t have jams because he does as well, but Mik had the jam jams. This would be fun is all I’m saying. You know what, while I do not like how the grown-ass Mik sounds now…“Your Man“ Garry aka Mr Sushi should come to face my Mr “This Love” Mik.
Plaxedes Wenyika vs Cindy
More like the Trevor and Sanii’s case, why not let the two songbirds with nearly or over two decades in the game and still very alive, hop on IG Live and go hit for hit. (I think Plax wins this, by the way.)
Mile vs Chris James
Mile doesn’t get enough props. Chris James is no slouch either. People actually seem to like them both and they still make great music. Their battle will see us hearing all the true stories behind their music titillating music.
King Avry vs 2 Yung
Let’s see what will happen, and who will get the nods when 2 Yung pull out a “Cheater” and “Ammara Brown” while Avry strikes back combat style with “When U Say My Name” and “Ndokuda”. It will go down.
We love our Zimbabwean music and will keep our fingers crossed and hope that these good RnB folks accept this pairing and give the people want they want.