Music videos! There’s an abundance of them on the internet. Plenty of artists and directors continue to collaborate in pairing moving images with pleasurable sonic oscillations. In fact, the biz is in a boom time, and artists are channelling an increasing amount of their creative energy into visual footprints that deserve your attention. The results can be lewd, controversial, empowering, silly, and surprising; the playbook requires that you stand out.
While only a few usually land spots on the most coveted entertainment blogs, mainstream media platforms and year-end lists, they represent only the tip of the abstract when it comes to all the good music and visuals that come out in a year, especially in an era where big and successful artists tend to overshadow young and not-so-huge talents.
In Zimbabwe, there’s no through-line among the best videos that have come out in recent months. Rising stars, like King 98 and Tamy Moyo, and certified veterans, like Trevor Dongo and ExQ, are all trying to flex as imaginatively as possible for our satisfaction.
A hint on our part, this list is not merely a popularity contest. The videos below showcase the best collaborative work between artists and directors. For our money, these videos comprise the pinnacle of the art form – the best music videos out there – so far at least. While most matters of taste are subjective choices filtered through a funhouse mirror maze of cultural and personal experiences, you’ll find that these selections are objectively correct by any reasonable standard.
Zviroto – Tamy Moyo
If most conventional pop music videos aim to be dream-like escapes from the natural horrors of the world… then Tamy does make conventional pop music. Zviroto video sees the singer in an ethereal setting, living her ancestors’ wildest dream, a chimera where she serves us with some stellar creativity and looks.
The video provides more of the sweet energy that we get from the song as the Kwandinobva maker passionately sings about graduating in the music industry. It is funny and energetic, and there is a part where she actually sells us her rapping dream too, a verse way too tough on wax to rob your favourite rapper of his hanging career. Directed by Kmane.
Zuva Rese – ExQ ft. Ti Gonzi
The Zuva Rese video will likely be remembered for its more cinematic qualities: the weird-like adventure to save a girl, the dramatic interludes to advance the story and the massive attraction the two artists have. Throughout, ExQ, who has been dominating Zimbabwean music for at least two decades now, exudes his effortless charm while adopting and superseding every knight in shining armour in a quest to save his lover.
Essentially, Ti Gonzi comes through with quite an interesting verse that fills in some of the sense ExQ couldn’t communicate in paronomasias. It’s awe-inspiring, it’s high-drama, it’s gorgeous, and most of all, it has a poignant sense of heart that’s as extravagant and ostentatious as the artists — a prime manifestation of what makes the two so captivating. The video was directed by Vusa Blaqs.
Gara Pano – Gemma Griffiths
Gara Pano is Gemma’s first single off her yet-untitled upcoming debut album. Filmmaker Marc Neilson directed the pulsating video, and it is a dedication to all Zimbabweans’ positivity and resilience.
“Zimbabweans are an inspiration. They seek joy first, and with Zimbabwe as my home and teacher, I owe my all to her,” she said.
The concept behind is simple: tag alone happy, resilient souls and have them dance everywhere. The video doesn’t attempt to bite off more than it can chew, and it’s refreshing to see a focused vision that doesn’t attempt to explain itself to watchers over and over again. It’s exactly what fans, and the rest of the world, want right now – a joy so pure it has the power to turn your entire day around.
Kutenda – Decibel ft Major E
For their long-awaited comeback single, United Kingdom-based singjay outfit and pinnacles of the Urban Grooves movement Decibel and Major E gave us a mature side of their lives. Fittingly titled Kutenda, the duet is an acknowledgement that they’ve completed their runs as “serious” artists and are now giving thanks for their careers.
Major E said the song is a breath of fresh air at a time when rhythmic, spectral diversity and lyrical content had become stagnated and rancid. Well, the two can say and do whatever they want, but we should rarely reward attempts by the uber-famous to maintain their status through gospel music, which has proved to be an easy comeback portal for many artists of yesteryear.
Kurunga – Vimbai Zimuto
Vimbai doesn’t hold back. Once again, she colours outside the lines of conventionality in total afro-glitz and glam with her latest offering Kurunga. An upbeat summer banger, it is a feminine fantasia packed with waist-shaking dance moves for an all-XX chromosome audience.
While it may be tamer than she might have instinctively perceived, it still walks a sexually explicit line that only someone as confident as the Hapana Kwaunoenda singer could. It also affirms that if she’s not posing nude on the beach, she is actually making good music that you can bop to.
Shoko – King 98 ft. ExQ
Leave it to ExQ and King 98 to craft one of the catchiest and most salacious tunes of this season. This song has that signature pillowy smooth and sexy Exq style, and King 98’s unapologetically corny yet mushy raps that will make give you an inroad of how most spoiled rich kids view relationships.
The video gives fans and critics what they want: a visual that plays to our love for pop culture. With a chorus that screams desperation for new love and a coquettish whistle, it’s a yet another swoon-worthy bop at the beginning of King 98’s big career.
Come Get Your Love – Trevor Dongo
If RnB be the music of sweet love-making, then for God’s sake let’s cue up the new Trevor Dongo ballad. Seduction is everything here, and what’s so glorious about Come Get Your Love is that for all the Ndashamisika hitmaker’s intimate come-ons, the music takes its sweet time, filtered through the musical genius’s thoughtful style while fast-building to an ecstatic climax.
Trevor works himself into such a state that he flings off his shirt, revealing his chiselled abs well enough to make D’Angelo (Untitled) grin. The intense monochrome-meet-colour clip is all limbs and longing, with vixen Lissa Tanaka, who doubles as Jah Prayzah’s dancer, staring down the camera while she writhes for love. Per se, the ingredients that make up this soul-plumbing video are pretty simple: Trevor, Tanaka, their moves. But under the guidance of director Vusa Blaqs, that equation added up to the steamiest video out now, with the two seductively (yet strategically – Tanaka was topless, although her nudity was well-hidden by camera angles and Trevor’s hands) lolling about.