HARARE - Legendary Zimbabwean hip-hop pioneer Shingirayi Sabeta, better known as Mau Mau, says Zim hip-hop will continue to play second fiddle to Zimdancehall until it becomes more accessible.
The veteran Rusape-born star, who is now a born-again Christian determined to use hip-hop music as a form of Christian ministry, praised Zimdancehall for coming up with a winning formula.
“Zimdancehall is more organised than hip-hop. I think these guys (the Zimdancehall singers) got together and they realised that together they could do more so they started doing shows using the same producers,” the 44-year-old rap star told the Daily News.
“It wasn’t so much about I’m better than you, it was about let’s make this thing happen.
“Zimdancehall currently has more fans than Zim hip-hop because Zimdancehall is driven by local languages.
“These guys are speaking township language that the fans understand so they (fans) find it easier to embrace it.”
Sabeta also attributed Zimdancehall’s rising to affordable concerts.
“Zimdancehall guys do youth shows that are cheaper and affordable to their fans, but at the same time give exposure to artistes.
“I think that’s what hip-hop has been lacking,” he said.
“We (Zim hip-hop artistes) haven’t had enough exposure of what we are doing.
“The Zimbabwean public don’t really know what is going on in Zim hip-hop.”
The hip-hop star, who has promised to release a new single next month, told the Daily News that he mostly sings in Shona.
“I sing mostly in Shona because I want my music to be accessible to everyone who hears it, particularly my own people,” he said.
“When you sing in English only you isolate your music and not everyone around you can appreciate it.
“As for me, I want little kids up to grandmothers to understand what I am talking about in my music.
“People enjoy listening to their language and that’s what I am trying to do with hip-hop.
“If Zim hip-hop artistes sing in English they should make sure it is authentic.”
The rapper is planning to launch his sixth album Damascus later this year.
“The album Damascus was supposed to be out already but due to some marketing issues we are not going to bring it out until August or September this year,” said Sabeta.
He said the forthcoming album is part of his efforts meant to use hip-hop as a vehicle of Christianity.
“I am not doing music to make money really; I am doing this because I feel like it’s something that God has asked me to do,” he said.
“As a Christian now the primary purpose of my music is to preach the gospel.
“If money comes from doing that great, if not God has blessed me with so many other talents and ways of making a living and providing so I’m not worried about that,” said the Ndamutswa singer.
The Zim hip-hop legend is famed for his mid-1990s hits Blackness that he did with the late Prince Tendai, his debut self-titled single Mau Mau, the classic 2000 debut album, M’fecane, Coup d’etat in 2001, Aluta Continua in 2006 and two collaborative albums under Super Magamba in 2009 and 2010.