If Buju Banton was not behind bars most of those who braved the scorching summer temperatures to witness the grand draw of the Spar "Woza Summer" promotion at the new-look Fife Avenue Shopping Centre could be forgiven for thinking the reggae music legend was in Harare. The "Buju Banton" in question was none other than Mike Madamombe, otherwise known as Mic Inity, who was the star attraction at the event marking the climax of a six-week long retail promotion that began on September 21.
The booming voice, complemented by energetic dances on stage, brought back memories of the heyday of the embattled Buju Banton, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence on drug-related charges.
The 29-year-old crooner is no doubt a Buju Banton incarnate but that is not to take anything away from him as he has proven to be a talented musician and continues to hold his own.
Mic Inity had the crowd in a frenzy with his own compositions such as "Freedom" before giving the crowd a medley of cover songs from renowned Jamaican artistes like the late Bob Marley, Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Busy Signal and Christopher Martin.
The crowd could not help but sing and dance along when he relived Bob Marley's classic "Is This Love?", which was to be the pattern of the day as he effortlessly sailed from one yesteryear hit to another for close to one hour, in a performance reminiscent of the famed Jamaican Reggae Sunsplash.
The dreadlocked artiste crossed the musical "divide" by doing his own renditions of R&B tracks such as Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You" and Boyz to Men's classic hit "Water Runs Dry".
Earlier on "BaShupi', real name Peace Ndhlovu, heralded his presence on stage with a remix of Oliver Mtukudzi's 'Tozeza Baba" and proceeded to dish out copies of his newest release "Mhemberero", a song which he says talks about people celebrating their achievements.
Clad in a sports jacket with the Zimbabwe Bird insignia and checkered summer shorts that blended in with the high temperatures, he immediately switched to solo versions of "Tezvara Varamba" (previously recorded with XQ) and "Godo" (a collaboration with Stunner).
The former actor gave the modest but enthusiastic crowd an unexpected bonus when he performed "Godo" in English and improvised Chinese.
He even had a version for the born-again Christians and another in honour of the host supermarket.
Although he has had the misfortune of living under the shadow of urban groovers Stunner and XQ, BaShupi proved to all and sundry he had come of age when he sang his own compositions such as "MuriChocolate", "Tunonaka" and "Kumusha".
His backing group, the "A-Team" put up a polished performance whose highlight was a ball-juggling act by one of his dancers with a baseball cap that could have turned soccer veterans such as Brazil's Ronaldinho green with envy.
He juggled the cap with both feet and hands keeping it away from the ground and somehow managed to get it back where it should be -- on his head.
BaShupi's star is on the rise, there is no doubt about that. This year alone he has been part of high-profile gigs, notably the Miss Zimbabwe beauty pageant, the Harare International Festival of Arts, the Lion Lager Beerfest featuring P-Square and the Zahara show.
Despite owing his fame to collaborations with Stunner aka Desmond Chideme and XQ, BaShupi chooses to call himself an Afro-pop musician rather than an urban groover.
In an interview with the Sunday Mail recently, the "Godo" hitmaker was quoted as saying: "Musically I am inspired by the likes of Chiwoniso Maraire, Mbuya Madhuve, Sekuru Gora and Oliver Mtukudzi."
Interestingly, he has engaged Tsungie Zvobgo as his manager who also happens to be mbira queen Chiwoniso's manager.
Urban groover Nesto, who is returning to the limelight after a lull in his career, opened the day's proceedings in which one lucky shopper, Emeline Matyukira, drove away in a brand new Land Rover Freelander 2.