The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Bickering Rocks Zim Hip-Hop

It appears all is not well within Zimbabwean hip-hop scene if last month's Zim Hip-Hop Awards are anything to go by. The otherwise well-organised awards were marred by controversy and ignited feuds among rappers leading to what has been dubbed the "uptown/downtown beef".

The "beef" has also created an imaginary boundary for rappers who live south of Samora Machel Avenue and those who live in the north.

The two feuding groups were more pronounced in the aftermath of the awards when rappers traded insults on social networks while others released diss songs targeting their rivals.

During the awards ceremony, a group led by Jamaican-based rapper MC Chita -- who represents the so-called uptown dudes -- booed winners from downtown camp.

MC Chita, who was in his drunken stupor failed to control himself in front of dignitaries including guest of honour Minister Webster Shamu, after he dropped a bottle of wine in protest.

The overly excited MC Chita did not only misbehave at the ceremony but he also tweeted venting his anger on the winner Tatea Da MC.

"I personally don't think Tatea's "H-Town" video should've won best video ahead of Tehn Diamond ft Simba Tags' 'Fast Life', that 'H-town' was shot by an amateur on top of the roof . . . You should know I'm not gonna regret to take back my words. No hard feelings," wrote Chita.

But rappers from the downtown camp dismissed MC Chita's actions as sour grapes after he failed to clinch a single accolade fuelling the rivalry between the two camps. Synik of the "Power Cut" hit song said he does not know of any beef in the hip-hop scene neither between rappers MC Chita and Tatea.

"If there is any beef, I'm sure you will be the first one to hear about it because I don't know anything bro," he said.

Fast rising rapper Tendai "Tehn Diamond" Nguni from the uptown professed ignorance about the "beef" but agreed there were two sides.

"I don't care about the beef, of course, I know there is the Samora Machel margin that is used by Zim rappers to outclass each other, but I want to distance myself from such crap and focus on making money," said Tehn Diamond. Hip-hop music producers have been blamed for fanning rivalry among Zimbabwean rappers.

Usually, rappers who are produced by one producer treat rappers from other record labels as rivals.

Music producer Tatenda Jenami, better known as Take Fizzo, refuted claims by the artistes that producers were to blame for the "beef" saying rappers should focus on music rather than competition.

"I'm not a record label, all I do is to produce good music for everyone.

"This industry is far from the level where beef is commercially viable, the people who are causing beef got nothing, no money and bitter," he said.

Zimbabwean hip-hop is still in its infancy but for some reason the youngsters think what they read in magazines about the West Coast/East Coast beef in America is real and yet it is meant to boost record sales.

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