Zimbabwean hip hop

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Zimbabwean hip hop emerged in the early 1990s and is still present and evolving. The genre is known for its association with the lower middle class to upper-class youth in Zimbabwe, with Trap Music being the most popular sub-genre.



During this golden era, hip hop emerged as a global voice, spreading like wildfire. It was only a matter of time until it spread to Zimbabwe, where the youth embraced it with open arms. The earliest recordings of hip hop were mostly on vinyl and tape and were not converted to cd, mp3, or modern media and hence they have become very rare. The most mainstream acts of the time were Piece of Ebony, Fortune Muparutsa, [with rap verses on songs like Rumors (1991)], and Midnight Magic [with songs like Blackness featuring Mau Mau ]. Since most vinyl records and cassette tapes are no-longer accessible or in playable condition, Zimbabwe lost a huge chunk of its earlier catalog, from which, the next generation of artists could draw inspiration from.

This also rendered sampling from predecessors virtually non-existent. During the second half of this 10-year period, beginning on their own and later with the influence of Innocent Tshuma (then known as The Millennium Man), youths across the country would begin to participate in the genre. The instrumentation, form, and culture began to lean more towards adopting the globally successful American hip hop trend, leaning less on the stagnant and non-evolving local Mbira Hip Hop. Though exported globally by groups like Zimbabwe Legit, Hip hop was and still is in the shadow of other genres like Museve, Reggae, Kwaito, jazz, choral, folk and African House).In 2016 artists like Takura took over the stage and having a number of people following his music but he wasn't the only who was singing hip hop but he was the first to be recognized as he was in stiff competition with Zimdancehall.


Since 2001 a number of artists and businessmen have branched out to form their own brands, record labels, and radio stations. This has resulted in most monopolies losing their grip on the industry and diluting their power in distribution, influence, airplay, and the ability to predict the next big artist. Artists began selling their own CDs in the streets with varying success. Shows such as Mashoko and The Circle done at The Mannernburg in Harare are also measures that have been taken to popularize hip-hop in Zimbabwe. Poets and emcees include Osama, Outspoken, Synik, Upmost, Godobori, Aura, Blackbird (now known as Temple) among others. Some of these poets incite politics in their music and have started a movement known as House Of Hunger.

Mashoko later developed from a once a month festival known as Shoko Fest, which included international acts like Hired Gun (USA) and Akala, among others. Many Zimbabwean emcees performed at the show, ongoing since 2010. The same year, Zim Hip Hop Awards began; although controversial, they have survived to the present day.

Artists have recently begun to bypass physical means of distributing their music and have joined digital distribution channels, linked to social media and clout. Music videos and promotional music are now being used to gather followers. Prolific artists are now hiring or being approached by industry managers, to handle their affairs in a more professional manner. In 2018 there was an introduction of female artists in the industry like Tashamiswa, who is one of the most important female pioneers of the game. Currently, artists like Ti Gonzi and Holy Ten are also dominating the genre, but still being led by the lengendary Maskiri. A new artist named MafiReign also raps on religion and politics.

Style and influences[edit]


Hip hop has grown more and more influential since its inception. Its use of high tech equipment has also ensured that it remains fresh and relevant, being re-birthed with each technological advancement. America has remained at the forefront of the movement with the rest of the world catching up. Zimbabwe, as with most countries, usually mirrors the trending sound in America, and uses it as a benchmark for quality and is up to date. This has seen many acts using the same flow and drum kits used by their favorite rapper and producer.

Zimbabwean identity[edit]

There are a few pioneering acts that are now trying to move away from the influence of American hip hop and reinvent themselves by building and branding themselves as kings, nobles, and sons of renown. Some have resorted to making remakes and remixes of old records they consider hits, whereas some have resorted to sampling traditional or folk songs and making collaborations with bigger and more established names from competing and more successful genres. Acts are also making more use of their traditional languages (Shona and Ndebele), and in-cooperating local instruments such as Mbira, Marimba, Ngoma (traditional drums) or Hosho (traditional shaker). Colonial-era acts like August Musarurwa and Simon Mashoko have proved that influencing, inspiring, or impressing American musicians, is possible as they were sampled or covered for their work by greats like Louis Armstrong and 213 ( Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg), supporting the argument to incorporate or establish local, unique, distinguishable identities.



Radio has helped the genre a lot, with some hits only existing online, within podcasts such as Radio Kunakirwa, which are now the only proof of their existence. This means that radio catalogs and podcasts are now a vital source of history and library for the genre. Apart from airplay, some radio stations have devoted segments dedicated to one genre.

  • School of Hip Hop[1]
  • Zim Hip Hop Explosion[2]


There are a few shows dedicated to Hip-Hop on Zimbabwe's local broadcaster.

Fresh hip-hop zw hiphopZW


  1. ^ "Power FM: School of Hip Hop Top 10 Local Charts". www.3-mob.com. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Sliq Kay – Power FM". www.powerfm.co.zw. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Hip Hop 263".