CAPE TOWN, (The Southern African Times) – A deep thinker, poet and introvert got introduced to the Zambian hip hop music scene and has taken the level a few notches up. Lusaka born and bred ZAR has the Southern African country shaking with metaphoric rythm and powerful punchlines in his latest offering which makes one curious if Zambia has raw talent which the world is not paying due attention to. The Southern African Times caught up with the rapper and got an in depth narration of how ZAR came onto the scene.
The Zambians may be familiar with ZAR from their local TV series Mungoma and a few cameos on some music videos. It is ZAR’s aspiration to settle in one country conducive enough to help his music career. Riding in the panoply of his latest offering Been through the storm which has gained a considerably high number of demographics on his YouTube channel.
Talking to Southern African Times, ZAR mentioned he enjoys expressing himself through music. “I enjoy being able to express myself fearlessly and touching people musically with thoughts I oncethought were irrelevant.
“ What I hate the most is people feeling like they can try and takecreative control over your creativity” said ZAR in the calmest of tones.
One might wonder, are we talking of Zambia, and hip hop in the same sentence. Well, hip-hop (or rap) has an interesting evolutionary background. Though in terms of modern musical styles and fashion it is mostly western inspired, its true origins lie deep in African culture, among all tribes. The art of chanting and praise poetry was common in chief’s palaces and various traditional ceremonies across Africa.
In Zambia modern hip-hopfirst emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s through tracks by American acts such as the Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, which was popular on the local disco scene. Discos at the time were a trend that eventually pushed the Zambian version of rock ‘n roll (known as Zam-Rock) out of business. Aspiring Zambian musicians and the youth of the era enjoyed miming to the hits that played in discos.
Being naturally embedded in African society, rapping had previously been sporadically used in a few notable Zambian songs in the 1980s .For example, Rikki Ililonga’s political hot potato ‘Olemekezeka’ and ‘Sansakuwa’, Oliya Band’s ‘Chenda Mundeke’, Paul Ngozi’s ‘Day of Judgment’ and PK Chishala’s ‘Chimbayambaya’ all have interesting rap elements in them.
In the early 1980s, the Rusike Brothers, a Lusaka-based group (with Copperbelt roots) ventured into the boogie/disco/hip-hop realm with titillating vocal and stage performances. The group, managed by their Zimbabwean-born journalist dad Abby Rusike, was fashioned on the Jackson Five and their chart topping single ‘Saturday Night’ became a huge hit on Zambian (and Zimbabwean) dancefloors.
Could we be in for a reincarnation of the genre in Zambia at the mercy of ZAR? Time will certainly tell and we are optimistic.
Reported By Leo Muzivoreva