Holy Ten extends grudge with Winky D - Don't we all have one father? (Part1)

If cancel culture was real, the Holy Ten could have easily turned into salt like Lot’s wife. His villainous plot dared to touch the anointed under the guise of rattling the status quo. The youthful rapper disapproved the Gaffa’s modus operandi when he went on air to sensationally allege that he was duped into a political project. Holy Ten proceeded to wrap the backstabbing knife with pages of Malachi. This is despite Holy Ten’s highly publicized admiration of Winky D as his musical father. This debacle totals a fidgety conscience which for the umpteenth time italicizes controversy in the widely read script of Zimbabwean hip hop’s royalty. 

Holy Ten Versus Winky D

The album, The Book of Malachi is valued by the biblical allusion of four chapters that conclude the Old Testament. The book speaks to the theme of fatherhood. Holy Ten started writing his hero-cum-villain story by claiming the fatherhood of the kindergarten hip-hop genre. The timing was good for an artist who has grown the biggest fan base on digital platforms in the history of Zimbabwean hip hop – ‘I have loved you says the Lord The Book of Malachi 1 verse 2. This book summarizes an emphasis on God’s command for honour and respect. It marks the end of a foundation upon which the new becomes. Holy Ten has been a prominent influencer in ‘finishing’ ZimDancehall the same way Malachi binds the Old Testament pages. Would the so-called demise of dancehall herald hip hop’s reign on the urban culture contemporary scene? 

Holy Ten regrets working with Winky D on a historic project loved by the masses conscious of their political and socio-economic realities. He says that when you go to war make sure your soldiers know the plan. At this point, the heart overspills with pity. The battle of hip hop and dancehall is an atrocity which is vivid in the proverbial exclaim of soldiers blindly walking into the warzone. The Book of Malachi 1 verse 8 proceeds, “When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that no evil?” 

This critique is reluctant to ascertain a sure outcome of the prevailing scramble. The unfolding notion is however determined to replenish knowledge deficits which can be blamed for the hysteria and impatience. It is expected when one is passionate about their endeavour to prematurely exalt themselves as victors and not mind the temperature. That’s hip-hop. Legendary connoisseur Mau Mau in the journal of hip hop wrote and we quote, “Hip Hop has never been a helpless VICTIM; Hip Hop has always been a FIGHTER, a FORCE THAT CREATES, BUT DOES NOT DESTROY. Hip Hop is influencing our youth this very minute, this very second.  But its values have become perverted.  And as such, it perverts whomever and whatever it touches. The question is, between those in the Americas, in Europe, in Asia, and us here in Africa:  WHO WILL SAVE HIP-HOP FROM ITSELF?” 

The reggae dancehall culture is a historic explosion of immigrant islanders who copyrighted the foundation of black expression. The culture is religiously tied to creative liberation that became a vital instrument of not only self-expression but concerted voices against inequalities that were traditionally imperialist. This culture is celebrated for its firm contribution to the establishment of confident youthful blacks. Despite shooting from within small communities of dominantly Jamaican people, the viral emergence of countercultural art was openly embraced globally hence the Jamaican popular chant – likkle but wi tallawah. There is massive hope in movements that are inspired by a common pursuit. The historical development of hip-hop in America pays tribute to the aura of reggae that of course sneaked in to tease black consciousness in African-American societies where hip-hop originates. Reggae became a divine cultural revelation with serious undertones of political ambition as a protest against racial discrimination which daunted the prospects of blacks and African natives at large. 

“Most cultural movements that go on to have staying power begin in the grassroots. They may appear to come about by accident and more or less spontaneously. But more often than not there is an underlying need that summons the energy required to build a movement” Tanning America

Events that shaped the hip-hop genre made a monster out of mere youthful urban cultures. The demographics of where this culture emanated benefited the course in its formative years. The craze enflamed with diverse outlets that routinely fell in the criteria referred to hip hop – dance, writing, graffiti, fashion, rap etc. Every facet is shaped into one recognizable attitude which packaged the ramblings of one’s inner-self in desperate search of being noticed as a comrade. Reggae and dancehall remained absolutely distinct from the sonic which distinguished hip hop. And, eventually, got outmuscled by hip hop’s fast-paced incredible economic potential. Today, hip-hop remains one of the most revered urban cultures inextricably linked to ideas of material success. Hence the popularity of this genre amongst our young brothers and sisters is justified. Contrary to ZimDancehall which has been capitalizing on the country’s withering economy and such dynamics are not to be overlooked. Art simply amplifies the rhythm of an atmosphere.

As soon as hip hop begins to rely on the actual lived realities; translate the different languages and relay practical aspirations: the sooner these genres become at par. The potential is massive in rap music. Conscious rap is steadily the birthmark of sprouting sub-genres because of its firm conviction to speak truth to power. These words are coherent with Zimbabwe’s immortalized rap lyrics in I Salute You by King Pinn - hip hop is an institution of true defiance, speaking out to the people, to unify them.

The identity of hip hop is infinitely dynamic but iterative evidence adamantly pins this culture to Afrocentricity (African-Americans). This discussion peaks at the realization that hip hop and reggae/dancehall are uncommon bedfellows who helplessly cannot exist without their shared ideological intimacy. This intimacy is what Zimbabwe has witnessed in the last two decades. There was hip-hop music in the 90s and so was reggae/dancehall.
Reggae enjoyed a bigger share of the cake because of its emphatic political liberation undertones which were smoothened by Bob Marley’s iconic live performance at the Independence celebration in the famous Rufaro stadium. The group A Peace of Ebony amongst other pioneers a piece that complemented revolutionary drifts in the mindset of the native youth – black or coloured, we were made to believe that the same icons we have been issued and cultures being sold by the West, instead of idolizing, we can replicate. ‘We can’ is a defeatist stance but a critical standpoint that cures the inferiority complex. 

Years coming, Delani Makhalima and an army of talented youths in the urban settings of the early 2000s would embark on what is coined the ‘Urban Grooves’. The one-size-fits-all musical umbrella was an amalgamation of emerging contemporary sounds like RnB, Afrobeats, reggae/dancehall and hip hop. The urban grooves era is the parent rock to a youthful uncontainable hunger for rocking showbiz which of some sort deviates from Zimbabwean traditional music. 

“One of the complications in understanding how such a cultural revolution is propelled is that as it gathers individuals from different backgrounds into a more like-minded stratum, at the same time there is an equal and opposite reaction causing push-back and opposition to change”.

To these developments, we owe several fathers a hall of fame for their comradeship in cultivating the landscape upon which this tug of war is currently taking place. 
Zimbabwe is currently savouring Winky D’s strike of genius with the new album Eureka Eureka. This album epitomizes musical ‘fatherhood’. The collaborative project unleashed what the above reading has intended to communicate – co-existence. Winky D swaggers into different styles of Zimbabwean contemporary sonic which again nullifies the ‘ending’ dancehall for hip hop to flourish. Remarkably Holy Ten hops on a Chicha-produced riddim for helmet dancehall in the song Can’t Get – kudos Michael Magz. The effort might not hit the spot but it is surely one that stands out at least for this writer in the album. 

All this brings us to the realization that The Book of Malachi completes the formative years of God’s architecture. The narrative contains a gospel of ultimate and enduring authority. Wrath is promised to those who undermine what this power has blessed. Therefore, the book connects the old and the new for they are indeed inseparable like dancehall and hip-hop music!

This writing has breathed life into my dream of taking from where the legendary scribes left off (writing extensively and urgently in respective fields of expertise and interest). This is Manando Weekly – the perspectives of a music junkie and wanderer in youthful urban culture contemporaries. 

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Takudzwa Kadzura

I leave a piece of my heart in every writing, hope you find it.

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