Donne Jovi Explores the Intersection of Talent and International Appeal on the Zim Hip-Hop Battle Rap Scene

For my first time watching Donne Jovi versus Raykaz in a rap battle, would it surprise you that I'm still in awe? We have believed in hip-hop talent and the Gods know for how long. Rap battles are quite fascinating and they are an essential component of hip hop. Whether the hip-hop industry can sustain itself with or without them is the phenomenon under study in this assessment. 

Donne Jovi versus Raykaz
Raykaz and Donne Jovi on Stage

We had the privilege to learn from Donne Jovi to dot the ‘i’s and cross the t’s of rap battle in Zimbabwe.

Before the engagement, the prevailing wisdom was that rap battles could be identical to famed dancehall clashes. We would appreciate reiterating that the margins separating the two genres are overstretched. 

Hence the belief that if the hip-hop industry manages to build the rap battle component, there is a significant chance that spoils can be shared.

We asked Donne what needs to be done for rap battles in Zimbabwe given the growth realized in hip hop and his response was International battles. The cross-border effect can help organizers and brands see rap battles as an easy event to monetize what they are selling. As well as television battles so that people who don’t have access to YouTube can watch on ZBC.

Donne Jovi believes in decolorizing the appeal of rap battles in both international and local contexts. He adds, "Zimbabwe is too isolated in its thinking therefore it is isolated in standard. Cross-border/international will improve and encourage local acts to step their game up."

The above sentiments echo an issue of context which we believe to be critical. The recurring notion in favour of international appeal needs to be addressed. 

One can argue that the Zimbabwean-specific context is however unique. The case of dancehall in Zimbabwe is a classical reference in cementing the argument that the terrain is biased towards content nuanced by relatable circumstances. In simple terms, it does not always have to rhyme – the American style. In the same way, dancehall is not always about patois. 

But how do we build a local context suggested by Donne? Noble Stylz and the Moto Republik seem to be watering a turf wide not only in geography but skill in delivery. We have witnessed Masvingo’s very own gifted battler Axe Poze grace the capital against a versatile wordsmith Hupepe Chule (popularly known comedian and spoken word artist). 

Broadening the appeal of rap battles is the conclusion here. Music fans love a clash. Or it is simply human nature. The discussion is open to your contributions. 

Importantly, hip-hop fans will be missing out if they have not started attending the rap league that is being issued monthly in the Dodger Dome (named in loving memory of Donald Marindire, fellow scribe and CDE of the culture)
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Takudzwa Kadzura

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

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