Zimbabwean-born rapper and hip hop pioneer Herbert Qwela Schwamborn, aka Metaphysics, has traversed many worlds and genres in the music industry, redefining and remodelling what it means to make music, and in the process positioning himself as an icon of his generation.
His energy and timeless dedication has seen him break into ranks that are a preserve of the crème de la crème.
In 1991, Metaphysics was instrumental in the formation of A Peace of Ebony with Tony Chihota, Keith Farqhuarson and songstress Chiwoniso Maraire.
Together, they rocked the airwaves in Zimbabwe with internationally polished lyrics and performances that matched the best anywhere in the world at that time.
Metaphysics is the most famous for being a member of the multi-platinum selling German band Söhne Mannheims (Sons of Mannheim).
He is also the founder of Gandanga Music Zimbabwe, a record label based in Zimbabwe and Germany.
According to Metaphysics, music is his passport to the world, and through music he touches the soul of the world.
Described by AfricanHipHop.com as Africa’s foremost global hip-hop ambassador, Metaphysics has worked in major cities of the world from New York to London.
“I try to stay focused on a socio-political edge and combine spiritual metaphor and hard punching reality within my lyrics,” he said.
Metaphysics has worked with some of the greatest rappers in the game, including Slum Village, Inspecter Deck, Buju Banton and Mr Vegas in studio, and rocked live shows with such hip hop heavies as Busta Rhymes, WyClef Jean, Cappadonna, Soehnemannheims, Xavier Naidoo and Brothers Keepers.
“In small circles where people know what we have managed to do I get a lot of respect. In and around Europe, I am somewhat of a celebrity, but I have been in the public eye for so many years now I realise that it’s just part of the job. When I was younger, though, it was such an ego booster,” he said.
He added that the advent of the new multi-media technology, music publishing had become a free-for-all.
He said the ability to predict or set trends passion, drive and patience as well as a disciplined work ethic and God were keys to his success.
The rapper said he lived his work, and that kept him sane.
He said African writers had more to offer than the US.
“I’m not sure but I think that the CIA’s plan to pacify and destroy African-Americans is working – that US noise does not even make sense any more, I just respect the business ethic in the US right now and the team work. That is what we need to learn,” he said. – Afro Futures