AFTER more than three months dominating the music scene with the album, Kutonga Kwaro, Jah Prayzah’s “reign” came to an abrupt end last Friday, when top dancehall artiste, Winky D, officially launched his album, Gombwe, into a market starved of new content.
By Tapiwa Ziwira
Having released Kutonga Kwaro in October last year, a month before the fall of Robert Mugabe from the presidency and Emmerson Mnangagwa’s subsequent rise, Jah Prayzah found himself in the limelight, as many of his songs were in sync with the political developments of the day.
Tracks like Kutonga Kwaro and Masoja were seen as specifically penned to mark the military’s role in Mnangagwa’s rise to the presidency in dramatic fashion.
Top musicians like Winky D, Oliver Mtukudzi and Sulumani Chimbetu also failed to release albums in time for last December’s festive season, leaving Jah Prayzah — the music hero of Mugabe’s downfall — to dominate playlists with insignificant competition from smaller artistes.
However, Winky D’s album launch appeared to have overshadowed Jah Prayzah’s hit tracks such as Ndini Ndam’bata, Kutonga Kwaro and Nzira Yerudo from popular playlists.
The rate at which the sound of Winky D’s music is being spreading everywhere can only be likened to the heavy presence of soldiers during the November 2017 military takeover that sealed Mugabe’s fate.
Whether it was by design or coincidence, Winky D, with no doubt, released an album at the perfect time, when the hype over Kutonga Kwaro was waning and fans were yearning for something new and big.
While it is still too early to conclude whether the album will keep holding, one thing beyond dispute is that Winky D has some unique way of quickly grabbing the limelight each time he releases an album.
Last time, when he gave us ChiExtra-terrestrial, the catchy lines on Gafa Party became an instant hit on the dancefloors. “Maex ese, gafa, Maex gafa…” was a favourite chant — one that could send even the shy ones to a dancefloor.
This time the Gafa President did it again. His new album, Gombwe, whose contents he kept a closely guarded secret until its official launch on Friday, came with a huge, unique surprise for many, and this was in the form of the involvement of Vabati VaJehova, an apostolic choral group, on the song Ngirozi.
Interestingly Vabati VaJehovah, with their signature chorus and rhythmic clapping, fit perfectly into the dancehall tune, making it one of the most unique and perfectly weird ever combinations in the history of Zimbabwean music.
The tune is just so sweet to the ears that it is set to become the sing-along of the moment.
Music critics have often complemented Winky D’s music as academic and a result of a deep thought process.
This is exhibited throughout Gombwe, and most specifically on the track Highway Code.
On the last album, the title track ChiExtra-terrestrial, Winky D used the elements of astronomy to make what can be one of the greatest and best-crafted love songs.
This time, on Highway Code, he speaks highly of his seduction tactics using the Highway Code.
ChiExtra, as he also calls himself, exhausts the highway rules and regulations, in a way so unique one can only admire and chant along to the rhymes that sit on the pulsating instrumentation.
Generally, Gombwe carries simple social commentary lyrics on the day-to-day issues that Zimbabweans face, which is remarkable in the sense that Winky D did not join the bandwagon of bootlicking the Mnangagwa administration.
Instead, throughout the album, Winky D tells the story of Zimbabweans, who are unemployed, those who are hustling to earn a living and, those who have gone into the Diaspora in search of better fortunes — it is like a prayer point.
The entire album brings, albeit with a little over kill, an atmosphere of the general national aspiration for a better, problem-free Zimbabwe. It speaks to everyone and that could add to the reasons why it quickly dominated the airwaves.