BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE inaugural Spit Fire rap and hip-hop music talent search organisers yesterday said the music competition set to begin in early March was designed to empower gifted youngsters in the two genres and help them rise from the backstage.
The talent search’s founder and executive producer Batsirai Dale Kapfumo said the programme — themed Spit Fire, Elevate the Game, Be a Gem of the Genre — sought to identify a new generation of career-minded hip-hop artistes.
“The Spit Fire is Zimbabwe’s first talent search competition which focuses solely on rap and hip-hop to unearth undiscovered talent in the grassroots across the country,” he said.
“We are hunting those artistes without access to recording studios, finances for recording and those who simply have not been given a chance yet, but possess not only the skill to spit bars, but to write their own lyrics, possess a unique style and have more to talk about than just money, drugs and sex.”
Kapfumo said they also wanted to promote the hip-hop culture beyond singing competitions.
“For one to be eligible for the auditions, they must be a hip-hop artiste above 16 years, be on social media, be able to compose their own lyrics, possess the basic elements that make a great emcee; like flow, voice, delivery, authenticity and subject matter,” he said.
“We will be looking at the contestants’ emotional background stories as this will say a lot about their hunger for success in hip-hop music.”
Kapfumo said for the open auditions that would be held in 12 cities across the country, contestants were to register on https://spitfire.co.zw/register/ with the five best hip-hop artistes set to be chosen from each city. The final 96 contestants from the first round would then meet in the next phase dubbed “Cities Meet”.
“From the Cities Meet phase, eight contestants will be chosen for the next round which will be the quarter finals, with only four set to be chosen for the semi-finals,” he said.
“The two contestants, who will make it, will then meet in the grand finale, where each contestant will compose and perform an original song in front of a live audience.”
Kapfumo said the second part would bring up “the truest essence of hip-hop” as the two contestants would take turns “insulting” each other through improvised rap lyrics for three rounds while the third part, “Role Model”, would have each contestant picking one child (12 years) from their neighbourhood to mentor.
The mentorship programme will include a joint project, whereby they will give back to the community to bring positive change in their community through music.
Kapfumo said in every phase, except the grand finale two weeks before the audition, aspiring contestants would go online and pick a theme from those listed to compose their audition song.
The contestants will also pick a beat from those available on the official Spit Fire website and compose their audition song to be performed before celebrity hip-hop judges and a live audience.
“Audience will also vote via voting lines, and social media pages that will be created specifically for voting,” Kapfumo said.
Eventually, he said, the four most outstanding under-resourced and talented hip-hop artistes would win prizes that would include cash, studio time to record an album, one year supply of photo shoots, music videos for every track on the album, broadband internet package, mobile data package, airtime and an award plaque.