Music has ability to shape vocabulary

Enzo Ishall came through with Muchiround to describe errands or hustles. Since then, chiround has become a hustle or a piece job that someone can earn money from.

MUSIC has always played a crucial role in society since time immemorial, from disseminating powerful messages, to evoking emotions.

Social ills such as gender-based violence, child marriages, drug and substance abuse have been addressed through song, making a positive impact in transforming communities.

Besides its positive influence on society, music has had a profound influence on language, particularly in the realm of street language better known as street lingo or slang, especially in an urban setup — particularly in high-density suburbs.

Street lingo exudes a unique form of expression and music gives people freedom to interpret it in ways they understand.

Genres that have had a huge impact on street language are Zimdancehall and hip-hop with the lyrical prowess of artistes such as Enzo Ishall, Killer T, Seh Calaz, Bagga, Master H, the late Soul Jah Love, among others not only captivating audiences but also  introducing a new lingo on the streets.

These artistes have created their own words and phrases that resonate with their audiences who have interpreted, adopted and infused the unique words captured from the songs into their conversations and expressions.

Songs like Hushamwari Hwenyu by Zimdancehall chanter Killer T, Gevha by rising hip-hop artiste Bagga, Dhanzi which has become popular as the “Nawanadem” song by Master H featuring Voltz Jt and Enzo Ishall’s Muchiround among others are driving the street language momentum.

The track Dhanzi featuring hip-hop artiste Voltz Jt include a catchy phrase Nawanadem.

The hype surrounding the phrase had people incorporating it into their conversations even though its true meaning was vaguely understood.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style Master H’s manager Bendiction Ndou, who is otherwise famous on the internet as Mpondasugar, said: “It is Jamaican Patois meaning Tha one I nem or the one I name in English. It is simply a leading line to what you are going to say or an outro to what you just said.”

Rising Afro-pop and hip-hop artiste Bagga, born Nigel Nyagato, who won the hearts of many with his song Gevha, said the word described someone who is streetwise and a hustler.

Another song that influenced street language is Hushamwari Hwenyu by Zimdancehall artiste Killer T, which included the word mamero depicting fake friends or snitches. People have added it to their expressions to describe a person with bad intentions.

Enzo Ishall came through with Muchiround to describe errands or hustles. Since then, chiround has become a hustle or a piece job that someone can earn money from.

Other artistes like Seh Calaz came through with songs like Bholato which people or ghetto youths interpreted to mean “I’m good” or “I am okay”.

Another song Pamamonya Ipapo by the late Soul Jah Love with catchy phrases like “tinovadyira bhonzo” also played a significant role in the development of street language.

The impact of music on language in communities probably highlights the power of music in shaping vocabulary, as well as influencing and fostering cultural change.


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