ALBUM REVIEW: Kudakwashe/Munyaradzi (2007) - DKR
This week we look at the double disc Kudakwashe/Munyaradzi by DKR made up of Kudakwashe Musasiwa a.k.a B.Sun and Munyaradzi Nota. To be honest I started checking the post box a week before the CD rauya. I was that eager but usually when you wait for something like that you definitely do not want a disappointment, handiti? So this album had to be either all that or I was going to send it back kuUK ikoko and thank them for lending me their CD for a listen.
So the CD comes with this Create Your Own Mix software that Kuda Musasiwa created himself. I haven't used the software yet except on his myspace page but one can basically edit the songs on the CD by removing vocals or certain instruments etc and have their own feel to the music. One has to see this to believe it, zvinoshamisa vakomana. I will use it one day but that is a first and makes you proud to be Zimbabwean. I was amazed at how it was done and makes the listener part of the music!
When I heard the intro I realised that this album was conceptual, it is a journey and a journey back to Zimbabwe through music relating to our struggles, trials and tribulations we face. That caught my attention as a listener because I am Zimbabwean and I can identify with that(Kunyanya muDiaspora muno).
Every single track was worth a listen. Yes I said it every single track. Firstly, the inclusion of live instruments made a huge difference from computer made music and it is such a breath of fresh air especially coming from someone who is still young. It was so very African but still cool as ever! I mean who on earth gets a Hip Hop base line in there, some mbira, twungoma, chinyakare type choruses then raps in Chivet and mixes all of these so well?
The message behind each song was strong and well put out. This album is lyrically rich. I was talking to a good friend and we agreed that Kuda's strength is really in how he tells us real life stories that affect not only himself, but all of us and he raps from the heart. I felt the emotion in the songs. Nherera was on a different tip though it is eclipsed by most other tunes on the CD but the spoken word was a good approach. The best song for me was Kumusha, it was beautifully sung and it made us think about going home and seeing vanhu vese vatakasiya. It is a catchy yet simple song and more importantly the message relates to something maZimba mudiaspora look forward to. Close second is definitely Wilderness. The sampling was beautiful(taken from the song Mudzimu Mukuru by popular 80s Kwekwe group, Zig Zag Band), the message was on point, hip hop heads will dig this one fo sho. The other one I liked is Nyoka inyoka and of course the lead single Misodzi which also has a video.
Every album has a downside, on this one i think some of the choruses became predictable and in the end after some listens i was a bit tired of it all. If you heard his debut and expect the same stuff you might be a little disappointed because he takes a completely different direction on this one. Great stuff!
The lead single Misodzi/Wipe Your Tears
Again the message behind each song was very powerful, that consistency on both discs is what makes it such a great listening experience and no 'I'm fly, b***h this n*gga that' type songs. Phew! They spoke to us about their lives through their eyes without saying a word about how flashy or good-looking they may be(which is what we have come to expect when it comes to most rappers). The maturity is outstanding.
Unfortunately I did not think the Munyaradzi disc started off as well as I would've wanted. I had already communicated to these guys through myspace that I was not feeling the song Maricho/Hustles and sadly that still stands. Message iripo but i don't think Nota was vocally compatible there. I didn't like his singing. He quickly covered up on Chitauri which I think is the best jam on his half the beat is mad crazy(go to wikipedia or google under Credo Mutwa to get an in depth explanation about Chitauri). I loved it more coz of my 'blaz' associates but really it was a good song regardless '...Mother and father forget about love when they fight for Chitauri dough...' Classic stuff! That said I think a video for Chitauri was more appropriate instead of Maricho. The other songs are great, Nota is truly a rapper at heart and he brought that hardcore Hip Hop side to the African. Chenai was a great effort! That song spoke to me although I felt it lacked a little bit on the production side of things but still it made it... Vakuru is a very good song with a strong message. For Nota's first solo debut he delivered well.
Besides the one or 2 downfalls i mentioned i still enjoyed listening to it. Out of 10??? It gets an 8 and this is coming from someone who is very stingy with points!
All in all this is a Zimbabwean classic. If you really think about it these guys have created a new genre altogether. I look forward to hearing other rappers getting a hit or 2 produced on this mbira hip hop tip. If you haven't bought this album yet wakamirira ani?
Get the double disc @ http://www.dkrepublic.com