ALBUM REVIEW: Stunner - Team Hombe (2009)

I've witnessed Stunner rise steadily from the days of Rudo Rwemari, experimenting as a dancehall artist and blossoming into one of Zimbabwe's most respected urban rappers. His 6 year career has seen him release the albums Hameno, KaLife and the latest one, Team Hombe. I finally managed to get my hands on the CD copy of the album that is available in stores which is quite different from the initial one which was to be titled Tambai Ngoma.

The album title was changed from Tambai Ngoma after the huge success of the single Team Hombe which graced the Power FM charts since mid - 2009. The song is about Stunner's rise in the music industry, from the days when people gave him no chance at all. It boasts of an American influenced southern beat with some clever imagery from Stunner. I can tell that he is enjoying his success to the fullest. The album opens up with an intro then Handimbokusiye produced by MacDee. This track is a great opener for the album and i reckon it has the potential to become an anthem this year. It has that distinct Urban Grooves feel and is rather danceable. Paushamwari Hwedu has a clever concept where the chorus is an old nursery school rhyme. ExQue features on this one, i've heard better verses from him. Shamwari neshamwari adopts a kizomba rhythm and surprisingly features Diana Samkange. Since the release of Hameno, it was rumoured that Diana and Stunner did not see eye to eye. Seems like they have patched up now and on this song they sing about just being friends even though people believe they are lovers.

Madziya Sister reminds me of a 50 Cent song and as i write this i am looking for the song in my library even though i have my doubts that i have it (before i even got to searching i remembered the song, I Get Money). I do like the Stunner song, it's DRIPPING of swagger with some nice energy to his flow. The freestyle by Jnr Brown will have you laughing and is enjoyable, the man anenharo paFlow hama dzangu. Kana Usipo really tickled my fancy. It borrows the melody in the chorus from somewhere but i just cannot seem to put my finger on it. Anyhoo... Cash features a heavy line up with B.G, Yoz, Johnny K and Jnr Brown (they are the ones i could figure out given the album back cover does not include features). It's one for the Hip Hop heads out there and for me this is the direction Zim Hip Hop should take. The whole line up does a great job on this song. I am against what has characterised Zim Hip Hop of late where only 'English spitting' Emcees are recognised as 'hip hop'. Takoresa is a remix to Live Your Life by T.I and i'm not so sure that it should have been part of this album. I enjoy the lyrics and surely Stunner made the most of it but more of his original work would have been more appreciated here. Rihanna's chopped up vocals are cool and stuff but for an official release? I don't think so Mr Stunner!

One thing i do not understand is why Ex Girlfriend, Dai and Tambai Ngoma are missing from this CD. These were possibly the best songs on the previous copy and they really elevated Stunner into a different class. I really need to understand his reasoning behind the ommission. There are a couple of songs that the album can do without as well. I get the feeling that on this album he was trying to mould his image towards 'Zimbabwean Rap' incline. He gets the tick from me. All in all, Stunner maintains his tried and tested formula of catchy lyrics and banging beats. It works and Team Hombe will rate as one of the hottest albums getting into 2010. Stunner fans of old will definitely like this one and it comes recommended for a taste of some of Urban Grooves best music.

Get the album here: http://tazzoitacashrecords.podbean.com/

Cover Art - 7/10 (great work and resurrection from the KaLife cover)
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 6.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10