ALBUM REVIEW: TapiwaBatsirai - The Heartstrings: Mota Yemawaya (2010)

This year has been really exciting when it comes to the youthful Zimbabwean genres with the usual suspects putting in some great work to release albums and singles. Amid the competitiveness, there some new names worth talking about and we received this album from one such artist. His name is TapiwaBatsirai. The Heartstrings: Mota Yemawaya is his solid debut offering. 

The album opens up with the title track Mota Yemawaya which features the smooth voice of Mr Noxxa. TapiwaBatsirai introduces himself with a comfortable rapping style in Shona. The song is about the need for a life of fulfilment and he equates the failure to succeed as having a toy car compared to the real thing. He tells the world that we have to strive for the finest of what we can get and live life to the best we can. On Kuterera, he works a toned down but well done beat and shows his versatility in rapping. The song touches on love and how relationships require a lot of patience and peace in the heart. I liked the formula for successful relationships here! Some inspiring positive messages always do the job. Definitely a good track.

The album contains some seriously 'dope' tracks for the hip hop heads as well like the cut titled Hip Hop. The cast claims their love for Hip Hop as a culture. Mzansi was a surprise for me and i was totally blown away by the Ndebele spits that graced the upbeat instrumental. Given a chance this track is one of those club/party hits. Arguably the best track on the album is Aona Kunaka which again features the vocal prowess of Mr Noxxa. It recently featured on the podcasts and is a favourite already. It's a gospel track that explains how people can live a life of sin and be converted by the beauty of God and his love. It has a bouncy mid-tempo kizomba-zouk beat. The concept is intelligent and i personally feel that this dimension to gospel music is welcome. I am tired of the hymn recycling bla bla bla, i believe music fans deserve exciting gospel music as well and TapiwaBatsirai brings that on this beautifully sung tune. He also does the 'Shonglish' thing quite well i must say.

TapiwaBatsirai labels himself as Holy Hip Hop. Fair and fine but to me he is clean and largely morally correct Urban Grooves. Why i feel that way is because the tag Holy Hip Hop carries a lot of weight and if your album carries lyrics like "What the .... ? ... illuminate the dark, girls sucking on the sweets that we keep in the trunk." , well, you could find people asking a lot of questions especially in our judgemental society. This album is actually quite good especially for a debut and with direction i see TapiwaBatsirai becoming a force to reckon with. From the 11 tracks only 1 or 2 that i feel should have either been reworked or not included at all like Handidiba. Besides that i am not so sure he should have included Mota Yemawaya accapella. On a production level, some tracks were very well done and others not so much. Let the lows not deter you because this album is worth buying. I definitely look forward to hearing more from this man and i can say he is one of the finds of 2010!

Music - 6.5/10
Technical Sound - 6/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10