Saturday, 6 November 2010


Ken Wako alias ‘Shawishe’ Yes, Shawishe is not a stranger in the entertainment cycles. The same would be said about Chimwemwe ‘Mr. C’ Chikwana and Cliff ‘Cliffitonium’ Kawanga.
Shawishe says the three have teamed up with a number of foreign big names in music business in a project that will include names of the likes of 50Cent and Vybz Kartel, Philadelphia bred rhyme veteran Vinnie Paz of the group Jedi Mind Tricks, One of Zambia’s biggest rapper C4 and Shakira with Lil Wayne where they are going to launch the country’s urban music to cozy heights.
If I am to be asked what Urban Music is; would I be able to give a straight forward answer what this kind of music is?
To answer this, urban music or urban contemporary is a music radio format and this is according to Wikipedia.
Perhaps explaining the reason why we cannot separate urban music from their attendant DJs is delved in its genesis since the term was coined by the late New York DJ by the name of Frankie Crocker in the mid 1970s.
Urban music comprise a playlist that is made up entirely of hip hop/rap, contemporary R&B, pop, electronica and Caribbean music such as reggae, reggeaton and sometimes soca.
In Malawi, urban music is said to have started when a group called Real Elements consisting of Louis ‘Marvel’ Chikuni, Kimba ‘Plan B’ Anderson-Mutaba, Jerome ‘Stix’ Kalinani, and Quabaniso ‘Q’ Malewezi hit the industry with their brand of music.
Real Elements bombarded the Malawi airwaves with urban American sound with Chichewa lyrics which featured on channel O and performed in Malawi and opened in the UK for hip hop artists like Blak Twang.
This is believed to have inspired a new genre of Malawian music in the form of the urban hip-hop and rap music styles that was uniquely Malawian and since then it has grown big to produce stars like Tay Grin.
However, even when Tay Grin, Theo Thomson, Young Kay , The Basement, Biriwiri, Barry-One, Dominant 1, Dare Devils, Mafunyeta, 3rD Eye, Shawishe, Tigris, Maskal, Young Luv, Dan Lufani, Lomwe, Ceezy, Atumwi and JBro dominated the airwaves, still it was not possible to hit the market which was still dominated by artists like Joseph Phungu Nkasa, Thomas Che Nkhumba Chibade and Lawrence Mbenjere etc.
While it can be said that it is only Tay Grin who has enjoyed substantive international limelight most artists have failed to beat both the local and international market and this is the reason Shawishe, Mr. C and Cliffitonium are trying to re-do the Malawi urban ‘musicape’.
In the project Vinnie Paz will be doing what in Urban music lingo is called sharing bars with Shawishe, while Malawi's Young Kay will feature on an authentic track produced in Malawi by Shawishe’s younger brother Devine Sen$e..
There is also going to be official remixes of international acts with Malawian top artists adding the Malawian touch. These remixes are state of the art classics portraying the art of real turntablesim and DJ Technique.
This is where the project will feature 50Cent and Vybz Kartel in the mix with Jinx, Trey Songz together with Maskal & Young Kay, Gyptian and Nyasa Gurus...Shakira with Lil Wayne, Jinx, 3rd Eye & Dominant1... And also Chris Brown with Dare Devilz, Cyclone and the new kid rap sensation, Smitty Bun Simpson; Shawishe is calling them 'rare species' remixes because it is Malawi’s first.
The driving force will be the able hands of Shawishe as DJ for the success of the project to roll out end of this October, but perhaps the question that still lingers is how is it going to assist the urban music industry? Is it time for Malawi’s urban music to stand up?

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