H-Town Hip Hop (Zimbabwe Mini-Doc)
Nomadic Wax's production team spent some time in Harare, Zimbabwe, in November 2010. Despite the challenges the country has faced over the past decade, this was a relatively stable and peaceful moment in time. That didn't mean it was easy to film. We were detained once while shooting two new music videos for Zimbabwean spoken word legend Comrade Fatso, and kicked off a rooftop downtown while shooting emcee OutSpoken's part for a collaboration track/video with DC-Based Zimbabwean hip hop pioneer DoomE Right of Zimbabwe Legit. Despite these hurdles, the arts community of Harare embraced us. The Book Cafe is one of the most exciting and interesting places I have been to anywhere in the world and the arts scene that it has helped to create and support is truly remarkable. Every night, a different young artist is featured. The audience is always made up of all the other local artists, from famous ones like Chiwoniso to up and coming ones like emcee Synik. Our team immediately fell in love with the Zimbabwean hip hop and spoken word scene, with its unofficial headquarters at one of the various wooden tables in the Book Cafe's restaurant. With a huge freestyle culture, and a unique approach to both bilingualism and English raps, Zimbabwean hip hop has a huge amount of potential. Dancehall has also exploded in popularity in Zimbabwe as whole, influencing other genres, like hip hop, as well. That said, the emcees we did meet were firmly rooted in their own hip hop identities, enthusiastically separating themselves from the 'pop' or 'traditional' music scenes. We were repeatedly treated to the most interesting and refreshing perspectives on the political situation in Zimbabwe from its local emcees, usually over some boney chicken and greasy fries from Nando's. One thing is for sure, as the country stabilizes and interaction with the country from outside increases, we are going to see a lot more great and innovative music coming out of Harare, especially from the hip hop scene.