Michael Chiunda's 'Jeong' Album Showcases The Soothing Yet Gory Nature of Zim Hip Hop

 By Willard Nyahumbi 

Michael Chiunda’s debut studio album has beautiful melodies, rich production, only a handful of features and outlines his growth as an artist in a deceptively simple yet elegant way.

Michael Chiunda Jeong Album 2021 Zim Hip Hop

To start with, who is Michael Chiunda? The proud Mutare lyricist has had quite the journey thus far. For most music lovers their first introduction could have been either that Hitlab Cypher which earned him a Pogues Hip Hop Awards nomination or it could have been collaborations with friend Dough Major for Hazvide Dzungu and Wakuketa Staira which were displays of great penmanship. However, the journey starts way back for the rapper, which can be traced to the days he used to run with the moniker Meyniak. Now rebranded and no longer using a gimmick, Michael is an awesome lyricist and perfectionist with his work.

On the 29th of January 2021, the hip hop industry received a gift in the form of rapper Michael Chiunda’s debut studio album ‘Jeong’ - a thirteen track project - in what promises to be a beautiful year for the beloved genre.

Looking back to late 2020, Michael Chiunda dropped a four track EP titled Shelter which showed his true cadence and wordplay whilst addressing the political situation in Zimbabwe and addressing some mental health concerns. Fast track to the present and Michael releases Jeong as a lead project to that EP, showing his genius is indeed no fluke and that he is in the game to stay.

The rapper uses Jeong as his platform to comment on gender issues, his personal journey, sexual and social issues using a strong arsenal that comprises of his vocabulary, a touch of smooth production and great story telling skills. An independent rapper, Jeong is testament to his resolve as an artist and as an individual to be able to release such a project without a lot of financial clout one would get from a recording label. The Mutare native is currently based in Sweden and gracefully uses what he has picked up from residing in new surroundings to add up to his craft and the track list itself bears evidence to this fact.

Matamoros is the introduction to the album. It is an interview in which listeners are introduced to a voice, serving as a prelude it may seem to the whole project. The anonymous voice subconsciously preparing us for the greatness that is to follow.

The introduction is beautifully transitioned into Water, which opens with a hook done by Michael himself. Michael takes a journey through his past and dives into some uncomfortable truths that rise when we face the cold hard truth of our mortality. The soothing melody of the hook transcends one into a state of self-introspection owing to the rich production that can be heard throughout the project.

Boy loves Boy loves Girl is next on the list. Here Michael takes us through the unchartered territory which is sexual orientation. An avid supporter of human rights, Michael unapologetically confronts the stigma so prevalent and the prejudice people have towards members of the LGBTQ community. With the topic sacred ground in Zimbabwe, Michael stands true to what he believes in - equal rights. The production is sleek with some anonymity regarding who did the hook on this one.

Fuck the police, the fourth track on the project, is a journey through memory lane for the rapper who relays his escapades in Mutare when he was back in his hometown. Like most rappers a strong dislike for the men in blue is to be expected and the hardships of a troublemakers is part of what fuels his cocky arrogance which is heard throughout the song. Michael pays homage to his hometown, something he does throughout the project showing a strong love for where he hails from.

Michael Chiunda’s aspirations are laid bare in Exodus. The fragility of every artist is shown in this soulful song. Greatness and perfection are what he is gunning for and with his debut he lays the blueprints for what he is building towards and the excellence through which he will be remembered for forever. Everybody wants love in their craft and being the greatest is what he strives for coupled with the upliftment of the black man alongside that dream.

Mutare to Jarna gives an insight to Michael’s journey with him relaying his journey thus far. The title once more pays homage to Mutare, his hometown and the journey motif presented by the title sheds light on the strides he has taken as an individual. Now in Jarna, Sweden the journey for him is only beginning and we are buckled up bearing witness as greatness unfolds.

Michael has a poetic side to him which shows in most of his tracks. On this project he penned down a poem the apology which he directed to dogs! Yes, I know. The track serves as an interlude on the album. Here is what he’s had to say about the poem via his twitter; “the apology” is a poem I wrote for dogs. Growing up I had a crippling phobia of dogs. After falling in love with one of my “cousin’s” dogs I decided to work on my fear. I am still working on my fear. I am still working on myself and hope to adopt puppies. I have breeds I love now. The apology video -

One in the Chamber is the first of three featured tracks on the album. With an instrumental that gives off early 2000’s hip hop vibes he delivers a virtuoso performance. Backed by rich production the rapper makes good of such an opportunity and puts in a show for his fans. Using this song as a beacon it would be safe to proclaim that Michaels cadence is second to none. The wordplay is exquisite and is of international standard. Ultra-Violet Archer’s vocals are complementary to the easy laid-back bars laid by Michael.

The standout track from the album has to be The Story of Yvonne. In this song Michael flexes his great story telling skills by relaying a night out of one of his friends, a girl named Yvonne. The song is told from Yvonne’s viewpoint with Michael himself being a supporting character. The Story of Yvonne touches on Gender Based Violence (GBV), sexual orientation and the seemingly simple yet complex topic of consent whose line is blurred and has recently become the subject of social media uproar. This track is the epitome of Michael’s ability.

Sunflower Frequency II, sees the rapper penning a love letter to his significant other. A relief from the other tracks in the album Michael and Nargee Musharuqua takes turns in harmonising beautiful melodies to their loved ones. Smoke has a hard-hitting ring to it with the rapper declaring his profligacy and sending a message to all in the game, this is his intro - the debut - and he is vying for that throne.

To close out the project, Michael penned a beautiful outro track, Outro. The track opens with beautiful vocals from the rapper followed by a verse, a farewell to a partner of his. No love lost here, he makes it clear and it also serves as a beautiful disconnect to us the listeners. “may these words bring you peace” suggests he wishes everyone well past lovers and listeners included!

Jeong, finishes off the project. It’s a ten-minute call between Michael and a friend conversing on the title, the sentiments and the drive behind the project.

For a debut, this is a solid project.

Follow Michael Chiunda on Twitter-

Listen to JEONG HERE -

See more of Michael -

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