A Minute With Jax 'Da Beat Bully' As He Exudes Confidence With Zim Hip Hop's Direction

By Takudzwa Kadzura 

Music production is a phenomenon that encapsulates the entire lifecycle of a song. It refers to the entire process of bringing together songwriting, composing, sound design and the final mixing and mastering. When Soul Jah Love passed away, journalists and media personalities of all sorts jostled to the producers he had worked with to capture raw details of this enigma – the intricate details of how he birthed his art.

That’s how relevant a music producer is. And interestingly, there is an inconspicuous line separating a music producer and beat maker – the difference is indeed slight to many of us who never bother to scratch further the music surface. In hip hop, beat selection is what separates timeless songs from mediocre releases.  

For greater detail and context, we went up-close with one of the hottest producers in the country, the Gutu-based Passionate Mujeketwa, otherwise known as Jax. Of late, the producer, who proclaims himself to be ‘da beat bully,’ has been very instrumental in the production of R.Peels’ projects. His mastery has also blossomed as shown in one of the current hot singles in hip hop, These Days by Voltz. That and more persuaded us to reach out to the producer, and below are excerpts of the short interview [slightly edited for clarity and brevity].

ZimSphere: You have been in the game before; top names started approaching and now the question in every hip hop head is, who is Jax?

Jax: My real name is Passionate Mujeketwa, I’m from Gutu.

ZimSphere: At what age did you start producing? And have you tried rapping or singing before?

Jax: I was 17. Yeah man, initially I was a rapper, tried rapping but then I came across Fruity Loops Studio and I was like (damn it), this is what I wanna do for the rest of my life.

ZimSphere: Which music and artists did you grow up listening to, and does that reflect your sound?

Jax: I grew up on hip hop and reggae dancehall. My big brother would play a lot of dancehall but hip hop, man, I have been in the culture since I was a kid.

ZimSphere: You are the hands behind Muchinjiko album. Tell us how you and R.Peels met?

Jax: So, what happened is we met online. One of my buddies introduced me to his music and I was like yeah, I wanna work with this dude. And here we are now.

ZimSphere: How is your relationship with him?

Jax: R.Peels is my bro, we cool.

ZimSphere: As an upcoming producer what was your biggest challenge? And comparing with where you are today, share how you managed to navigate your way in the game?

Jax: Let’s see; finding rappers to sit on my beats. I used to look for rappers because nobody wanted to. I kept at it, remained in my lane doing my thing making beats and now I’m here.

ZimSphere: Which local producer do you admire the most?

Jax: Locally, I admire myself the most; I got other producers that I look up to. I really like what DJ Tamuka is doing, he is one of the best to do this and I respect him. But in hip hop I used to listen to Take Fizzo when I was in high school. Mclyne Beats is dope too.

ZimSphere: Back to your sound. Do you think you have what it takes to transform hip hop and what advice would you give to an upcoming producer particularly about sound?

Jax: That’s a tough question. I think I have what it takes, not to necessarily transform but to make an indelible contribution to the game. To an upcoming producer, I’d say keep doing what you are doing and put God first. He always has the answers and knows what’s best for you. So put God first before you do anything, do not let anybody come stop you from doing what you love. Love will prevail at the end of the day.

ZimSphere: Do you see yourself establishing a record label? Tell us more if there is any plan regarding that?

Jax: I’m trying to form a music production company/record label. There are plans already in motion. It will be comprised of producers that I sign and we will work with each other. At the end of the day the aim is creating one thing – we are stronger together than we are apart. I can’t really disclose much but it’s going to be be fire when it comes out.

ZimSphere: Which first 5 young rappers would you sign under your label?

Jax – Right now there is Spaze the Black Card, Hilton 263, he is from here [Gutu], and Skizzy. This kid [Skizzy] is hard man. I can’t get to 5 (chuckles).

ZimSphere: We’ve observed you are an A-Reece fan. Do you think Zimbabwe has that calibre of talent? Is there any chance that Zim Hip Hop will surpass what has happened in South African hip hop?

Jax: Yeah, I think we have it. The talent is there in the streets. I do not think we can surpass South African hip hop given we are years behind as a [formal] industry and as a genre. In Zimbabwe we have a lot of catching up to do, provided the game unites and put egos aside. We need to collaborate and start working; we can try to catch up with SA but I do not think we can surpass it. Put egos aside!

A producer from Gutu whose rise and stardom are no longer in question translate to odds being defied. At this rate, a genre stereotypically categorized as a big city culture is not in any doubt regressing when it comes to its reach. Jax dreams of a day hip hop stresses more on unity and make collaborations. We have no choice than to firmly agree.


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