Our Quick Thoughts As Jungle Loco Drops The Much-Awaited Album ‘GWALA MNANDI’


Of course, 2022 has been a glorious year for Zim Hip Hop. The impeccable quality of the latest albums, EPs, and singles being released is an attestation to this. And in this light, the inimitable lyricist Jungle Loco has finally dropped his much-clamoured-for album Gwala Mnandi. 

gwala mnandi

The release of Gwala Mnandi had been derailed by a myriad of unforeseen circumstances—personal and those beyond Jungle Loco's control—but it is finally here, and we are revelling in its combustible and eclectic excellence. Gwala Mnandi embodies the visceral and intellectual aspects of Jungle Loco's fiery lyricism, couching the universality of pain and optimism characterizing the human existential struggle in a manner that keeps you repeating the album infinitely. 

And we are aware that this album carries weighty consideration for the late iconoclast Donald Dodger Marindire: reflecting a deep reverence for rap as a living thing. The Intro track is the truism to this.

Gwala Mnandi is aptly punctuated with the haunting use of space and echo, a conspicuous quality that accentuates Loco's unmatched position as one of the top Zim Hip Hop emcees. What we like about Loco is his fearless approach towards collaborating with rappers, vocalists, and producers who are otherwise unknown by the generality of Zim Hip Hop fans, supporters, and sympathizers.

Gwala Mnandi tracklist

We are privy to his message of love, relationships, resilience, patience, optimism, and self-determination that are beautifully arranged in the album. The over-arching theme of course is the centrality of money (and material success), and the intersection with the concrete realities of daily life he exudes is a cultural expression of supreme excellence. Dzikamisa Hana is the perfect synthesis of this point in the album—take it easy in life, be careful of money's immorality and capriciousness: usaite dzungu pagwala ... mari dzengunzu. This track is the embodiment of the message that Gwala Mnandi carries on the overall.

In everything we do in life, the gwala is at the heart of our passions, longings, and desires. It is a concept he has brought to the fore with enviable clarity. Gwala Mnandi shows Jungle Loco's maturity from Bata MaStreets: The First Book of Loco.

There is an aura of contemplative thoughts permeating the whole album, showing that even if Jungle Loco will not command massive mainstream appeal as other top Zim Hip Hop artists, his truth is incontrovertible. Even the alluring arrangement of instrumentation in the album shows Jungle's nonchalant attitude towards fame. It is all about the bounce of the streets, as the track Ishe Komborera reveals; railing against fake preachers and blessers, and intimating towards an altruistic yearning of youthful solidarity particularly for the urban demographics, as the track Flexx featuring DJ Skqatta intimates.

The track Ndoda is Jungle Loco at his finest when it comes to the smooth, heartfelt, compassionate, and tender expression of romantic bonding. He always excels at that. It is a message that finds resonance in the last track Letter To My Son.

His proclivities towards raw truth is laid bare in the track MaEnergieslet us work on our energies, Jungle Loco declares. Shunning enmity, we see the Jungle Loco preaching altruistic love, self-love, and endless self-improvement. Bad energies because of the gwala.

He pours his heart out, although employing a sublime and cautious approach in not being too vulnerable, yet just delivering bars sufficient enough to inspire some sort of progressive praxis for the urban youth. 

And, predictably, where the central motif is money, the gwala, he fails to extricate his consciousness from individualistic narratives of material success in urban areas. Ishe Komborera seems to dilute this contradiction—he celebrates the success of the rap collective he identifies with, as well as family, friends, and fans. What we love is his unshakeable grasp of money and what it can do in our lives. 

The array of features is commendable as always. Shian, who was featured on Bata MaStreets: The First Book of Loco, comes back on the track Attitude, showing her unmatched lyrical prowess; smashing the barricades of sexism pervasive not only in Zim Hip Hop but Zimbabwean music at large. 

D'varren remains a familiar name in Loco's discography, being featured on the track Dhaza alongside Visza. The latter is also featured on Ndoda, alongside a new name, Vulture. Producers on Gwala Mnandi include Visza, Jonn The Producer, Cyber 101, Wescide Will, Pepzee, Hoolan Wolf, and Bless Beats. If anything, Jungle Loco deeply reveres impeccable production quality and there is not even any shred of doubt on that.

Jungle Loco's chance for emotional vulnerability gesturing towards a yearning for real love finally comes in the final track, Letter To My Son, and it is a poignant outpour of all the love in his heart towards posterity. It is beautiful. The same applies for the track Mama Don't Cry, produced by Visza. The existential reality of the parent-child relationship is an area in which Jungle Loco sips from his wealth of experience. Tiri kutsvaga gwala. The admonitions are priceless life lessons. 

Jungle Loco preaches the youthful urban culture informing the cultural base of Zimbabwe with defiant confidence and love from Masvingo. He has proved one can make it without the geographical conformity of Harare. Jungle presents himself as an organic intellectual in rap. 

Jungle Loco gwala mnandi audiocus
The 10-track album is available for streaming on Audiocus

The most impressive feature is that Gwala Mnandi is available on the Zimbabwean music streaming platform Audiocus, and it is thoroughly empowering. 

Gwala mnandi indeed. But we need to be careful with it. Credits to Denzel Sambo for the impeccable input on the album cover.

You can stream the latest 2022 Zim Hip Hop album Gwala Mnandi by Jungle Loco via this Audiocus link. Feast on the bars and sounds and share with us your thoughts.

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