Effortless Flows, Seamless Verses, Knowledge Of Science, History, And An Infinite Vocabulary: Malcom Mufunde & Synik Had It All In Album TRASH

In this Retro-Reviews piece, we explore the amazing intellectual and musical prowess shown by Malcolm Mufunde and Synik in their joint album TRASH (2021); an album intended to boldly glorify the experimental, and a message to flimsy competition that they should up their game.

trash Malcolm Mufunde and Synik ZimHipHop albums


Malcom Takurira Mufunde is a Zimbabwean rapper and songwriter from Chitungwiza. He is not a new face in hip hop. 

He is that intelligent rapper whose intellect-infused rhymes will blow your mind and make you ask yourself the question, 'why didn't I know this guy all this while?'

He has been around for a while in the underground rap scene but perhaps gained noteworthy recognition within the ZimHipHop sphere in 2015/16 after the release of his two mixtapes “Dreams And Pains” and “Dreams End Pains”. His discography includes a third mixtape BARD, which was independently released; as well as KWEDU EP and Thank U 4 Everything album.

Malcom could easily be the most Chi-Town conscious person in hip hop. He growls and sneers at lesser rappers and makes you beg for mercy as he raps circles around your heads. Yeah, he does that.

Synik, the legend behind the iconoclastic album Syn City as well as the recent A Travel Guide For The Broken, has been flexing his production abilities for a while. And we love it. He keeps it strictly conscious. His instrus, to the unacquainted, may carry the flair of an ardent learner who is quite aware others may not rate such sequences of beats as overly exquisite. He is content nonetheless. We however know Synik is a boom-bap maestro.

With such a context, Malcom & Synik teamed up to make TRASH; the album is anything but trash. In actuality. Concretely. 

A lyrical and technical masterpiece, and easy on the ear too because it's not over-produced, TRASH is a rendezvous of two unapologetic and experimental geniuses. 

Malcom said he likes trash beats and maybe that's why they called it trash but the instrumentals aren't trash either. Synik is a maestro in his own right. So maybe TRASH is anything that isn't at their [desired] level. It's a reach of course but it is fun to think about. Yep.

TRASH: Malcolm on the fierce raps and vocals; Synik on the instrus and production.

A lovable experimental and experiential sonic journey that may make (that made) other cats and spectators unsettled. (Or so we would like to think. It is fun to think about.)

And here's our brief breakdown of some of the noteworthy tracks:


You can call me Suge Knight, I murder your best rappers//
That's a sentence that could have me on death row//
I'm just kidding I'm a bad joker like Leto//

Murder gets people on a death row penalty, or at least it used to but Death Row was Dr Dre's Label and Studio. The bar was a joke but he is a bad joker because murder jokes are apparently not funny and Leto is the worst Joker in the Batman and DC movies.

The song is really Malcom stating his position in rap circles. Claiming to being the best and blowing the rap scene, blowing off other emces and blowing the beats.

The Fam

From the greatest of all time and everyone's favorite cartoon Tom and Jerry the little mouse( I'm a menace to you cats and im worse than Jerry//), to adult movie references (I am to cyphers what Jonny** Sins is to porn//
I done screwed everybody** in the game that you can think of//), to solid and enviable superhero movie references and knowledge of physics, chemistry, and the human anatomy, Malcolm really said it all. Fiercely. No mercy for flimsy competition.

"I am a barcode emcee every line is a bar//." 


And that was not a tenuous claim; that's just facts. He says a lot, cites a lot and makes a lot of references and double entendres that if you're not knowledgeable in some area you will definitely miss a bar. That is okay though, because it is how we all learn. No worries. 

Here's an example:

They put money on my flow (floor) like I'm a stripper on stage...

It comes to this: flow as in how he utters his words, and how many words in bar. Then floor as in, the ground. It's probably the easiest one but you will know what to look for when you listen to the album.

"The best rapper alive, since we are all here stating the obvious"

It’s an inconspicuous intro line, delivered without any verve. But it starts one of the greatest Zimbabwean rap songs of 2021.


Clearly, he put pen to paper on this for his mother.

Like a lot of other emcees or more precisely every other profession that does not include academia and formal employment, RAPPING is not something mothers want their children to do. Anyone who's been there will you how it feels: a painful experience. Yet, paradoxically, more emboldening. It is as dialectical as it gets.

The song starts of with his mother asking if Malcom is still writing raps or he has found employment. Bills have to be paid so we have to understand both the mother's and son's  predicaments in their respective perspectives. Mhamha is a song explaining what he does to his mother.

I don't write verses** l write chapters//
Hip hop's** messiah got the scars for the doubters//
I'mma copyright the skill on my album// before my style** goes viral** like the guy from Gangnum//

The asterisks show internal rhymes. It is something he does on most of his songs as complex as it is to really pull of. That little scheme is an AABB rhyme scheme. This scheme divides a section of four lines into two rhymed couplets, each of which sounds kind of complete in itself.

So Malcom places internal rhymes between the A-A and also between the B-B rhymes.

As one of the masters of rhyme, Malcom is not only multisyllabic on any given verse, but he’s also ferociously honest, hilarious and sometimes experimental. He really did put on his mother laughing at him for rapping. He drags the listener into thinking he’s going somewhere and then goes somewhere else entirely. He weaves into, out of, around and through beats, manipulating his cadence and speed to influence the beat itself.

Off The Top (freestyle)

Freestyles are just supposed to be enjoyed and we do not have to put much thought into them. Off the top means he was spontaneous and the track was not pre written.

The guy is immensely talented. This gift is priceless.  He seamlessly weaves through that freestyle like it's the easiest thing he has to do. It is really not too different from him writing stuff down. The biggest difference here is he uses a lot of schemes. Normally Malcom sticks to one long scheme. Perhaps that is because he consciously has to write a verse down and maybe even make corrections, et cetera.

For this freestyle, he probably just got a mic and started spitting bars. The double entendres are there, the multi syllables are there and the multiple references are there; but it's not as convincingly coherent as we'd expect. That's why freestyles are supposed to be enjoyed.

if l die l brought my will to the table like Jada Pinkett

(Will Smith)/(Will- a legal document that is a formal declaration of intent to dispose properties etc after death).

London Underground

Why name it London Underground? That's something we might have to take up with him. The thing with great lyricists is you can take what they say in multiple ways. So here's a wild take:

Britain's subterranean network is one of the most complex transport networks in the world if not the most complex. Arguably. The underground tunnels were built in the World War era to prevent damage from bombs and everything.

Since this particular song is a lecture on what rap is, at least to Malcom himself, he thus describes himself as a complex form of rap just like London's underground tunnels --- perhaps even more complex and says he is at the top of the food chain.

"I rap for those who think they rap".

He is the vision at the top!

The Perfectionist

The album is incredibly coherent. It beautifully and masterfully narrates the story of Malcom as a rapper, as someone who is aware of his craft.

It is a tumultuous story, but he tells it exquisitely.

The Perfectionist is the last track of the project; he calmly claimed Kingship and stated his contempt for perfection if that exists since things continually evolve (hence, TRASH).

And word to Harare//
You were sleeping on me so l became your worst** nightmare//
Honestly, l just** wanted to quit**//
But you kept** pressing for more music and I'm a piano key//
So l gave** in to the pressure//
And l gave** out these bars as a unit of measure//
It's chemistry//
The explosive** reaction to my bars//
l put the ordinance** in the element to spit a noble gas//

The asteriks show internal rhymes. Malcom uses an AAXX rhyme scheme throughout the song: AAXX means 4 lines/bars. AA shows the the first 2 lines rhyme and XX means the last 2 lines do not rhyme with anything. It's hard to pull off but all 4 lines are connected with internal rhymes. So you decide if they rhyme or not. (Now we suddenly find ourselves in a Lupe rap lecture.)

Explaining the lyrics...

People wanted Malcom to put out more music so he gave in to that pressure (in the context of that time) like a piano key and, you guessed right, he made some music. You press a piano key and a sound/note is produced.

Second part is, he gave out bars. A bar is unit of pressure and bars in hip hop are lines.

The third part is straight forward.

The other 4 tracks were reviewed. Just decided not to take the fun out everything so you can break them down yourselves.

Flow, tone, rhyme schemes and all that other good stuff aren’t really even thought of as essential to a rapper’s talent or perhaps essential to hip hop in Zimbabwe because apparently it doesn't bring in money. Malcom, however, is blowing doors off with his style. His raps are versatile, measured, carry weight and class. Can be a little obscene here there but who cares right?

We do have to give Synik for producing an excellent piece of art. There is no world where Malcom and Synik are not one of the best MCs of all time in Zimbabwe.

Listen to/download the album TRASH by Synik & Malcolm Mufunde below and share with the world your thoughts:

Post a Comment