‘3 Stripes EP’ by Bagga: A Fitting Allegory of Strength, Healing and Encouragement


HARARE—ZimHipHop musician Bagga has just recently released a fairly digestible ensemble of rap songs through an Extended Play (EP) curiously titled 3 Stripes. With the enviable, steady, and gradual renown he has been getting throughout the year as evidenced with how impressive his singles have been performing on digital platforms this year, a project of some sorts from him was one of the most highly anticipated things that needed to happen in the sphere of ZimHipHop. To his credit, Bagga has been unafraid to deliver something to match his rising renown. 

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A favourite in a tightly competitive rap game

Bagga weRagga, as he is affectionately known among his newfound enclave of Zim Hip Hop loyalists, is an undeniable voice in the rap game whose echoes cannot be easily ignored. He has resolutely held his fort in making a name for himself in the cut-throat Zimbabwean music landscape–carving indelible memories in the minds of those who care enough to afford him a chance. 

His metamorphosis from the backwaters of the Zimbabwean music industry to the limelight has been witnessed in how his newfound success has revolved via the lens of a brand transition—from Volts Bahgamasy to simply Bagga, a pivotal transition anchored on a short dance with Samanyanga Sounds when Holy Ten plied his trade alongside Saint Floew. 

Watching his recent live performance in Chitungwiza at Shoko Festival's Peace in the Hood concert, we were struck—yet without much surprise—with how he masterfully commanded his stage presence, and how the crowd incessantly clamoured for more from the maverick musician. 

Although it is manifestly clear that Zim Hip Hop rappers still, on the most part, leave a lot to be desired when it comes to matching their studio brilliance and prolificacy, denying the concrete material fact that Bagga is dearly loved in the streets by young urban listeners is an act of injustice to his earnest works. Hence the birth this 3 Stripes EP to dissect at hand, brought to life under the sonic guidance of experienced producer DJ Tamuka. 

Buoyed by his concrete jungle "Gevha" raps, his powerfully intoned yet booming baritone and mellow cries have earned him a spot among the top echelons of Zim Hip Hop's top rap names. It has not been a stroll in the park for Bagga's music to elicit such acclaim—and his current placement in the game sees him delving into that tricky territory where a tenuous balance between appealing to wider sections of listeners and remaining unchanging to your original fan-base. The new EP 3 Stripes by Bagga exudes a terse mainstream-meets-indie compromise, which, for now, will work.

A curious title: What is it about Bagga's three stripes? 

For most, the conventional imagery of three stripes comes across as the obvious reference the iconic Adidas logo recognizable anywhere around the world, regardless of language or culture. Adidas flourished from a small local sportswear provider in rural Germany into one of the world's foremost and unrivalled sneaker and sportswear providers. The three stripes from the perspective of the colossal sportswear manufacturer can be gleaned as symbolizing the seemingly insurmountable challenges that athletes face and resultantly conquer. Adidas says it represents “the challenge to be faced and the goals to be achieved.” 

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That is perhaps one part of a meta-narrative going on in Bagga's latest ZimHipHop offering. Whether or not this reliance on such figurative language was used by Bagga with laudable precision is something that can be properly assessed by the passage of time—evidently this is the homework for the listeners as per Bagga's intentions. The 3 Stripes EP nonetheless easily conveys intertwined motifs of awareness, strength, endurance and healing at the same time—and in this Bagga employs a potpourri of well-thought melodies, hooks that are by all accounts heavy refrains, smart production, and his usual defiant gangsta or "Gevha" raps to offer something that can be digested by Zimbabwe's youths without much complexities. 

Nyarara is the track that represents unhindered ambition to defiantly challenge the status quo, push conventional socioeconomic boundaries, and assiduously strive for substantive progress, both in this world and beyond. It is at that point where Bagga's raps are as concretely material as they are also aptly ethereal. He does well in maintaining such familiarity, though his clear intention to be a bit more explorative with sound is evidently palpable and portends healthy doses of brilliance. 

The indispensable need for self-awareness

Bagga puts unequivocal emphasis on the supreme importance of being acutely aware of one's own internal weaknesses in the track Miyedzo. Weaknesses eventually overshadow strengths if neglected. Bagga boldly alludes to the notion that the willingness and unshakeable resolve to introspect in the mirror—to accept one's weaknesses in the concernment of self-improvement—is in essence a display of vital inner strength. Bagga, in lyrical displays that seriously evade banality, show us how this innate self-victory plays a critical role in addressing weaknesses and finding the wherewithal to challenge and utilize your strengths. Which in itself is an important part of being self-aware. 

Spiritual Stripes

It is interesting to note that in the Bible, stripes represent chastening then healing. As when Jesus went to the cross, taking punishment for the rest of mankind. The stripes Jesus bore came from being whipped but healed by the day of resurrection. Stripes not only represent physical and emotional healing; they also represent prosperity. 

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed," as according to Isaiah 53:5. The predictable references to Christian religiosity are an entrenched mainstay of the EP and Bagga's music at large, sprinkled across the whole body of work and reinforcing Bagga's deep appreciation for spirituality. 

Bagga's new 2023 EP 3 Stripes is a much-needed body of work to solidify his name. He is definitely a people's favourite, and with the use of more melody and slower tempo in the latest EP, Bagga sets the ground for attracting new listeners without alienating those who are already familiar with his name. It will be interesting to see his videos for the EP, as well as the live performances flowing from this body of work. With three songs plus a bonus, under a curious 'Section A' title, fans have something to deliberate on. Which is commendable.

  • EP rating: 7.9 

Stream/Listen to 3 Stripes by Bagga here :

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