EDITORIAL: The steady rise of Zim Hip Hop – From marginalization to mainstream triumph, and why we should celebrate this win

The Editor; The Zimbabwe Sphere

HARARE – Once relegated to the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s diverse musical landscape, hip-hop has emerged victorious, shattering the barriers that once marginalized its electrifying beats and lyrical prowess. This long-overdue triumph is a cause for celebration, not just for the artists and aficionados of Zim Hip Hop, but for the entire nation.

Zim Hip Hop musicians Holy Ten, Saint Floew, Voltz JT, Tanto Wavie, Bling4, Malcom Mufunde
From top left: Holy Ten, Voltz JT, Malcom Mufunde, Tanto Wavie, Bling4, Saint Floew. [Image: File Photo]

In the annals of Zimbabwean music history, there existed a time when the hypnotic sounds of hip-hop struggled to find their rightful place. This was not due to any lack of talent or entrepreneurial acumen on the part of its creators and advocates. Rather, it was an unfortunate reality that prevailed, permeating every aspect of the music industry. 

Yet, amidst this sheer and ostensibly unending frustration, a resilient and impregnable spirit burned brightly within the hearts of devoted Zim Hip Hop adherents, propelling them to redefine the boundaries of artistic success.

Young Gemini
Young Gemini

Over the years, an enviable abundance of immensely gifted emcees and producers has graced the Zimbabwean hip-hop scene, possessing talents that rival some of the most revered names in the global hip-hop pantheon. 

However, despite their undeniable skills, these remarkable musical acts struggled to ascend to the heights of eminence. Their ascent was hindered by circumstances both within and beyond their control.

These individuals, confronted with an unforgiving environment, demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their craft. They poured their souls into recording and releasing rap music, penning and promoting marvelous and impactful articles on various platforms and blogs. 

Kikky Badass

It was as if their very lives depended on it, as if nothing else in this harsh existence took precedence over the creation of art. Yet, their phenomenal efforts often went unrecognized.

Some artists abandoned music altogether, while others chose to fade into the background, and others kept pushing despite the hostile environment. 

Although the prevailing reality on the ground dictated a pernicious and pervasive yet misguided perception that Zim Hip Hop would never inhabit mainstream soundscapes in Zimbabwe, there was an unwavering belief upon which the whole industry (regardless of our differences in opinion, style, and general approach to art) coalesced around—that partaking in rap was not an effort in vain. 

It was a worthwhile cause. A life-saving artistic exercise and escapade that could save lives and ultimately earn the nationwide recognition it so richly deserved.

Noluntu J
Noluntu J 

Intermittent glimmers of brilliance provided solace to certain Zim Hip Hop acts, bolstering their confidence in an industry that often seemed tenuous at best. However, such moments of acclaim were fleeting, unable to withstand the pervasive dominance of other genres. Yet, this line of thinking misses a crucial point: Music is music, and art is art, regardless of the form it takes.

Hip-hop has always functioned as society's mirror, reflecting the myriad social, political, and economic issues that shape our world. Worldwide, it serves as a cathartic and emancipatory force, empowering urban youth to voice their opinions, views, and feelings. Zimbabwe is no exception. 

Bagga music ZimHipHop

We have embraced hip-hop, a cultural movement born from counter-hegemonic roots and shaped by significant evolutionary moments. 

Contextualizing it within our own unique setting, we have harnessed its power to express our disjointed thoughts and fragmented hopes in an unkind and brutal contemporary world.

It is a woefully tragic irony that despite its weighty significance, hip-hop in Zimbabwe has long been denied the mainstream appeal it rightfully deserves. Yet, it resonates with everyone. 

In the final analysis, it gives voice to our deepest thoughts and aspirations, providing an outlet for expression in a world that often stifles individuality. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Zim Hip Hop surged exponentially into the spotlight, illuminating its brilliance for the world to behold. 


We must acknowledge those visionary hip hop acts who unwaveringly believed in the power of this genre when no one else did. They paved the way through a thorny path, clearing obstacles for the current luminaries to showcase their talents on a nationwide scale. History will vindicate their unwavering faith in the face of indifference.

Today, Zim Hip Hop enjoys massive mainstream appeal, and this is no mere exaggeration or figment of the imagination. It has become an undeniable force to be reckoned with. 


Since circa 2020, Zim Hip Hop has firmly established and rooted itself within Zimbabwe’s mainstream soundscapes, steadfastly occupying spaces where it flourishes. 

The genre brims with vitality, providing a life-saving and awe-inspiring outlet for the country's youth to amplify their voices on a wide range of pressing issues that dominate their lives.

The newfound success of Zim Hip Hop is an undeniable cause for celebration. 

However, it also marks a critical juncture that ineluctably requires strong intergenerational solidarity between those who paved the way and the younger artists who now dominate the airwaves, car radios, markets, parties, and so forth. 

Collaboration, both in artistic and business realms, is an essential key for continued nuanced success, unlocking more mutually beneficial opportunities. 

Natasha Muz

We find ourselves in a moment that we have eagerly, patiently, and arduously awaited for all these years. The thorny journey from the fringes of Zimbabwean music to dominance in mainstream spaces is an awe-inspiring feat that demands our admiration and gratitude. 

It is incumbent upon all of us to gracefully embrace the success of Zim Hip Hop, building upon its solid foundation to propel this cultural movement to even greater heights. 


The onus is on us to join hands in tremendous unison as we celebrate this long-overdue triumph – a concrete triumph for that matter – cherishing wholeheartedly the artists who blazed the trail (who might otherwise be referred to as the ‘OGs’), and opening more doors for the young artists who have turned Zim Hip Hop into the success it is now; as well as creating more opportunities for future generations. 

Zim Hip Hop’s astronomical rise to prominence is a win for everyone involved, a testament to the resilience, creativity, and undeniable power of this musical force. It is a rise that at times feels surreal, but it is the concrete material reality on the ground—people in Zimbabwe are vibing to Zim Hip Hop, the artists consistently deliver, and there is something for everyone. 

The variety of talent we have in Zim Hip Hop is breathtakingly beautiful, refreshing, and powerfully authentic and relatable. There are so many names in Zim Hip Hop right now who are enjoying mainstream success and in all honesty this is a pleasant sight for one to fix their gaze on. 

And may such success continue; with all signs of relenting subject to being adeptly quashed. 

It is our duty to  to embrace gracefully and proliferate the success of Zim Hip Hop, build further improvements on such solid foundation, and take this cultural movement to the world and beyond. 

This is why we say Zim Hip Hop’s rise is a win for everyone. It inspires many other artists that rap is a worthy cause and one should never quit. 

The glaring floodlights of history have been cast upon Zim Hip Hop, and it is only right to say more success beckons, and more artists ought to rise to the fore: inspiring, entertaining, and empowering the nation. 

Editor’s note: The images are just for illustrative and contextual purposes. The list of new age ZimHipHop artists doing it big is not exhaustive. 

Post a Comment