NEW MUSIC: Bill Kollekt Delivers Critical and Conscious Lyricism in New Song ‘The Prayer’


“THIS year I went through depression and suicidal thoughts so when I wrote this, it was my first step towards conquering depression,” Bill Kollekt, whom some may have previously known as Ill Manner, told ZimSphere

And this curt but heavy statement is instructive in understanding and appreciating what Bill Kollekt tried to convey in his latest single The Prayer. And perhaps it explains the name change. 

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For Zim Hip Hop lyricist Bill Kollekt, music serves as the apt vehicle for sorely needed catharsis and emancipation from the angst that reigns supreme among us; in all facets of life. And at times, it can be quite strenuous to stridently express loyalty towards rap lyricism that radiates critical consciousness and a questioning sensibility, given other hip-hop sounds that are trending in the country.

But for him, these considerations hinder the unshackled expression of art that gestures towards inner content and liberation. His new song The Prayer vindicates the notion that sometimes all we need, to get a semblance of what freedom can taste like, is delivering lyrics that address the myriad socioeconomic, political, and cultural ills that afflict us. 

He doesn’t pay much attention to the mainstream urban sounds in vogue at the present moment; all he desires is living his purpose, freeing his mind, and spreading truthful knowledge to liberate troubled souls from the ‘streets’—calling on divine powers to grant him protection and guidance in all this.

This is what Prayer by Bill Kollekt is all about. Prayer is a song that may likely not get enthusiastic reception and reviews. But from another angle, his lyricism is critically needed in ZimHipHop spheres for the purposes of providing listeners with variety—and for providing elements of progressive consciousness.

Prayer is by all accounts a counter-narrative rap song as much as it is a personal audio exposition in which Bill Kollekt opts for vulnerability and pours his personal thoughts regarding his life; so that another soul in similar or neutral circumstances can relate. In that, he excels admirably. That has always been his signature sound. 

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Bill Kollekt struggles to find existential meaning in our urban setups, as he laments about the alienation that has become such a definitive mark of our contemporary lives. He rebukes the “pollution” and “false knowledge” imposed by the status quo on innocent citizens everywhere on this earth.

He struggles to find his soul as the streets and the raps and beats persistently seek his attention. The rapper finds himself in opposition to those “peddling deception”.

His is a cry for unconditional love and “righteousness” to prevail in society—and he relays this message through a laid back boom-bap instrumental that is accentuated by stand-out guitar strums layered well in curious kicks and snares.

And on the choice of using an instrumental reminiscent of ‘old school’ rap – a favourite for purists and a nuisance for those who ride with mainstream sounds – is one that he defends saying that it allows him to set his mind free from everything that afflicts his mind; with his primary focus in choosing such sounds being centred around mood.

“When it comes to beats, I use what brings out the mood I’m trying to convey. Sometimes it’s boom bap and sometimes it’s [trap],” Bill Kollekt intimated to ZimSphere.

“If people can roots reggae revival artists like Chronixx and Protoje, then the boom bap revival is inevitable. The sound just needs to be updated, which you will witness on the Long Play ‘Focused Youth’ which I’m working on,” Bill Kollekt said.

In this, Prayer becomes a glimpse into what Bill Kollekt can offer us. His choice of sound thus allows him to preach “street scriptures” for troubles souls lost in the streets, and it gives him the room to call on the voice of the divine in his “moments of silence”. It gives him the fervor to defend the innocence of children for a better future.

A fair assessment of Bill Kollekt’s Prayer leads us to the conclusion that it is a refreshing listening experience, and exposes us to other worthwhile sounds that may otherwise not get recognition in some Zim Hip Hop discourses. 

What we however fail to decipher with relative clarity is whether Bill Kollekt’s refusal of the status quo is one caused by unidentified malevolent spiritual forces, or the oppressive capitalist global elites. He is a tad ambivalent when it comes to proffering solutions: is religion, or spirituality, the solution to all this mess? Can all these troubles be solely attributed to the “devil standing close to me”?

Either way, his ultimate statement – gleaned from the serious contemplative tone running throughout the song – is that whatever way you look at it, spiritual guidance is still relevant in providing a sheath for us; delivering us from the malicious torrents of a world going insane. All we can say is spiritual rap songs are not faulty. And, notwithstanding this, the certain thing is that Prayer is a befitting glimpse into what Bill Kollekt can deliver in the future against the backdrop of his rebrand. It makes us a bit curious.

You can listen to The Prayer by Bill Kollekt below and tell us what you think:

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