REFRESHING SOUNDS: Kudaveli drops ‘Yeso Kristo’ – Reinventing and revitalizing rap sounds in ZimHipHop


THOSE who often delve beyond the surface of hip-hop music in Zimbabwe will tell you of a hugely brilliant yet criminally underrated rapper called Kudaveli, once known as Kuda K. Or Muyera Dragon. These ardent listeners will tell you that this eclectic musician should never mistaken for an intelligent rapper perennially damned to the fringes of Zim Hip Hop. And this is what Kudaveli’s latest track Yeso Kristo shows us: that is here to win. And that he is not one to eternally inhabit the peripheries of this music industry thing. 

Hailing from Zimbabwe and currently based in the United Kingdom (UK), Kudaveli specializes in distinct viewpoints and artistic ingenuity that set him apart from all other Zim Hip Hop acts—local and abroad. He conflates homegrown and diaspora lived experiences to rejuvenate and reinvent the visage of Zim Hip Hop sounds. 

Kudaveli or Kuda K, UK-based ZimHipHop artist, drops latest song Yeso Kristo

Maybe, just maybe, this is what explains the new name change—from Kuda K to Kudaveli; an ostensibly bold statement that maximizes a plethora of influences from some of hip-hop’s greatest ever talents (we immediately think of the legendary Tupac Shakur and his undying moniker ‘Makavelli’).

Kudaveli’s latest track Yeso Kristo is not only striking for its tight-knit and well-crafted lyrical substance—lyrics that offer us a glimpse into his ready-to-attack but grateful state of mind—but also for its immaculate, lush, and dark (though resplendent) rap instrumental exuding the true essence of what powerful lyrical rap should sound like (but then this is all arguable).

The somber, contemplative, gloomy, and hauntingly conspicuous instrumental procured from obvious online sources was fully optimized by Manuel, the track’s producer; and it harmonizes well with Kudaveli’s incisive bars—bars delivered in an unrelenting manner; and, in this, we see Yeso Kristo (a track wholly predicated on references to Christian spirituality) as a blistering statement of intent that should not be glossed over when the discourse of new Zim Hip Hop music gets the spotlight.  

Key to note thought is that in some moments through the song, the hook feels a bit stretched in terms of the vocal tempo as juxtaposed with the beat tempo, but in some magical manner it still sounds as a complete appendage to the song's hard-hitting verses

Kudaveli, or Kuda K, based on your levels of familiarity, basically tells us that 2024 will be a year we need to really get accustomed to his artistic exploits when you give him a beat and a mic. 

Yeso Kristo is a refreshing Zim Hip Hop listening experience, as Kudaveli deviates from the normative sounds reigning supreme in trending Zim Hip Hop sounds. It is a reinvigorating sonic experience in which Kudaveli is unapologetic as regards exposing his innermost self as heard in this outpour of emotive rap sounds that also toe-dance to the conventional tropes on masculinity that reign supreme among male rappers (we will get back to this caveat in later paragraphs).

Well, the rapper waxes lyrical about never fleeing from any beef; how he is mostly pissed off half the time; how he cherishes cannabis highs (while eschewing lean/codeine cough syrup since he is an aficionado of shrooms); how romantic relationships have become a tad redundant in his consciousness—and, as if recreating a melancholic scene of the utmost penitence in an English cathedral, he pours all his earthly problems to Jesus Christ (Yeso Kristo) in this honest song. 

Is this much-vaunted contrition, packaged in an impassioned plea to “Yeso Kristooo,” a sincere one? 

From another dimension, what would Yeso Kristo say on Kudaveli’s personal adventures of carnal pleasure? What does this mean for his music? Perhaps ‘Yeso Kristo’ is directing Kudaveli towards a path of peace—but will the wildly ambitious rapper take heed of such an exhortation? These questions, though not too apparent, serve the effect of inviting the listener to also take a brief evaluation of their personal ambitions and challenges encountered; and the emotional turbulence concomitantly experienced. 

The beauty of rap music, one could say ... 

Except in some instances (and this caveat on Kuda K’s ingenuity is a big deal to us), the urge to refer to women pejoratively as “bitches”—a compulsive urge he does little to curtail – dampens the sincerity of using a heavy spiritual allusion such as Yeso Kristo. It is contradictory: he praises his mother (and obviously no one wants their mother to be associated with certain stereotypical images that rap imposes on women) and calls other women “bitches”. It just one of those problematic aspects of rap. Perhaps, Jesus needs to be here. 

Would Yeso Kristo be pleased hearing that women, whom he fervently stood for in biblical times, are being called “bitches” by rappers? We do not know. 

But, back again to the richness of this track’s sound. Yeso Kristo exudes noticeable traces of acid rap influences. The luxuriant instrumental takes one on a journey—almost as if it is a psychedelic trip. A good trip ... 

And this is what Kudaveli told ZimSphere regarding how this track came to life: a psychedelic-inspired trip of gratitude for his mother gave the world a keen, digestible hip-hop song. 

“The first couple lines for Yeso Kristo came to me while I was on a psychedelic trip; in that transcendental moment, I was grateful for all that my mother has done for me,” Kudaveli remarked. 

He added, “I make my best songs on dark, gloomy instrumentals. So when I heard this beat I instantly fell in love with it. I then took the first couple lines I had come up with during a shroom trip and expanded on them to make the rest of the song.”

And as for this year’s plans, Kudaveli’s focus revolves around creating compelling music with a flair of elegance and intricacy that resonates with his truer self—he will be making unfiltered music for Kuda K’s catharsis and potential blow-up.

“For 2024, I plan on releasing more music that is true to self. I’m making this music for me, as Kuda K I made music pandering towards certain audiences. I haven’t made my best song yet so we’re working towards that all year,” the rapper said, basking in the brilliance of his psychedelic-inspired raps (ditto Chance The Rapper and his LSD-infused Acid Rap mixtape).

Yeso Kristo acts as a compelling prologue to Kudaveli’s creativity, and sets the platform for an engaging musical journey ahead. 

With a music video reportedly in the works, we anticipate a visual presentation of unrivalled creative excellence; and, with much keenness and curiosity, await his success in this new and refreshing rap venture. 

One thing is for certain: Kudaveli’s proclivities to reinvent and freshen up sounds should not be ignored; and our conviction is that he definitely needs to masterfully grasp this niche aspect of rap so that Zim Hip Hop can soar to greater heights. 

So, yep, there we go. That’s all about MuyeraDragon and his latest release. 

From the UK with love ... 

Listen to Yeso Kristo by Kudaveli via the Audiomack link below and share with the world your thoughts (the song will be posted on all other DSPs in the few coming weeks): 

Post a Comment