‘Controlla Made Me Do It’ – The rise of a lyrical movement in Zimbabwean hip-hop


IN THE REALM of rap, the chasm between fleeting fame and enduring impact is often bridged by authenticity and substance. Some truths are irrefutable, regardless of the attempts to contest them.

Controlla Made Me Do It ZimHipHop series

And we can see this with the Controlla Made Me Do It rap series, a brainchild of emerging hip-hop personality Controlla. He curates a type of sound and lyricism he wants given more attention in Zim rap circles, and for this we are grateful. 

So far, Indigo Saint, Asaph Afrika, and Malcom Mufunde have added their voices and fierce, incendiary lyrics to the Controlla Made Me Do It series. 

For it is true—the influence of Controlla in the game cannot be understated.

Controlla Made Me Do It is not just a catchy phrase; it's a rap cultural movement that was birthed from arguably the best battle rapper in the country, Donne Jovi's distinctive opening slogan: "Controoolllaaa!!!"

What began as a mere catchphrase on 27 January 2024 at Moto Republik's Battle of the North when RayKaz vs Donne Jovi went head to head in a classic encounter gas metamorphosed into something to always look forward to, in its pure excellence. 

That catchphrase quickly evolved into something much more significant. A precedent Indigo Saint made sure to set in stone. And what a bar he set with the inaugural track of the movement over Conductor Williams' beat on Drake's "8AM in Charlotte".

Controlla Made Me Do It then transformed into a platform committed to releasing rap music that addresses pertinent issues that reign supreme among us, not only from a rap perspective but existential one too. It's not just about beats and rhymes; it's about rappers who have something meaningful to say. And they say it with profound confidence and braggadocio. That, and proving their writing and rap performance credentials.

The movement's ethos is reminiscent of platforms like Sway's Hyenas, which has become synonymous with showcasing raw talent and authentic lyricism. Just like Hyenas, Controlla Made Me Do It seeks to uplift artists who are not afraid to tackle controversial topics, challenge societal norms, express their truths through rap and showcase their skills.

Donne Jovi's influence on the movement cannot be overstated. His opening slogan served as a rallying cry, because Controlla Made him Do it (battle with RayKaz so to say). Indigo Saint turned a catchphrase into a movement. Inspiring other artists to join the cause and contribute their unique voices to the platform. His skillset as a rapper has undoubtedly shaped the movement's emphasis on lyrical prowess and storytelling, setting a high bar for the kind of talent that Controlla Made Me Do It aims to promote.

As the movement continues to gain momentum, it might face the challenge of maintaining its current form and integrity while expanding its reach. In a genre often criticized for its superficiality, Controlla Made Me Do It stands out as a beacon for artists and fans alike who are hungry for rappers that rap. 

It gave Malcom Mufunde the chance to address some lingering, simmering issues in the realm of rap politics; his track standing out for its non-violent, cool, composed approach in the face of direct attacks from R.Peels. 

And for Asaph Afrika, one of the truest masters of a elegant pen game, ink dipped in understated elegance, Controlla Made Me Do It was an avenue to express relevant issues in rap and life for cathartic and emancipatory purposes. 

Given this backdrop, it's hard not to appreciate Controlla Made Me Do It or anticipate more tracks from a diverse range of artists. It's an exciting and refreshing concept that the rap game needs.

Controlla Made Me Do It is more than just a movement; it's a testament to the power of authentic rap music. 

It is a testament to the willingness of fans to listen. With its commitment to addressing real issues and promoting genuine talent, it's poised to make a lasting impact on the rap scene. And we are all here for it. 

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