Bulawayo’s shining stars
For the inhabitant of the earth, the Sun is the warmest brightest planet that they know. But sometimes, the fact that you do not see anything brighter does not mean there isn’t any genius that shines brighter than the hero you worship.
And so in our galaxy, some 4 000 light years away is a brighter, larger, hotter planet known as VY Canis Majoris. It makes the heat from the sun feel like the flicker of a candle in the hands of a little girl with ribbons in her hair in Sunday School.
The Sun has nothing on Canis Majoris.
And so when the world of local music views hip-hop and rap and there seems to be blinding talent from Harare, the actual fact could be that it is because some have not encountered the sharper spitters from beyond the frontiers of Harare.
In comes Bulawayo with a dastardly duo of 19-year-old Shane Ndhlovu (AKA Shaneyoung) and 18-year-old Lindokuhle Arnold Adams Ndlovu (AKA Kidthrill).
An encounter with the duo is kind of surreal. Like the naughty look if you were to bring The Boondocks’ Huey and Riley Freeman to life.
But beneath that veneer lies what is probably the biggest secret the underground of the arts and particularly rap and hip-hop have got to offer. With haunting lyrics that go beyond what their general age would have them know, have them understand, have them decipher, the duo spit lines pregnant with emotion and a divinity of interpretation. What inspires their deep lyricism? “The struggle, the corruption that’s out here and the beauty also . . . ” and the struggle is real because for all their talent Kidthrill is sitting the year out after failing to have money raised for him to sit for his examinations. They feel like a let-down generation. One that deserved better than they are being made to settle for.
“Like our peers we talk about real life situations that people relate to. A lot has to do with our personal lives and the stage of lives we are in.
‘‘You know we are a complicated generation that needs a lot attention for you to understand. Artists like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole; that category helps us thinking wise when writing about those type of stuff,” says Shane.
“We ultimately want to prove that we have got what it takes to be out there getting paid like everyone else who is,” they say.
In the dark tale that is the track I Confess for example, they drop a line that shows they know they are a handful. “Am turning 18 but am a menace now . . . ”
And it gets darker still lyrically. “Sorry but you heard me . . . Rest in peace to my cousin Tyrone. Whoever shot him and he did get away. If it’s black they don't even investigate!” sings Kidthrill.
If anything, deep in the bellow of the Bulawayo underground, Hip Hop lives and has an awesome future at the hands of unknown stars like these. They are Canis Majoris in the flesh!