The urban music genre called ZimDancehall has led to some amazing talent gracing our spaces in music as general. Riddims, a borrowed concept from Jamaica where it originated, have been a defining feature of ZimDancehall. Artists go on these riddims, say 20 artists on one riddim, each one producing a distinct song from each other. It’s really fun for some. There’s one guy who has now eschewed this whole concept of riddims.
When do you last remember Winky D featuring on a riddim? 2015 perhaps. That’s a long time. He did a bit of riddims in 2014, featuring on the widely known One Clan Riddim and also the Ninja Zone Riddim. 2015 saw him featuring on the Groove Agent Riddim produced by Oskid. Even when he has featured on Riddims, it’s been here and there, and not as much often as other conventional and hardcore ZimDancehall artists.
But then he completely stopped even doing the bit he used to. He no longer features on ZimDancehall riddims at all. He is now a man who has carved his own sound and a new niche, and the need to feature on the less commercially viable riddims has faded away strongly. But what could be the compelling reason for him not to feature on riddims? Is it because he is afraid of the stiff competition exhibited on these riddims, or is it because he is now in his own class?
The view that Winky D is afraid of competition on riddims is one that may make sense to some. (There’s an inner voice saying hey, you’re dealing with the Gombwe himself here). Perhaps the fear of competition being driven and fuelled by a high level of ego. Being rated with other artists is something he does not fancy, perhaps.
His sound has definitely changed and is a deviation from the hardcore dancehall in the streets. With that line of thought, it means Winky D can’t stand real competition with these hardcore dancehall artists on a real, hardcore riddim for ZimDancehall. Maybe the Winky D of 2008-2013 could stand the competition. This view would hold that Winky D is not strong on riddims.
Then comes in the view that Winky D is now in his own class. Winky D is now a dancehall legend and there is no more need for him to associate himself with riddims, which are populated by lowly-rated artists. (The inner voice says, put some respeck on Winky D’s name). That when you are now an established artist why waste your time doing something that stagnates your brand.
Winky D changed his sound at some point to accommodate more audiences. To make more profits. To conquer Zimbabwean music in general. With that untamed vision in mind, a continuous confinement to ZimDancehall riddims could not have worked. He needed to expand. Therefore the need for riddims fell away. He is certainly in his own class.
Riddims do not make money if we compare that to the success which Winky D has enjoyed in the last few years and at present. But to say Dancehall lacks competition in Zimbabwe would be too presumptuous. The view must be that Winky D’s new sound and new path are no longer compatible with riddims.
At some point riddims worked for him, but it changed. He now has a new way of doing things. His new way is seemingly being adopted by the likes of Killer T who have reduced appearances on riddims and also have taken a new sound. Yeah, watch out for Killer t.
Back to Winky D. Should he still be doing riddims? No. There’s no need to. Leave that to Hwindi President, Boss Pumacol, Seh Calaz, Dadza D and many many other ZimDancehall artists.
The most logical conclusion is that riddims are not part of Winky D’s big vision. They confine an artist.
So, let’s just say Winky D is now in his own class.
Your thoughts on this matter would be interesting to view.