Asaph Zimbabwe The People's Rapper
Asaph performing during the Bulawayo Arts Awards

“We haven’t had a rap Messiah since Kingpinn was alive, now the prophecy fulfills in your eyes, from Kwanfire to Mambo, don’t compare me to your amateur guys.” I had to stop the song, drag it back, pay proper attention and then nod, ah.

Kingpinn is the Zim Hip Hop front liner, our own version of Tupac to say and is widely believed to be the greatest to ever do it. So, for years, nobody got closer to filling his shoes, and nowTafadzwa Tarukwana otherwise known as Asaph has risen to become his reincarnation. This is due to Asaph’s ability to tackle sensitive political innuendos in complex but conspicuous ways and his natural delivery, a skill that breathes life to original and hardcore rap.

Asaph is the seer of our time, he does not only represent or defend the hip hop culture but remarkably articulates both the history and the unseen of this nation in his hard hitting rap. This is one of a few multilingual musicians in the country, quite a phenomenal attribute that has attracted a wider fan base than most and his products come mainly in English with both Shona and Ndebele lingo to spice up the deliveries.

Asaph is not only the best rapper in the country. The boy can as well be the second king from the City of Kings after King Peter, yes Peter Ndlovu the greatest Warrior of all time. We can start off with his natural delivery which has got a stunning cosmetic appeal and trust everybody that recommends you to listen to Asaph. Despite the pre-political and geographical setting between the two major tribes in Zimbabwe, it is on record that these two are clean when it comes to tribalism. Peter represented the Zimbabwean football in its wholeness and Asaph is surely doing the same for Zimbabwean hip hop.

The other similarity being the fact that Peter was so outstanding regardless of playing for a country that barely performed well at bigger tournaments and Asaph is outstanding in a music genre that has been put on the sidelines in the country. This is all in an effort to bring out the fundamental idea that these guys have managed to unite a nation, they are painting tribal lines that were born almost two centuries ago when Mzilikazi settled on the mainland. Asaph goes, “I’m too Shona for the Ndebeles and too Ndebele for the Shona, that’s real” to further support the above stance of how he is managing to bridge the tribal gap.

After sampling the whole project, the long awaited Extended Play (EP) The People’s Rapper for over many times, it drove my confidence into sharing this self-assertion and it’s been quite amazing. In the track Fifestreet Flows, the Mambo assumes his kingship, a role we feel was now long overdue for him to partake. He warns that any competition is guaranteed to be destroyed and not tolerating the comparisons. His authoritative voice accompanies his powerful punch lines in all his songs. The most interesting part of this whole production is his openness on his affection for Tamy Moyo as he reveals, “currently avoiding relations because of how I feel about Tamy” and niggas should acknowledge this audacity. The burg ambassador speaks for all the hustlers who are after the greens in the song Ginimbi Rich, it’s in every hustler’s DNA to get the bag and spend it the way Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure does. The soulful chorus for the song Freedom sets the ball rolling for him and Zimbiyana Jones (formerly known as MC Chita) to rap their hearts out. He reinstates his position as the people’s rapper through the political illusions and questions posed. He slams the media, vuzu parties, tribalism and a bonus flashback on Nkomo and Mugabe to clear the air. The Shona chorus and the Ndebele outro on the song already satisfies both sets of fans.

“Life isn’t straight so how can we blame the youths for leaning?” Asaph’s continued rhetoric in this slow paced and melancholic rap song, Real Ones, intriguingly drives thought into reflecting on what’s really on the ground in Zimbabwe, the daily struggles and oppression by the government. The conscious rap here represents a deep thought process that was done before the song was composed to become a dear prayer for every soul referred to as the real ones. Changamire with Fish F McSwagg is another song that consolidates his control over the rap game. Asaph gave us one video of the hit track off the EP, Vibe Is Correct. This hit track resembles his prowess in making club banging hits and it reminds us of the award winning breakthrough song Mambo. The burg life is aptly captured and the sing along chorus is what makes his rap really a vibe in the streets.

The fact that Asaph ain’t as famous as other emcees has led to many misplace his position in the game. He reiterates, ‘some artists achieving height whilst I’m working on depth’ in what we commonly refer to as the substance over hype approach. Asaph through the People’s Rapper EP has brought rap music back to life

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