We’ve always felt a certain way about Hillary Keni-Witsani’s music, and we absolutely feel it’s part of what our hip hop needs. The way he approaches music is unique, and it’s more of a no-holds-barred thing with him. He just says it as it is.
He is back with another piece of carefully yet spontaneous piece of art that fully highlights the grim situation in which Zimbabwe is entangled in. The new work which goes by the title The Chimurenga Files: The One Take Poverty Tape is an incisive insight into the atrocities committed by the Zimbabwean government on its own people, without regard to the lives of the people. The work brings into focus how depraved the Zimbabwean government is increasingly becoming, and how they are further pushing the citizens into unfettered misery.
The One Take Poverty Tape comprises of ten quick tracks that just go straight to the point in how they aptly bring out the Zimbabwean struggles. The piece is not even mastered, as Hillary Keni-Witsani says he just wanted to air his voice out, that’s what only mattered. Following music rules was not a priority, the major issue was making sure something has been said. To make sure the grievances have been aired out.
The piece is a reflection of how powerful Hillary Keni-Witsani’s voice is. He is fearless in bringing out the real issues as they are. Why censor yourself when literally you are living in Hell?
The work description as put by him goes like, “The tape was inspired by the events of August 1st, 2018 when civilians were shot and killed in the full glare of the world’s eyes. That event also reminds one of the Gukurahundi genocide that the Zimbabwean government is still to apologise for as well as the disappearance of countless citizens, prominent of which is Itai Dzamara. When a government commits evil acts that it is not held to account for, and presides over the looting of its own country’s coffers (sentencing its citizens to a life of hardship, fear and poverty), it relinquishes its right to govern and needs to be removed by any means necessary. This is the part that i’m playing, play yours.” Powerful, isn’t it?
The work begins off with Military Arrangement, which we like to classify as a mirroring of how brutal the Zimbabwean military is. How callous it is. Arranging us to die. Animals follows after, and then Where Is The Love. Highlighting the monstrosity of being human in Zimbabwe. How there is a huge void of care and regard for human life. Where is the love?
There is a part 2 of the Military Arrangement track which carries on with the themes from the opening track. Gukurahundi Babies is that track which reminds you of how scarred we are as a nation, and how much it would take to heal the wounds which cause so much trauma and divisions in society. It’s a historical journey into one of the worst atrocities in Zimbabwe, the effects watered down up to today. Which is, unfortunate. But here we are.
Sinkende Money highlights the current cash crisis crippling the country. All the problems that come with the struggles of not having money which you should be having. What follows is Heart, and Free Gigs, a declaration that the young people are not just here for free gigs. Living and Mad Men close off this powerful collection of inquisitive tunes, and leaves you with a desire to demand more, to not settle for less.
It’s a satisfactory yet evoking piece of work that brings to the fore the brilliance of Hillary Keni-Witsani as he tackles the real issues haunting our everyday lives as a people. The style he employs is aesthetically appealing, and still yet, makes you curious about what Hillary is all about.
Talk about a woke artists. Who sings life. Who sings meaning. Deep meaning. His approach to the hip-hop sound is just out of this world.
His level of poetry is beyond amazing.
Others may find his music a bit provocative and too confrontational. Perhaps, it’s something that may not appeal to them. But if you are on to speaking against the status quo without hesitations, this is the right music for you.
You can listen to The Chimurenga Files: The One Take Poverty Tape by Hillary Keni-Witsani via this Bandcamp link.