22 November 1989, Enter Soul Jah Love and dancehall was never the same again.
Soul Jah Love’s latest banger True Life Story is just but a summary of an illustrious career which has been misunderstood and misinterpreted but who knows the truth? Posterity will judge us harshly if we do not fulfill the generational mandate of documenting the story of this living legend. His rise and presence in the game has been instrumental in orchestrating the growth and survival of this popular genre, ZimDancehall.
The song True Life Story is a reaction, if not correction to everyone else who has tried to tell his story.
This review tries to critically appreciate and convey the powerful message that his fans might have missed. You can never speak on behalf of Soul Musaka, the conquering lion famously known as Chibaba, a title that relays authority and reign as king of dancehall. Our own version of Vybz Kartel they say.
It was not a surprise that Soul Jah Love’s Zviri Pandiri Zvihombe’s album launch attracted a huge turnout. Best Upcoming Artiste award at the inaugural ZimDancehall awards in 2013 is one of a few accurate and uncontestable decisions made by these Music Awards boards. The following year ZIMA gave him Best Male and Best Song awards for the Ndini Uya Uya timeless classic. More was to come for this lyrical genius who got robbed in 2017 when NAMA snubbed Pamamonya as Best Song of the year.
‘In just over a week I’m going to unveil my bride to the public, I’m rolling in a Hummer H2, I now live in a full house loaded with furniture I bought with my sweat, every promoter and wanna-be promoter wants a piece of me, YET THIS IS NOT MY STORY’ he told Sunday mail in 2014. His TRUE LIFE STORY was to be told in 2019. He reiterates ‘ndiri chikorobho chakachinja kuita gucci’ in most of his songs. Soul Jah Love has never been shy of sharing his journey.
Sleeping on the floor in a makeshift home, his on and off relationship with Bounty Lisa to whom he devoted his all despite the nasty fallout recently implicating his in-laws on accounts of spiritual attacks, his open visit to Prophet Magaya despite attacking the same prophets in his music, his political interference with Zanu pf in-house fights, nudity, sexually suggestive lyrics and a lot more hence the album name Zviri Pandiri Zvihombe. Such life experiences can facilitate suicide but the man stayed resolute and resilient. In this True Life Story jam he goes ‘…moyo ndakasimba kupfuura concrete.’
Despite orchestrating most of these controversies and shenanigans on his own, Soul Jah Love has endured countless attacks on his career. He has escaped death countless times, health wise and threats from this South African based promoter. His iconic and game changing rivalry with Seh Calaz also brewed hate from the Mabhanditi quartet who ended up fabricating malicious stories about Chibaba’s indecency and drug mishandling, a common thing on the dancehall arena which easily translates to character defamation.
Years after, Seh Calaz admits that Ndakamukwapaidza shook his tables whilst he was in South Africa and he had to quickly return home to quench the fire. I’d also pick this man as my favorite gospel artist for his ability to connect spirituality and ghetto anthems. You rarely get a song from Soul Musaka without him talking about God especially in 2019, a year that has seen his fresh from the ground rise to reclaim an eternal legacy – ndanga ndiri down but not out. Soul Jah Love has contributed immensely to the growth of hardcore dancehall in Zimbabwe. Fellow chanters have abandoned true dancehall for what they now call ‘commercial’ a sub genre that is a fusion of different sounds but with visible dancehall traits on it. Bazooka – Killer T arikuimba commercial asi Sauro naBazooka ndivo veHardcore.
Echoing the above sentiments Soul Jah Love cleared the air when people compared him to Enzo Ishall, a runaway zimdancehall wonder kid and he explained that the latter used to be part of his clan and injiva whilst he is the ostrich and nobody doubted it. Soul Jah Love is clearly the most influential artiste in ZimDancehall taking into consideration how the genre’s upcoming chanters try to sound like him, their rhyme schemes, lifestyle and how freestyles became a stepping stone onto the mainstream for several chanters. He has been a true ambassador of the ghetto youths. He has authored much of the ghetto lingo, hauite hauite, chibaba chacho, pamamonya ipapo, go back to sender, mind your turusi etcetera. His music has been the soundtrack of many if not all youth bridge gatherings, drug corners and mostly night clubs.
His latest album – Zviri Pandiri Zvihombe is an outcry by this never sober gentleman who seems to have lost his commercial successes to failed management.
22 November 1989 and dancehall was never the same again. After listening to True Life Story, my perception of Soul Musaka got refined. I stopped the doubts. I needed this type of assurance that this guy is not just the most influential personality in dancehall but also a spiritual lyricist if we are to measure how his art massages the soul. His journey ever since gum kum has been rough yet inspiring. He has not only managed to attain some degree of empathy within the music fans but won eternal loyalty amongst a few who have embraced his flip flops and downturns. Sauro is human after all.
No amount of writing can capture this man’s rise and transformation. The thin line between Soul Jah Love the dancehall sensation and Soul Musaka in reality is indeed blurred. The substance which you say he abuses can’t even match the substance in his art. Thus in its essence explains why even without a melodious voice he still rocks the dancefloor, churches and streets. Who didn’t dance to Matambudziko, Yeke Yeke, Hove Huru, Magetsi just to mention a few that came to mind at the time of this writing?
He also won the prestigious love, support and endorsements from big names in the industry, the legend Tuku and dancehall godfather Winky D, you remember their duet? Sauro’s ability to compose a 20 track album in 3 days is one of his underrated heroics. A 20 track album for that matter and each song pregnant with great content. How else could we honor his 7 year stint in ZimDancehall? There isn’t enough a way we can reward this ghetto preacher who has been at the forefront in documenting stories and life of youths in this country.
He is the acute personification of life in the deep ends of Kasi, the Garrison.
After all, this is a birthday present for his esteemed fans. These are just highlights of his daring and attractive career. We could write more, his live performances and videos but for the meantime mind your hokoso. We owe this man a documentary for his priceless contribution in the development of ZimDancehall as a music genre and livelihood. The Mbare bred chanter is 30 today!! More Conquering.