By Godfrey Madanhire | Jah Prayzah got me with his song titled “Chero” on his recently launched album, Maita Baba. It hits hard. Normally, it takes me a while before newly released music resonates with my soul but this one is definitely an exception to the rule.” Chero” loosely translated to mean “ Whatever” screams the highest degree of arrogance and I happen to be a natural admirer of individuals who have mastered the art to make a cocktail of confidence and self-belief with a dash of arrogance.
It is not a surprise that I am equally a huge fan of relatively arrogant athletes like the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo. Those who read the Bible will remember John 14 verse 6 when Jesus said, “ I am the way, the truth and the life.” For me, this is a demonstration of the highest level of personal development beyond Self-actualisation. The true top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is often referred to as transcendence.
Here, we are witnessing an artist who no longer sees the studio as an opportunity to help put food on the table but a laboratory to invent a boat to cruise through uncharted waters. It is not a surprise that he boldly says, “ Chero zvazvaita” which means whatever happens. In essence, he is not praying for a particular outcome.
Whether his latest project boasting two albums released at the same time flops of flies, he remains the best news to ever come out of Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe of course besides election results for the ruling political party.
This is not the first time, we have listened to “Wagwizi” singing his own praises. Songs like “ Soja rinosvika kure” come to mind. He believes, he knows and he is certain that he is a master at his craft and a captain of his ship. . Who are we to argue? He kicks off the song by saying “ Ini ndinorira unozviziva.” Here, Jah Prayzah is declaring that he is indeed the personification of the African sound which probably explains the meaning behind the picture on the cover of this latest album where he is seen in good company of a goat. He is indeed the G.O.A.T, the greatest of all times. He defends his territory and counterpunches like Floyd Mayweather,, he paints our world like Pablo Picasso. We are in awe.
Let me hasten to mention that my appreciation of J.P’s confidence and arrogance does not mean a disregard for those who choose to be humble. Some people make it big in life but still choose humility. Football fans will automatically think of players such as Lionel Messi and Luca Modric. We recently saw a class act from Messi when he wore a suit and issued an apology to PSG for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia. That’s humility beyond measure.
Those who know their beatitudes from Matthew 5 in the Bible will quickly say, “ Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”. There is definitely a reward for those who choose this path. Music fans from Africa especially Zimbabwe will mention the genius, Winky D who recently chose peace in Bulawayo and avoided singing his latest controversial anthem titled “Ibotso.” These are all great and talented individuals sitting on the other side of aisle. They believe in holding back and lying low with the hope of being lifted by the results of their work and that is obviusly magical. Personally, I just choose boldness and colour over shyness and modesty which can often be confused with timidness.
At some point JP probably disses his detractors which is something normally synonymous with hiphop artists worldwide. We have often seen it in South Africa between the late AKA and Casper Nyovest. Read or rather listen in between the lines when he says, “ Makatanga mune stayera mukachinja stayera kusvika pakuguma.” In my opinion, the writing is on the wall and its Game on. He believes his competitors even went as far as changing their genre until they became irrelevant. He is probably laying a tombstone for those who viewed themselves as his competition and the epitaph reads, “ You expired!” Some might argue, that Wagwizi is much bigger and more profound than that. He is simply sharing life lessons with you and me. We should therefore walk with optimism knowing that Naysayers will eventually hoist a white flag calling for ceasefire in defeat. Mukudzeyi Mukombe’s rich lyrical content in this song includes a few lines where he acknowledges the respect that he is accorded. His parents probably knew that he will command such respect when they named him, Mukudzeyi at birth. “ which is a call to respect him. “ Ndikasvika vanondiomberera semudzimu unoera vakandiona”, is heavily pregnant with meaning. Those who have had the privilege to witness JP performing Goto on stage will understand why he deliberately chose to draw similarities between the reception he gets from his fans and followers and the supernatural being, the spiritual and the departed. There is a viral video of a woman rolling on the grass section of the VIP area in a real trance as JP belts out Goto in Bulawayo. JP legal team probably needs to advise him to have a disclaimer on his show tickets,
“ Attend at your own risk.”
On a serious note, his connection with African tradition sometimes scares me. In “ Chero” he diverts, “ Izwi rakangoti famba wakadaro, zvakanaka-naka munzira iyoyi. Vakuruwe inzwaiwo mundidaire muninga iyoyi.” I am willing to bet my last Dollar that in such rare instances, JP enjoys special citizenship in a completely different world. Who dares sing about “ ninga!” For those who might not be in the know, “ninga” is a cave where kings used to be buried with their riches. So why is JP even singing about ninga in 2023? Talk about discomfort!
On a lighter and more comfortable note, Jah Prayzah embraces his poetic prowess and goes lyrical with rhyming and rhythmic lines which will likely resonate with the streets, “ Mafira kureva kunge Sauro, Kasipo kadiki kanoperera patauro.” He is obviously diluting the tension but at the same time speaking a language that you and me will comprehend.
Towards the end of the song, in the true spirit of an accomplished artist, he makes use of his special licence in literature to create words that might not even exist, “ Ndinohekenurwa.” Whether this word exists in our Shona vocabulary or not is neither here nor there. He is scot-free to break grammar and even your legs on the dance floor.
Now, I urge you to go back and play this song. Repeat.