Zimbabwe: Rapper advised to change album title

25 January 2008
Maskiri, an urban grooves rapper with an explicit and cutting tongue, has been forced to change the title of his upcoming album in order for him to get airplay from the state broadcaster.
By Zenzele Ndebele, reporting for Freemuse from Zimbabwe

Maskiri (real name Alishias Musimbe) was advised to change the title of his album, which was initially entitled ‘Vuka Vuka’ meaning ‘Aphrodisiac’ or a sexual enhancing drug.

His producer Thulani from Face The Music advised the artist to shy away from courting controversy for him to get recognition on radio. This has pushed forward the release of his album, which was initially pencilled for February.

“Maskiri is a talented artist but his setback is the profanity found in his lyrics. I was talking to a DJ from Power FM (Tinashe Chiname) whom I gave a sample of the album and he gave me the same response that all Maskiri albums have come to know. Besides the lyrics the DJ told me that we should do an overhaul of the project starting with the album title because ZBC is a public broadcaster and they want to keep it that way. So Maskiri’s musical approach is too strong for public radio,” said the producer.

The album in question includes a discriminating song entitled ‘Albino’. In the song the rapper talks about having an illicit affair with an albino girl who he calls his white girlfriend. The song also has to be edited so that it does not offend anyone out there.

“All that Maskiri claims to be doing is exploring his poetical capability but all the same a product should not offend other sects of society so we will try to tone down on the explicit content,” added the producer.

Radio friendly
Maskiri told Freemuse in January 2008 that he is aware that he will need to produce ‘radio friendly music’ in order for him to get attention from the state broadcaster.

“I know I have been out of line. I will try to get back in line, maybe I should call the album ‘Radio friendly’ since the professionals in the industry have advised me to change the title and part of its content,” he said.

Maskiri has in the past been banned from radio because of controversial hip-hop songs. From his album entitled ‘Blue Movie’ (‘pornography’) the most prolific song was ‘Dhara Rangu’ (‘My Old Man’) in the song he compares God to a streetwise old man. At the time this album was published, in December 2004, he told the Zimbabwe media that he would not change his style in order to get airplay, and was quoted as saying: “Otherwise we will all end up singing the mundane stuff you hear on radio.”

Then there is also the song ‘Madam Mombeshora’ where he sings about an illicit relationship with his school teacher. Then there was the hilarios ‘Kwedu Kuchafiwa’ which loosely translated to ‘My Loved Ones Shall Die Too’. It is a song bad mouthing an inheriting son by boasting that his rich relatives shall die too and he will also get inheritance money and women.

The above themes that he explores are deemed as immoral in Zimbabwean society – hence no reason to upset listneres by playing the songs on air. For most of his albums Maskiri has received a media black out.

For instance, in November 2004 he was told by DJs that his CD was banned from the airwaves because of what state radio bosses considered offensive content, reported the Zimbabwe Standard.





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