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Killer T Sticking to His Winning Formula

Killer T released a new album titled Mashoko anopfuura in Harare on the 6th of April. Word on the streets is that copies of album were auctioned for close to $75000. What we are not sure of however, is if the pledges will be honored.  But the $75000 tag speaks to either the quality of the album or the person Killer T is now.  The Hot Property boss has managed to stay relevant from the time he first got into the limelight. But has he improved? Perhaps he does not need to improve.

Speaking of the album without comparing it to his previous efforts or any other artist’s production, I think Killer T has set himself apart from the boys he started with at the peak of Zim Dancehall. He is here to stay with his signature husky voice. He has mastered the magic of sticking to a winning formula. In the process he has ditched what some call ‘pure Zim Dancehall’, no one really knows how the purity is gauged. But the trajectory he has followed especially on songs that were produced by boyz dzeGweru Oskid and Tamuka is exciting. There is a feel good and dance along element to the music.

However, it is on songs that he incorporated Munya Vialy that I feel Killer T is copying Jah Prayzah. It is on these songs that the debate on who is better between the two should be rested. Killer T needs to learn a lot before he masters that genre better than its originator. I also have a feeling that the hymn which he did was inspired by the success of Jah Prayzah’s rendition of a church hymn.

My prediction is that Killer T’s hymn is also going to be a hit. It is a well done effort. Hope is that we are not going to have many artists raiding hymn books, for instant success. However, here is a like-able depth in both the text and music of the songs he did with Munya. The sound will tap into a market of Zimbabweans who pay to attend shows, not the overly opinionated digital natives. I am talking here of a market every politician is hoping to win, the rural and community sensed market.

I will stick my neck-out and sound confused here; I think Killer T’s new album will be served more by his name not by its quality. Killer T has over the years built a cult following which though not vocal and branded as is the case with MaGafa, Masoja or Mabhanditi they stick with their guy. It is going to be difficult to convince these people, myself included, that this album would not have been a factor had it been released by any other artist who is not loved as Killer T. Operative word here is ‘loved’, imagine if it was Tocky Vibes.  Killer T has many people who love him for his humility, the boy next door image and poignant lyrics.  I should also mention that he has an uncanny ability to create musical hooks. He sounds like that guy or lady who is known and loved for singing at funerals in your hood. No extra-ordinary vocal abilities or contrived opulence, just rawness. Some of his contemporaries try so hard,  in patois, to sound foreign with a view to become regional voices and the other half sounds like kids from Wakanda land whose Africanness is only in their blackness. But Mashoko Anopfuura presents a Killer T whose musical resources are tapped from the Zimbabwean cultural repertoire. There are quite a number of songs whose musical infrastructure is borrowed from children game songs.

But is this album extra-ordinary? Is it worth to lead us into the debates which we always have when it’s NAMA time? Granted Jah Prayzah his fiercest NAMA rival released an uninspiring albeit very expensive video which feature Jah Cure.

It appears Killer T creates earworms for fun. All his songs have potential to be hits, or at least very popular to the extent that the talk of hits becomes nonsensical. He creates music which has a very long life span and is very accessible. His music has a nostalgic feel to it, perhaps because it rotates around the familiar; that is common everyday themes and the same sound over the years.

However, I think the production quality is not top notch. The production quality Killer’s release is nowhere near Kutonga Kwaro. This could be the reason why he is not getting awards from competitions which look at the beauty of the crafty not just its resonance with masses.

I would have loved to do a textual analysis of his songs but I realize it is so rich for any person to deduce meanings that can be universally accepted. I continuously get new meanings every time I listen again to the music. All the while it continues to seep in and I fall in love with all imperfections, if any.

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