Ever since the hey days of dancehall there were disses, artists like Bounty Killer and Beenie Man from Jamaica thrived on these. In Jamaica, dancehall was actually at peak and commanding the world’s attention during the days of Gully, led by Mavado VS Gaza led by the now incarcerated deejay Vybz Kartel. But does the diss culture still matter in the dancehall circles?

Some have branded the Gaza VS Gully a reggae civil war, taking it away from just being a beef between artists but a war between two movements. Jamaica celebrated (and still does) lyrical warfare through shows like Sting were the most controversial rivals of the year face each other as the year ends, on the stage for a show off of superiority!

This culture like most of the Jamaican dancehall cultures have been adopted at home in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. With the birth of the Zimdancehall genre, a localized form of dancehall by Zimbabwean artists, in the early 2000s saw the rise of disses among the artists of that time.

One such beef that carried weight and was the talk of the time was between Winky D and the late Daddy D, while Winky D was also clashing with King Labash.

This beef resulted in a war lyrically filled songs such as Dead Inna War by Winky D. Winky was later to be crowned King of Zimdancehall at an event held in 2009 at the Harare Gardens.

Even though artists like Winky D seem to have moved on from the ‘diss culture’ young artists who are finding their way into the genre still depend on it to provide theme with relevance.

Seh Calaz is one such artist who gained attention after he became the first radio played chanter to throw shade at Winky D. After releasing a reply to Winky D’s song ‘Mafira Kureva‘ of the same year, 2013, Seh Calaz has become one of the sought after Zimdancehall brands.

Do Disses Still Matter in Dancehall?

I am going to say it depends! Even though Zimdancehall was born at a time when the diss culture was at peak in Jamaica and the world, the impact a beef had those days and today differs.

Back then dancehall was more than just a musical genre, that most dictionaries today still fail to acknowledge, it was a culture. It represented a way of life among the forgotten community of different societies especially coming from the ghetto. Dancehall was born from the Grandfather of most Jamaican genres, Reggae. It quickly became another way to fill the day.

However this trend has reached its peak and is definitely declining. Dancehall is becoming a genre among others. The culture aspect were you could identify a dancehall lover by the way he/she talked, dressed and their playlist is slowly dying.

I remember back in the days my brothers were known for having the best cds, it was before memory cards kids, or whatever technology you have these days, we had a local guy who burned/pirated music and they always picked the best songs for that mp3, and mp3 back then was an audio cd with files! We would exchange these cds and it was part of the culture, songs were debated when we met and he who had the latest was the king!

In this age of WhatsApp and the great internet, songs are easily lost in the sea filled with many other unknown artist files.

The weight a diss would carry those days was far greater than it does now. The fact that songs can easily miss you, the fact that you cant keep up with all the songs dropping each day, the fact that artists no longer have the real power to control conversation and the fact that new camps such as the old Gaza and Gully cant last longer, are all threats to the culture.

Our world is now filled with a lot of information to really care about a diss, the western culture is taking over. The selfie age were time is better spent on Instagram than discussing Platinum Prince‘s latest diss, is the reason disses don’t really matter now.

If a diss doesn’t steer any controversy and cause people to talk it becomes a miss and thats whats happening with most, they are misses.

If it was for little me to give a judgement I would say if a diss is not well calculated, its actually a waste of time. Your audience these days is moving faster than you can drop the next song.

You can still make a career throwing shade at other artists as long as you have the tools to make people talk and you can still be a good artist without a diss record, your choice.

The discussion should not end with a full stop! Comment below with your thoughts on this matter.

Please note that this is an opinion piece and views expressed are of the author and not DancehallAfrika. To submit your own articles please email [email protected] or App +263738431093

Last year (2017) almost came to an end without the much anticipated Zimdancehall awards. Usually hosted annually by its founder Phineas Mushayi and company.

Just like the previous years fans hoped it would come in the first quarter, but when that didn’t happen questions started pouring in, ‘are we having any ceremony this year?’ A fake list came out which had people hyped but was later dismissed by the usual hosts of the event (Phineas and co.).

Then when the year was about to close, the Zimdancehall awards patron, Oscar Pambuka announced that he was rescuing the annual ceremony as his last act as the patron.

The event sure came to pass, but as reports show, it was marred with confusion and controversy! Most people we talked to found the award show controversial, some sighting the best promoter award which was given to Chipaz promotions, who last promoted a dancehall artist.. (kudhara). Others even complained of the lack of the red carpet glamour at the event and poor organization.

These could as well be labelled as some mishaps, which could have been caused by Oscar Pambuka and Co being first time hosts. However, the big question is, if artists are not really benefiting financially from these awards, why bother hosting such an event?

Answers from King And Queen of Zimdancehall?

We managed to get in touch with two of the biggest winners of the night, the King of Zimdancehall award winner, Soul Jah Love and the Queen of Zimdancehall award winner Queen Kadjah.

Both artists showed appreciation for the award even though they do not carry any financial benefit.

According to Soul Jah Love, whats important is the recognition of being King. “Tinotambira zviripo hatitarisire kupihwa zvihombe ipo pasina zviripo. Tinotenda vaPambuka nezvavakatipa chakakosha kuti vazive kuti ndini mambo weZimdancehall.

We receive what is there, we don’t look for much when there is little. We thank [Oscar] Pambuka for it, what important is that they know I am the King of Zimdancehall.

Soul Jah Love managed to mesmerize the Zimdancehall fraternity last year after dropping the chart topping single Pamamonya Ipapo, which became an anthem at many events countrywide. He was going against Kinnah, Winky D, Killer T and Seh Calaz.

Another big winner was the new rising star, Kadjah real name Tariro Kadandara who shot up after dropping Nda Believer featuring Shinsoman. She is also popular for her energetic live performances.

Kadjah was crowned Queen of Zimdancehall 2017 at the award ceremony held in Harare. “I am proud to be standing among giants who have walked this path before me and who have shown with their achievements that there’s no limit to what women can accomplish if they believe in themselves.”

“I would like to thank them for showing female artists that the glass ceiling has been broken.” She said.

So to answer our question, why bother?

A few local awards have a big financial benefit on the winner, even the ZIMA (Zimbabwe Music Awards) have been criticized a number of times for having no financial reward to the artists.

Even though we hope to see a better and much organized Zimdancehall awards next time, the recognition an artist receive might go a long way in making the genre and the artist better.

Here are the Zimdancehall awards 2017 winners:

1. King of Zimdancehall 2017- Soul Jah luv
2. Queen of Zimdancehall 2017- Kadja
3.Best graphic designer- Mugo Mix and Kello
4.Best zimdancehall video- Winky D and Buffalo Souljah- Hupenyu & Seh Calaz- Mangongongo.
5.Best Zimdancehall artist outside Harare- Legion and Markman.
6.Best Producer outside Harare- Rox and Gfreshy.
7.Best zimdancehall medley- T man mount zion.
8. Most disciplined- Hwindi President and Kinnah.
9.Best live performer male- Seh Calaz and Kinnah.
10.Best live performer female- Empress Massina.
11.Best promoter outside Zimbabwe Cheesebuoy Entettainment and Don Carlo Digital 1.
12.Best dance group- Ghetto clark zone
13.Best zimdancehall clan- HKD
14. Best riddim- Marlon T threat of the year and Unoripa Chillspot records.
15.Song of the year- Pamamonya ipapo Jah luv.
16.Best zimdancehall collaboration- Killer T and Ex Q- Nhema and Boom Betto and Jah Signal-Mairevei
17.Best album – Freeman Top striker.
18.Best club dj- Dj Cables.
19.Zimdancehall ambassador- Killer T
20.Best zimdancehall manager- Wadis.
21 Best zimdancehall promoter local- Chipaz.
22.Best zimdancehall reporter print- the late Brian Penny for the Newsday.
23. Best zimdancehall reporter electronic media – Skimbo ziso regondo.
24.Best Zimdancehall diaspora – Buffalo Souljah.
25.Best zimdancehall legends – Templeman, Etherton B, Merciless, Mad Minox
26.People’s choice- Winky D.
27.Best dressed female artist- Daruler.
28. Best dressed male artist- Seh Calaz
29.Best zimdancehall radio station- Zi fm, Powerfm and Starfm.
30.Young and upcoming male- Blot and Nutty O.
31.Young and upcoming female- Fya Lady.
32.Best video Producer- SAP and Skyrocket films.
33 Best male vocalist- Guspy Warrior
34. Best female vocalist- Lindsay.
35. Best zimdancehall producer- Solid records and Sunshine.
36.Best club song- mumastreets Silent Killer.
37. Best social message- Shungu- Empress massina.
38. Best zimdancehall emcee-Abisha Palmer.

Just when we were thinking ‘Disappear’ is about to disappear with efforts from other rivals such as Seh Calaz trying to break with their own ‘similar versions’ of disappear such as ‘Disconnect‘, the world is just proving that the Bigman, Winky D is now an African giant.
As the year started we celebrated disappear being in the top 5 on the BBC Radio 1Xtra show hosted by DJ Edu now its leading the pack. Yes! Winky D’s hit Disappear is currently sitting at the number 1 position on BBC radio, leading high ranking African artists like Black Coffee, Wizkid, Shatta Wale and Ay. See the pic below:

We are proud of the Dancehall Igwe for putting us on the map. #SupportLocal

Track List:


01-I Octane – Money We Want
02- Jah Bless – Shanda Utenge Chako
03-Ras Caleb – Pane Chati Bhumu
04-Kinnah – Pandiri Suduruka
05- Soul Jah Luv – Dzimba Idzo Pazai
06-Celscious – Ndiri Nhini
07-Cici – Musarwadziwe
08-Dobba Don – Sell Out
09-Maggikal – Honai Swag
10- Hwindi President – Tavapahasha
11-Kabhidha – Patani Yekaiti
12-Genius – Havandifarire
13-Jah Hanief – Pa Top

A story about a UFIC pastor urging their church members to desist from listening to Winky D’s chart topping ‘Disappear’ song has been making rounds on social media. The story alleged that the Pastor said the song is satanic and it is about Winky D’s initiation into the satanic realm.
The funny thing about the chat is that the Pastor’s name is never mentioned in the WhatsApp convo circulating, given the writer would have known and it would have given us room to question the said person, but since no name was mentioned we had to source our information from some of the church members who are said to have been banned from listening to the song.
“It is clear that the person who wrote that thing has never been to UFIC and doesn’t know how we operate, we believe God can bless people and therefore we are not quick to judge just because someone has prospered in their works, our father (Prophet Makandiwa) teaches us to understand things of the spirit and not to criticize successful people who have worked hard to have what they have. So who ever wrote this just wanted to paint the wrong picture on our father and the church.” said one source in a comment on the matter.
Another one had this to say, “that is complete nonsense, our choir which is lead by our Pastor Chigumira and Minister Mahendere who are close people to the Prophet (Makandiwa) has adopted the ‘maproblems ese dissappear’ chant, we even sing it in church when our father is around and we sing raising our hands to give honor to God the creator not the devil as is said in that chat, so which Pastor would go and criticize that, these are just people’s lies nothing like that happened!”
This is not the first time Winky D has done a nationwide hit song, ‘Ndiri Rasta’ his first hit song in 2004, 2007 he came with ‘Vane Godo’ and more like ‘Paita Party’ in the years that followed, showing that he is not a stranger to these kind of hits, it doesn’t make sense to say he has turned to satanism today just because his song has managed to break international boarders.
This is a Zimbabwean spirit that everything good and prosperous is from the devil, in a country that is dominated by Christians it makes one wonder why we don’t want to believe that God can do greater than the devil, May God Help Us!