Marking its genesis in the year 2013 when Maskiri,Stunner and Munetsi were the most played artists amongst radio stations hiphop wise,the School of Hip Hop was a source of hope for every hip hop artist to gain airplay. After two and a half years of promoting Zimbabwean hip hop with an hour of play within a broader radio medium,the School of Hip Hop show principled by the Mariachi Code is now a thing of the past.Starting out in the years when radio was most dominated by loud Zim dancehall and Urban Grooves genred tracks the show managed to close that hollow gap, catering for the hip hop’s heads thirst with its top ten and random plays of Zim hip hop tracks that did much to put Zimbabwean hip hop on the airplay map.
But within such a confinement of celebrating hip hop with a show that garnered a favorable mass of listeners and gave hip hop a sense of seriousness the show faced a whole lot of criticisms from the artists and the listeners starting off from their criteria on who got airplay(did you have to buy Mariachi a pint of beer every time you see him?wash his clothes?give him girls to twerk for him maybe),from being Rehab generated(too much overplay for Schingy,Boneman,Marques) and from extorting artists of their rands and dollars so as to get airplay(yes Chris the librarian we know).Whatever the criteria used was, we can never argue the impact that the show had for the hip hop movement and a stride it took for Zimbabwean rap to be considered of radio worth.The show introduced me to acts such as Kidd Aktive,Savage,Icy Murda and a whole other new class of cats who I would have never taken heed of, who managed to get airplay within the years when the show was rising.Although criticized for being a Rehab camp in its start off days we can not also run away from the fact that in those days Rehab signed artists were CLEARLY making a lead in mainstream music,music that could actually count as radioworthy in standards of mastering and mass appeal whilst some were still suffering from ringtone beats produced songs.
The halt of the show has been met with various concerns and mockeries from other rappers.Controversial Noble pinpointed on his Facebook page that there were rappers who only received airplay on that show therefore making their careers hinge on broken glass since the show that made them heard is no more. Marondera born Amiz concurred that he had been asked to pay a bribe fee to the librarian to get airplay which he quickly refused to.Dylan formerly known as ‘Didzavelli’ Danda purported that the show was merely a sham and didn’t represent well the ideology it was supposed to embrace.Whether these artists are simply speaking out of truth or basing their views on not getting airplay, School of Hip Hop failed to fully incorporate various rap sounds all over Zimbabwe and most of the times it simply failed to be an earpiece for the talented yet unnoticed artists and if the ‘pay to get airplay’ scandal is true then Mariachi again failed to act fair to a genre that birthed his worth and gave him standing in musical terms.I do not know the criteria he used for the years the show graced our radios but salute to Mariachi,anyways, for building a brand and leaving his footprints as we march on to demystifying hip hop not just a genre yemasalad dressed in Tunechi clothing but a musical culture that has so much more to offer.He might have been myopic on other artists but for those he gave a voice on radio, he did it to his best of capabilities.
Last question is,what now?Like Noble questioned, what happens to the artists that were only breastfed on Mariachi’s show and remained ghosts to other radio play slots?Do they wait on Dj Elroy slotted on a new hip hop show or simply disappear into thin air like Hakeem’s two minutes fame?Either way,they have to wake up and simply be good enough to garner for radio worth:not any easy thing to do in an industry that is calculated to produce more than 40 tracks a day in Harare only.Artists should take the initiative also to push their music through streaming their music on Soundcloud and Reverbnation.We can not keep waiting for radio stations to play our music when we can use other means to be heard.It will take time to be taken as a brand worthy of listeners ears on radio but hip hop within Zimbabwean borders is taking giant steps and surely will get there.School of Hip Hop:gone but never forgotten,we march on.