Munashe - Wide Awake Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza
This post is not about the video. New Zealand musicians are budget-challenged. Crime Heat has done what he can within the usual restrictions, and it works. He is a very good director (and beats producer). No, this post is about an exciting new artist...a musically-talented, lyrically gifted MC with an ear for a hook that suggests massive potential. A member of the Ammo Nation collective, Munashe (Munashe Tuwe) is a precociously-talented teenager whose "1st Impression" album released late last year is one of the most exuberantly assured local debuts I have heard. We all know it would have been made on a shoe-string, and there are production aspects that hint at those limitations. But despite that, it is superb. Munashe is from Zimbabwe, currently living in West Auckland, and the stress of a family moving countries, being permanently away from a troubled home/continent makes for great raw material for a songwriter. And Munashe doesn't waste it. The album is a combination of bravado, satire, romance, and acute socio-political insights that belie his age. Munashe cites influences such as Nas, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, J Cole and Erykah Badu. Though the two influences he cites that I see as most relevant here are Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco. There is also indirect artistic reference to the historical body of work we associate with old RnB such as Rod Temperton, the Jacksons etc. "Wide Awake" features Raiza Biza, a personal hip-hop favourite seen many times on this blog (and who discovered Munashe), and Blaze the Emperor who slinks in midway through the song with a sorta-laid-back style that has me looking up more of his work. Courtesy the immigration from Africa of the last twenty years, New Zealand music is benefitting from an African wave which is further enhancing New Zealand's reputation as punching above it's weight in the world of hip-hop. I have bought "1st Impression" and it has been on high-rotate as I navigate the streets of London. If handled right, I truly believe Munashe's career could be massive. You can listen to, and buy the album, at the link below.
Munashe - Wide Awake (Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza) (Official Music Video)