Sometime ago I took interest in a Zimbabwean hip-hop group called Guru Nayetion. I linked up with one of the members Prof L via Whatsapp and we took time to discuss the direction of Guru Nayetion and where it is going. The hip-hop duo will be launching Altered States at book cafe on the 13th of May, starting 1730 at $3/copy. Reserve your copy.
11:29, Mar 11 – Mcpotar: How does the name Guru Nayetion come about & how long have you been in Hiphop as artistes.
11:24, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): Guru Nayetion is an ambiguation of the names of our duo. Professor Larch the Guru (Prof L) and Naye Sean. It alludes to our goal of spreading the spirit of individual advancement to build a ‘nation’ of powerful, capable and confident individuals creating their own world. It is an offshoot of ill immigrants, of which we are both a part. I’ve been rapping as long as I can remember; words have always come easily and naturally to me which led me to write scripts, poems, speeches and plays. Naye Sean has been rapping and writing since he was 11. We grew up in the same neighborhood and I became a member of Ill Immigrants soon after high school. When I left Zimbabwe 4 years ago to study engineering in China, myself and Naye had already started to record as a duo. Upon my return, we formed Guru Nayetion and recorded Armchair Empire, a five track Mixtape. Ill Immigrants was formed in South Africa in 2006 and members have performed locally and internationally from HIFA to South Africa to China.
11:26, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: What can you say about the locals seemingly favouring local dancehall over Hiphop?
11:46, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): When Bob Marley performed at our independence celebrations, he built a strong bond between Zimbabwe and Caribbean music. As dancehall evolved in Jamaica, Zimbabwe kept a keen eye on it. Many were raised on Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton, so it’s only natural for many young people, when they discover their talent for writing to manifest it in a dancehall form. And unlike Hip Hop, local dancehall plays in a very safe comfort zone. Hip hop tempos are constantly varying and the melodies cross over into many other genres which means it’s very easy to get it wrong. If one listens to the top ten dancehall songs on our local charts, they’ll be hard pressed to point out differences in the instrumentals and they’ll find that many of the rhyme schemes are reused multiple times. For the casual ear, it’s very easy to follow. The discerning ear however, will gravitate to Hip Hop, depending on the quality. I don’t think the local hip hop industry will get very far talking about drinks in every song.
11:54, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: Wow brilliant.
11:54, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): There is also a flawed perception that Hip Hop is selling out or culture because off its “Americanness”, no one bats an eyelid when they hear ‘yes sire’ or ‘mi bredren’
11:57, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: You said a lot of great points there that am sure the readers will look into. What is the main challenge you may face while trying to push music in Zimbabwe and what have you done to overcome some of the obstacles if there are any as Guru Nayetion.
12:07, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): There’s a saying in real estate, ‘if you build it, they’ll come to it.’ One of the major challenges is that of perception. Our method is to keep improving our sound. We find ourselves now in a place where it’s no longer a matter of how, but when. Intelligent marketing will definitely increase our exposure and it’s our pleasure to spread our message to Zimbabwe and the world. Everything we’ve been through only makes us stronger. We love what we do and there are many others who feel the same way. The number is growing everyday.
12:10, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: Who were your early influences?
12:19, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Public Enemy, the Notorious B.I.G to mention a few in hip hop. Thomas Mapfumo, Michael Jackson and Nina Simone have also had a big impact on my thinking musically. On the business and parlaying side of things, guys like 50, Jay-Z and Puffy play a big role. I still have an original copy of Doggystyle from 1993.
I do have to mention guys like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Bill Hicks here. I’m a big fan of comedy too.
12:27, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: You’re a very huge hiphop fan I see. I also was priviledged to get a prerelease of some of your music in Altered States and some of the songs seem to have ab underlying spiritual message. Is Guru Nayetion spiritual or attached to any particular faith. What role do you think Spirituality plays in art?
12:30, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): Without being spiritual, you cannot be musical. I think that encompasses it all.
15:42, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: How is your next project to be distributed? if u were to do a collabo with any rappers in Zim. Who is your top 5 outside ill immz.
15:57, Mar 14 – Guru Nayetion (Prof L): It’s not a very popular list, but I’ll go with K-Mak, Gadget (from Bulawayo), Upmost(already collab’d on ‘Get Yours’), Vi$ion (based in SA) and one for the ladies; Madeleine Bregger aka M-Breezy.Working on a dedicated reverb account for Guru Nayetion
16:01, Mar 14 – Mcpotar: Will definitely look for their material. Thanks for linking up. Hope you multiply your hustle.
Get in touch with them.
Twitter – @Naye_Sean and @ProfessorLtG