I recently managed to meet up with one of Bulawayo’s prominent socialites and Hip-hop artists in the local Hip-hop industry, “Naboth Rizla”. He’s the man behind “GrapeVine clothing” which is accompanied by the website www.da-grape-vine.com (a website that updates people about the Hip-hop scenes across different parts of the world). Now, with all the controversy from the Zim Hip-hop Awards (ZHHA) which were held a couple weeks ago (in 2014), it was quite obvious and inevitable that I would ask him to share his thoughts. From the discussion we had, he stated that hopefully there will be more transparency with regards to how certain rappers can be nominated, and chosen to win the different awards in 2015. I totally agree with this, because it will help more people understand what exactly a rapper has done, or what exactly they need to do. Another point he stated was that ZHHA in 2015 should make an extra effort to consider more artists from the different cities/regions in Zimbabwe (eg. Vic Falls, Kadoma etc.) , as this would create a more true reflection of Zimbabwean Hip-hop as a whole. I agree with this because there are a lot of good rappers across the country that put in a lot of work throughout the year and deserve some kind-of credit. Well, the awards have passed, so we all need to move on; I just hope that lessons were learnt (Congratulations to everyone who won and all those who were nominated).
Moving on, we then went on to talk about the rap battles that he has been hosting for the past year and a half. Every year, GrapeVine clothing comes up with live events to promote local rappers and give them a hand with their visibility within the local Hip-hop industry. One of the main reasons for the rap battles, is to show the world that there is a “battle rapping community”, at the same time helping local artists with being visible in different hip-hop circles and platforms. The first rap battle tournament saw ASAPH (formerly known as Kwanfire) walk away as the winner with not only bragging rights, but also $100. The second tournament saw Spliffah Ray walking away as the champion, and now we wait on who will be the winner of the 3rd tournament. 2015 will see these rap battles growing bigger than before, expanding to different cities, and with due time, to different countries. I’m glad to say that one of the battles were actually screened on national TV (ZBC) just before the new year began (under the show “Ndeip’ genga”).
Before I concluded the interview, we managed to talk about Naboth Rizla’s upcoming compilation: “The Grind Never Sleeps” EP. I can testify that a lot of time and work has been put into this EP. The EP is a collection of tracks that talk about the grind and the hustle, and Naboth Rizla has managed to team up with some of the best producers in the game: Da Kompozitioner and Nzabbie. I can guarantee you that this will definitely be an EP worth buying. One of the tracks on the EP is Fastlane, which is a track that saw Naboth Rizla partnering with The IV , and guess what? Expect a video to the track coming soon. The EP is due to be released this year, but the date is yet to be released (you can keep up to date by following him on twitter @nabothrizla). To finally conclude the interview, a word of advice from Naboth Rizla was simple and straight to the point: “THE GRIND NEVER SLEEPS”.