“The media always tries to make Africa sound like it’s the most horrible place on earth, but that’s not the truth at all. Africa’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to but there is also a negative aspect, there’s heaven and there’s hell in the same place. These two realms are located in Africa.” This is Munashe. 17 years old. Born in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Raised in New Zealand since 2003. Hip Hop started for him when his nanny in Zimbabwe would play ‘R&B and Hip Hop 24/7’ says the rapper who also states he’s an artist and emcee. Also in the AmmoNation collective his début release, 1st Impression has his team beaming with pride, as it should. And though it has been released as a ‘mixtape’ all the beats and lyrics are made by Munashe. Every sound on the tape was recorded by an instrument played by him. It really is impressive. There’s a genuine integrity in Munashe as a person — not just an artist that comes out in his music. During the interview, I’m in awe of his consciousness, he is a nice surprise as he says, ‘Realness, hip hop, that’s what the culture’s all about’.
AmmoNation creator Raiza Biza says, ‘Munashe has been sending me music for about two years and the first thing I admired was his determination. That can’t be taught. I knew he would be a great artist, but what I was more sure of was that he wouldn’t quit. Truth is, I knew for years that I would ask him to join the team, it was just a case of timing. And now that I look at all he’s achieved once joining Ammo, I know I was right.”
Speaking to whenndidyoufallinlovewithhiphop, we talk about religion, Africa, Munashe’s definition of a lady. Rep FM named him artist of the week and earlier in the year Thandi Ntshinga interviewed Munashe for the blog. In that interview he said he wants to be global by 21. At the time it seemed like a bold statement. But with 1st Impression now released, it is clear the kid has the goods to back it up.
Get 1st Impression HERE:
HH: What are you doing when you get inspired to write a song, are you reading, watching TV or listening to music when you soak in this kind of wisdom?
M: I don’t actually watch TV aye. It’s my dad definitely. Like my dad, he’s a book head right and he’s actually doing a PHD right now. He’s always reading, constantly. He’s a well spoken person, so when I talk to him I have to keep a standard of talking — it can’t just be, you know, using colloquial speech and what not.
HH: Does the N-bomb offend you when people who aren’t African say it?
M: I’ll be honest, even I know I shouldn’t say the N-Word because it’s disrespectful; not to me but to people who actually were around when it was used as a derogatory term. Like me, I could get offended ‘like hey don’t say that around me because I’m black’, but that’s not actually why the word is offensive. The word is offensive, because at a certain time there will people that were actually going through hardships — trials and tribulations because of that word. I can’t listen to a rapper who’s saying ‘nigga’ every five words, that shows lack of intelligence and a small vocab.
“People always ask me: ‘How do you know God exists?’ I’m like, look in the mirror brah, the body’s a complex organism and you’re telling me that it just sprung out of nowhere, G?”
HH: As someone from Africa, worrying about disproportionate wealth in NZ, would you say it’s due to colonization?
M: Colonization…..Colonization happened but now it’s over. We can’t just keep blaming our problems on things that happened in the past. Even slavery. If I can’t get a job today I can’t be like, oh it’s because we were slaves a couple years back. Nah, I need to take responsibility of the present. Not try and bring the past into it. It’s the present — the future we’re looking at, and if we want a bright future, Africa needs to stop that; the leaders need to stop being dictators and actually care about the people; not only enforce rules that benefit them and their families… We live in a selfish world so I don’t foresee that happening [in my lifetime] but if it does…
HH: In your music, is that an issue that you’d like to at least affect?
M: Yeah, definitely.
HH: What was your intention with the line sex leads to STD’s, school leads to PHD’s?
M: That line’s just talking about priorities. Like teenagers – we could either be doing something that could lead to a PHD or something that could lead to an STD. Our priorities aren’t straight. We focus on the things that don’t matter like the superficial things and forget to do the things that actually matter and will get us to a better point in life, we only live for now but not for later.
HH: What would you say, if I was to say to you, you’re really young and life hasn’t affected you yet. So I wonder if you will be able to maintain this spirit in music as you progress?
M: Um, I’d say only time will tell.
HH: When did you fall in love with hip hop?
M: When I first heard it.
Extended interview audio available below: