Malawi’s top billed rapper, Gwamba, put to rest days of waiting among his fans yesterday as he dropped his third gospel track yesterday since his million dollar switch from secular music. But is this a hit or miss for the once prodigal son who announced his calling to preach salvation through his music?
As rightly titled, Nzeru touches on the bad-boy-gone-good, the moment the long-lost son decides to return to his father’s home. In what greets you as a masterpiece, Gwamba pleads with God to grant him the wisdom he needs for his life to run smoothly. He leaves behind as earthly, self-glorification in his bars which was central in his first Gospel single, Better.
In contrast, Nzeru’s overarching message is life giving and has a champing beat. The award winning artist implicitly makes a reference to King Solomon who asked God for wisdom rather than seeking glory in worldly treasure.
He vividly tweaks his style to match the tune whether by design or just mere coincidence. He distinctively performs the song in a manner that he takes off the secular, boastful imagery that was synonymous with his songs in his other life such as Zimuvuta.
The Lilongwe based MC combines efforts with Afro pop singer, Maskal who popularly known for sweet choruses, is also entrusted with what he knows best in spicing up the former’s rap verses.
Having said that, one can imagine it is almost difficult for a neighbour to curse you for noise pollution should you listen to Nzeru on full blast. A masterpiece, you are tempted to say!
But this is not everything that can be said about the song. It should be stated that another person that could not keep his precious hands away from Nzeru is DJee Sley. His magic touch of brilliance never fails unless the artist is extremely bad, a description that does not suit an artist of Gwamba caliber.
But even the best at times perform poorly. On this song, the producer deserves a credit, but the rapper and the singer have their shortfalls.
Firstly, there is nothing much that you will hear from Maskal, let alone the chorus. It appears he was just featured to give an ad-lib because he repetitively sings is the word Nzeru. With his voice still standing out, the Blantyre based musician tries his level best to add salt to the song. Those that have never listened to his songs are likely to mistake him for an acapella singer, with his chorale touch.
Gwamba’s first gospel song, Better, was a hit of its own class, a record breaker. This is possibly because in Better, Gwamba employed his secular artistry tricks to the extent that it seemed to challenge the long held myth that secular artist can not hit the bull’s eye when they switch to gospel.
With Alleluyah which followed Better, what appeared to be an anthill on a distance, grew into a gigantic mountain size of Mulanje as Gwamba approached it. It is evident that he needs the best guides to climb it because he is seating profusely before the real hike starts.
Of course without the help of his father-in-law, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, who urge thousands of his followers on Facebook to download whatever Gwamba dishes out regardless of the quality, Better couldnot have garnered the downloads it registered.
So ignore the number of downloads, because sometimes the name pushes people and with a single mention by Bushiri or his wife asking people to download Nzeru, Gwamba may also shutdown Malawi Music streaming websites. But that should not be confused with what Nzeru is – a huge miss as Gwamba fails to even hit the crossbar with what may have been considered as his best shot at Gospel music.
Indeed, let truth be told, Gwamba’s shortfall at Gospel that first poked its head in Alleluyah is evidently stronger in Nzeru, a song with a powerful message, fantastic production but a poorly done delivery and un-appetising flow that does not sit well with Gwamba’s style.
What a miss!