#ZimHipHop vs. Urban Grooves: Whose Genre Is It Anyway?

What's the diffrence between Zim Hip-Hop and Urban Grooves?

[feature] Zim Hip-Hop vs. Urban Grooves


This debate has gone on for over five years now. What differentiates Zim Hip Hip and Urban Grooves? How can an artist be deemed fit for either terms? Having been an Urban Grooves blogger from 2010 to 2013 I will share my knowledge of the two.

Zim Hip-Hop


This is a term given to Hip-Hop music made by Zimbabweans in English or the predominant native languages of Shona or Ndebele.

Urban Grooves


This is a mixed-genre genre that arose from the late 90s to the 2010s (although some may think it still exists). Its name was derived from a compilation by producer Delani Makhalima. This was made up of mostly urban music (i.e. Dancehall, R&B and Hip-Hop). Circa 2011-12 Dancehall moved itself out of the Urban Grooves fold to become Zim Dancehall, with Hip-Hop following suite a year later.

There is an on-going belief by Zimbabweans in the diaspora that Urban Grooves still exists.

Stunner (arguably Zim Hip-Hop's biggest star)

Another shocking thing is that Zim Hip Hop’s most famous and decorated artist Stunner is deemed by some as not being Hip Hop enough and thus should be relegated to Urban Grooves. The begs the question, “What exactly does Hip-Hop sound like?”

If we trace the history of Hip-Hop we notice that it borrowed sounds nad music from other genres, the likes of jazz and funk. Hip Hop purists only believe in the boom bap sound but this is only a section of what Hip-Hop sounds like.

Over the years the hip-hop sound itself has evolved globally, that stretch beyond the limit of what was once know as Hip-Hop two decades ago. An example is Lil Uzi Vert’s XO Tour Llife. This has a lot of singing and harmonizing although its logic may be incomprehensible. Closer to home we have AKA’s Caiphus Song, which sounds more pop than pure Hip-Hop.

When the definition of global Hip-Hop is evolving who are we to say that this is not Hip-Hop. The integral aspect of Hip-Hop music is rapping, right?

The basic meaning of rapping (or spitting, emceeing or what have you) as defined by Wikipedia is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backbeat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content" (what is being said), "flow" (rhythm, rhyme), and "delivery" (cadence, tone). Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track.

ExQ a.k.a Mr. Putiti

With this definition can we say ExQ’s Nhema is NOT Zim Hip-Hop? What about the 2016 Zim Hip Hop Collaboration of the Year Mainini by 8L and Tocky Vibes?

Urban Grooves can be defined as the parent that birthed the offspring of Zim Dancehall and Zim Hip-Hop so both these genres will be related to Urban Grooves. With these genres now standing on their own though the term Urban Grooves is becoming more extinct by the day.

It would be hypocritical then to make one’s type of Zim Hip-Hop the alpha definition of what Zim Hip-Hop as Hip-Hop music in its essence is a concoction of other genres.

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