By Robert Mukondiwa
Quite a number of things seem to tear Zimbabweans apart at the seams. We have not been agreeing on a whole lot of things over the past two decades. While it may be universally acknowledged that the sky is blue, it would not be totally out of the ordinary if a debate ensued in Zimbabwe and people argued on totally different corners with people throwing alternative colours including that the sky is topaz, turquoise, cadet and a whole host of other colours.
So it was not surprising that when the new video for the song “Angel Lo” by Jah Prayzah, a collaboration with Jamaican sensation Jah Cure dropped, it again came and tore opinion at the very seams that have been ripped and re-sewn for the umpteenth time.
While Jah Prayzah has of late been showing a keenness to have collaborations with various artistes from various backgrounds, presumably, and understandably to grow his footprint and get the world knowing his name and brand.
Many have been of the opinion that Jah Prayzah can do no wrong. As always, there are the loyalists, much like in the occult, who will wear rose tinted spectacles (heavily tinted while we are at it) and conveniently see no warts. He’s the Gupta of Zimbabwean arts and has captured some and left them with empty insides that rattle-no soul left! But the praise singers in the gallery are not worth an ounce of one’s time reading their licked opinions.
And so too on the other hand are the others who have failed to appreciate anything Jah Prayzah and therefore just un-muzzle and shoot. Jah Prayzah’s music and art needs in depth analysis and those that tear apart out of prejudice miss this point.
But truth be told, the latest project from Jah Prayzah leaves one a little bit schizophrenic if not a lot. Many people will listen to it and watch it and end up on a shrink’s couch trying to make sense of the world.
The greatest catastrophe may be when you get to your psychiatrist for help and see her lying in the couch also wanting help after having watched the video!
The thing is, perhaps Jah Prayzah has milked enough from the collaboration scene and must hold up a bit for his personal brand. Others on social media have even suggested that he might as well have tried selling the MTM brand by stepping down for perhaps Nutty O to do the Jah Cure collaboration or perhaps Andy Muridzo who has a succinct beautiful touch where lovers rock and roots beats are concerned.
Those making such suggestions may have a point, but they do not know Jah Prayzah. He loves the spotlight like any successful artiste. In fact, the most famous musician ever, Lucifer, was denied his bed in heaven when his dad caught him trying to play imposter and steal his dad’s thunder many moons ago.
Artistes don’t just step down for the next person.
Jah Prayzah is no different. Even on the field of football, almost every star wants to take that free kick in the zone or that penalty. Selfishness is the very bone that makes any genius and is somewhat what leads to success often.
If Jah Prayzah were a football coach, he most certainly would try negotiating to also take a penalty no doubt. He is a man hungry for success.
So Angel Lo had to be with his voice. After all, the song Tahle did featuring Jah Prayzah, which has sunk already from the horizon, features arguably more of Jah Prayzah than Tahle herself.
But I digress.
While “Ange Lo” has all the ingredients for magic, it falls terribly short of a well-rounded product.
The song, armed with some of the best vocals the twenty-first century can bring together, is itself not an inspiring song. Like a Zimsec Paper 2 examination, one will need to re-sit it and try taking it in. Again and again. Yet few will change their opinion. The track is like marmite. You either like it or you don’t. End of! Chances are the latter.
The lyrics by Jah Prayzah could have been plucked from the winning kindergartens song writing competition, with all due respect to first graders. Not well thought out. Pretty ordinary and the critics, seasoned fair critics, from Chat 263 right through to your leading bloggers, agree there is a dearth of lyricism.
So why then would it be a track that confuses people? Surely if it is a mess with soggy lyrics people ought to throw it in the bin?
And this is where the schizophrenia comes in.
The video! Well that thing is the thing of genius. A master-stroke! A gem.
Shot in Barcelona, it is probably the most talked about video attracting headlines. Jah Prayzah thinks of Making Video. Jah Prayzah Buys Clothes For Video. Jah Prayzah Suffers Headache While Thinking About Shooting A Video. Jah Prayzah Buys Mobile Phone Line In Barcelona to Shoot Video. Jah Prayzah . . .
And for all the noise, racket and annoying clamour, it seems the trip to Catalonia indeed was worth it!
Kill the sound and make it a silent biopic and you will see a video that speaks love, passion, intense emotion and total genius. Finally, a video that is worth every cent spent on it armed with cinematography that is stunning.
And icing on the cake? Well that little looker lying on the deck with Jah Prayzah with hair strewn all over the place has a unique beauty. And as Jah Prayzah looks into her eyes one is almost certain he saw bit and pieces of some of the most majestic scenes of that place we all are yearning to go to, behold and inherit-heaven!
Jah Prayzah’s wife must be totally worried. The stunner with the long (and real) hair looking into her husband’s eyes with longing, who has skin tones of various receding shades of honey, is quite a beauty who can steal any heart.
And so it is with Angel Lo, that it steals the heart of those who watch this amazing video. But it will not steal the ears of all who hear the superbly and wonderfully mediocre humdrum that accompanies the cinematic magic.
The Spanish guitar strings though at the opening are captivating and sound like they were plucked straight out of an Antonio Banderas erotic scene in, say “Desperado”, strummed by a godly mariachi. That has to be said.
And rightly Jah Cure calls Tamuka “the magician”. He’s the god of the moment in terms of production and towers above the rest.
After the godly collaboration that was “Rwiyo Rwerudo” and “Watora Mari”, perhaps Jah Prayzah needs to take a deep breath a little before embarking on another collaboration in order to not blow hot and cold like he is doing on his collaboration scene at the moment.
Because a string of misses like “Angel Lo”, the Mafikizolo average “Mazuva Akanaka” and the now wilted Davido collaboration “My Lilly” don’t bode well for the amount of airmiles JP is clocking. Perhaps time for Nutty O and Andy Muridzo to also take out their passports for the Military Touch Movement — no?