UK-based Zimbabwean rapper Tinashe Karizma Sahanga recently released an album titled “Fakazi”.
The project, whose title is the Ndebele word for “witness” is named after his late father.
With just eight tracks, the project tells a story of an artiste who is confident of where they are with their music and has a well-defined tale to tell.
The last time Zimbabwean Hip Hop had such a well-received album with mellow beats and English bars was when Synik released the undisputed classic album, “Syn City” which raked in awards in 2012.
It comes as no surprise that Karizma consulted Synik, who is now based in Lisbon, Portugal in the conceptual stages of the album.
“There was a sound I wanted to achieve. So I reached out to two rappers I respect Synik and Raiza Biza and asked them to connect me with the producers who can give a soulful sound. They linked me up with Soul Chef (New Zealand) and Phil Cronics (Vernice), I hit these guys up and I told them I want to make some music. They got the idea of what I wanted, after back and forth correspondence, they sent me the beats,” Karizma said.
Although he had the beats which would pass for any mellow album compilation, he still felt he needed more elements to make the music communicate his roots.
As a Zimbabwean living in the UK, he felt it connected him with his roots, the infusing of African percussion to beats whose makers had a circular perspective
“I wanted the music to speak to a place. It took me one year to find someone who could help me add a layer to the beats I already had held for close to a year. Firstly I approached Simba Tagz but he was held up with some work, I then reached out to Adrian Tate who I felt was up to the task. When I was working with Adrian Tate, adding elements to the music his laptop crashed when we had made about 70 percent progress, it was back to square one,” said Karizma.
By the time this happened, Simba Tagz was available and he eventually handled the remaining beat layering for “Fakazi” adding on to what Soul Chef and Phil Chronics had created frames for.
Karizma said he wanted his album to sound like how Oliver Mtukudzi would have executed a rap album in 2018.
Despite having enjoyed considerable success in the UK, hosting a hip hop show on BBC and having his songs used in the 2017 edition of MTV Shuga, he still yearns to make an impact in his home country.
“Above anything else, I am a patriot. Moving Zimbabwean culture forward is something I consider my life work. Everything I do, even outside the country has never stopped being about Zimbabwean hip hop, this is why I insist on recording most of my music here. I am Zimbabwean first,” Karizma said.
He is part of the group of rappers who used to be part of the Zwagga nights movement which gave a lot of local rap acts a platform to perform around 2012.
It used to take place at upmarket clubs who were receptive to the hip hop culture around the time.
“I moved back to Zimbabwe for one and half years around 2012. I had been watching Zwagga from overseas and I wanted to experience what it was all about. At the time the front runners of the project were Tehn Diamond, Take Fizzo, Jnr Brown, Alka Nemo,” said Karizma, in reminiscence of what could be the most consistent performance platform pre-dating the genre’s golden year 2013.
With the album in hand, yet another addition to his discography, Karizma is determined to create a relationship with his local audience.
By any measure it will not be easy, but he is an act who has consistently connected with his base, his 2016 Best Diaspora Award at the Zimbabwe Hip Hop Awards, was evidence of his relevance on home turf as one of the elders in the local rap game currently.