On a rainy Saturday evening, Harare’s Hip Hop fans converged on H2O Night Club to attend the launch party of The Pungwe Sessions for what turned out to be an eventful night filled with incredible highs & some disturbing lows.
Firstly the title of a “Launch Party” was somewhat of a misnomer. When The African Hip Hop Blog & Rymez had planned to release the Pungwe Sessions it was initially meant to be a 15 track mixtape that would not take more than 2 months to complete. But as the music began to be created we realised the label of a mixtape would devalue the content. So the team here at The AHHB & Rymez himself became far more selective of what we would allow to be released under The Pungwe Sessions brand. We were working with over 30 artists & the project began to bleed into the busiest time of year for most performing artists (December). The project timelines & deadlines we had initially mapped out were extended but, the venue had already been booked & Rymez was only in the country for a limited time, so we decided to forge ahead & use this party to serve 2 purposes. One was to bring awareness to the project. The other was to lay the foundations for a platform to allow Hip Hop artists to perform their music in a club & in turn gain some exposure while perfecting their craft.
This certainly is not the first platform of its kind. Book Cafe, Zwagga Nights & Magamba Network’s various spoken word & Hip Hop events have done this before. But, the hope was this would allow the artists to perform to a new audience in a very different setting. In the future we plan to hold more events of this nature that are not particularly tied to a project.
Now onto the party itself. The turnout was amazing & by midnight the club was nearing capacity. We would all like to thank those who came out to support, fans & artists alike. Also in attendance was The Deputy Minister of Media, Information And Publicity; Mr Supa Mandiwanzira , the man that inspired The Pungwe Sessions first single; Mr Philip Chiyangwa himself & several other invited guests.
The launch kicked off in earnest with a sets from DJ Naida & Reverb 7 which then ushered in the performances. Marcques opened up the show with an electric performance featuring his hit Zunguza. It was at this point that a change to the schedule had to be made as our invited guests had to leave earlier than planned. Jnr Brown came out & delivered the first live performance of the number 1 hit featuring a cameo from Mr. Chiyangwa himself on stage. He then performed 3 more songs including Ka Life & Go Ahead with Simba Tagz. It was at this point that our guests had to leave, but not before a short speech from The Minister were he highlighted the importance of supporting local music.
At this point, the large (& intoxicated) crowd became increasingly rowdy & the decision to suspend the remainder of the performances until a little later was made in the interests of crowd safety. Because of this change F.T.R., AbNorm & TRK were not able to perform their sets. Because of this The African Hip Hop blog would like to apologise to the artists & their fans for not being able to deliver on their promise. Because of this several fans were refunded & we hope to provide another opportunity to see these artists perform in the future.
The night then closed out with DJ RayDizz delivering one of his signature sets that helped bring the crowd back under control & lift the spirits of those in attendance.
All in all this was a great night for Zimbabwean Hip Hop & we hope to replicate this in future, not only in Harare, but across the continent. A lot of lessons were learnt & the mistakes here will not be repeated again.
We would also like to thank our media partner ZiFM for all their help & our sponsor Mutupo Clothing for providing us with a tonne of giveaways on the night.
Be sure to check out the current singles off The Pungwe Sessions Vol. 1 & look out for the full project to drop soon.
You can see more images from the night here