In hip-hop music, aiming digs at each other, a practice loosely referred to as beef, is a culture that almost defines the genre.
It is, therefore, not strange to hear artists engage in silent warfare through their compositions. In Malawi, the situation is not different.
However, a new initiative seeks to promote the cleaner side of hip-hop.
Property management firm Cornerstone Real Estate has dangled a 20 metres (m) by 30m plot valued at K7. 5 million to be given to one local hip-hop artist who has never engaged in any kind of beef with another artist. The company says the eligible artist should have over 300 000 followers on Facebook.
The firm has asked music followers to suggest who they think is the cleanest hip-hop artist through their Facebook page and entertainment online platform, Mikozi Network.
The company said they have embarked on the initiative because of their interest in art and its impact. Through the initiative, the company also wants to counter some stereotypes associated with hip-hop music. The company also wants to promote the genre’s image.
Cornerstone Real Estate public relations officer Christian Mhango said from the votes that they will receive, they will analyse the track record of the artist and in case of a tie, they will ask the people to vote again to break the tie.
“The focus has always been on rewarding footballers, but we thought of diversifying this time around. The plot is at New Airwing [Chabwe] after Baron Estate in Lilongwe,” he said.
But news of the promotion has been met with different reactions from several hip-hop players.
Veteran hip hop music producer Tapps Bandawe said much as the promotion is a welcome idea, it would help if the framers took time to understand the culture of the genre.
He said: “Beef is part of the hip-hop culture. It is a competitive genre and it’s built on people trying to out-rap each other and this is where beef stems from. Of course sometimes things go too far where people have taken it seriously and ended up in deaths.
“Regardless, it is still a huge part of the hip-hop culture. Hip-hop is not pop music. Hip-hop represents the streets. It is the voice of the streets and it is not always going to be pretty. It is, therefore, important that we don’t dilute what hip-hop is.”
Rapper Marcus Pasanje of the Dare Devils duo said hip-hop represents a broad spectrum as it has several pillars that hold together the whole structure of the genre. He said he finds the criteria for the contest weird.
“It is really sad that hip-hop in Malawi concentrates on just rapping and m’ciing. Battle rapping is part of the culture. So, a real rapper must have beefed at least once or more times in his rap journey,” he said. n