Pants sagging, gold and diamond chains wagging on waists, snap back caps flipped backwards or sideways all are influences of the hip-hop culture.
Parents have lamented the negative mental pictures that hip hop culture conjure in their children.
It is because the youngsters are getting closer to their music heroes than their parents, which is making the genre to have influence on the young generation.
In Malawi, the influence of hip-hop culture is evidenced by the way students have embraced songs of popular hip-hop artists such as Gwamba and Nesnes.
The two are not in category of artists that adorn themselves with celebrity attire, but if you saw Chichiri Secondary School students screaming their names when they visited the institution with most of the students jostling for a handshake or an autograph, you would change your perception about their popularity.
Realising the influence they have on students, Gwamba and Nesnes had invaded the school for motivational talks on October 10.
Soon after their arrival, the urban music artists were mobbed as they were escorted to the staffroom and ushered to the school hall where they delivered their talk.
The noisy hall went into silence when Nesnes took to the podium to address the students. He opened his talk with a line from his song Wina Watenga which his secondary schools fans sang along in excitement.
“My fellow young people I have come here so that we can share something about our future. Most of you know us from music videos. When you patronise our shows you easily identify the Nesnes you see on TV and listen to on radio.
“But it has never been all rosy; we had to work hard to be here. As a matter of fact, we are still working hard. I am at Polytechnic where I am pursuing a degree programme. I want you to know the importance of education. As you nurture your talents, make sure your studies are on track.
“We are all students just like you. Most of you have talent, but for you to stand out you need education to push deals and even go further,” said Nesnes.
To avoid boring his audience with his speech, Nesnes spiced it up by calling on the pupils to the front to perform any of his song and stand a chance of winning tickets to the Gwamba and Nesnes’s double launch today at Robin’s Park in Blantyre.
Gwamba also hopped on stage with hype and before he could talk, he invited pupils to perform his verses to enable them to win tickets to his show. He then went into his motivational talk.
“I know most of you follow our music and you are at an age that I once was. But to get to where I am now, I had to make good decisions. I urge you to work hard in school and refrain from immoral behaviour and don’t indulge in drug and alcohol abuse.
“We will not have a better Malawi if half of the population of young people is killed by HIV or if the people are not well educated. Currently, I am studying for a degree programme at Adventist University in Ntcheu and it has never always been easy and I tell you it won’t be easy for you too. But you just have to push and move on,” said Gwamba.
In an interview with Society, Gwamba said they realised their music resonates among young people and thought of reaching out to them to motivate the pupils.
“They listen to our songs and they have ideas of who we are. They follow us religiously and that is why it is easier for us to reach out to them with a positive message,” said Gwamba.
For Nesnes, Chichiri Secondary School holds memories for him as he says he was the first operator of a mobile airtime selling hawker on the driveway of the school some years back.
“It was not easy for me to reach this far. But I kept hoping and pushing and with the grace of God, here I am,” he said.
Nesnes added that he knows there are a lot of young people who are facing challenges he once encountered but hoped that after sharing his story, someone can still be inspired to change.
One of the pupils at the school, Dineo Semphani, said she was delighted at the visit of the two artists.
“I am a huge fan of the artists and having them talk to us about education is a thing we do not take for granted. We have learnt how we can balance our talents and our education. We have learnt a lot,” said Dineo.
A teacher at the school, Dominic Ligoya, hailed the two artists for the motivational talks.
“These are young talented artists and they have a huge following and having them talk to students is a good move. The students can connect with them easily,” said Ligoya.
Gwamba and Nesnes launch their albums at Robins Park in Blantyre today.