By Charles Twitch Nyerere
Music is life and we are all music lovers despite our different take on genres and specific artists. Each and every day we listen to different music from different artists coming from different origins. And everyday artists go to studios to record their music in order to captivate our musical souls in return become our favourites and remain relevant in our entertainment world.
Much as remaining relevant and maintaining status in music circles is not a stress-free task others have successfully evolved their music over time to withstand their iconic names. Others have been forced into deep siesta without favour.
Music as a component of art has evolved quiet a lot; a process that has reshuffled musical styles and introduced new ones in the process familiarized us with fresh artists on the arena. This aspect is a development and it’s a landmark in music industry. This whole evolution process has not only furnished us with various musical tastes but also aided us ideally to organise and categorize our music into major styles like classical and contemporary music even though classical music is highly associated with scholarly music and art. It is less developed in developing countries. The evolution has also helped as to group music into old and new school with the new school being highly associated with Trap Music. We have also become conscious of the popular genres trending in our country like Hip-hop, Rhythm and Blues, Afro-pop, dancehall and reggae. Whilst genres like country and electronic pop have been behind the scenes and are rarely found.
This is 2020 another decade; many artists who began their music journey in 2005/2006 they have clocked fourteen years plus. Their relevance and maintenance in the music industry can be challenged by new school generation and it is really stiff to push beyond horizon of every Jim and Jack. The new school has infiltrated the industry with different music styles winning the youthful majority who controls our general population. This is the point where a rule of the survival of the fittest applies “as the weakest has been eliminated in the urban music and the strongest are still surviving”. The question that can follow is what do you mean when you say strongest? And what is weakest? In this aspect ‘strongest’ means the ability to adapt to changes in music evolution to suit the present taste and be able to maintain status with all means. Whereas ‘weakest’ is same as failing to sustain relevance in present times after your hit period expires.” For example, Tay Grin evolved his music by shifting from hip-hop-like to Afro-pop music the time he started releasing sorts of “Chipapapa” and that direction has helped him remain relevant in the game.
Allow me to introduce Phyzix to you. Well, I grew up listening to Phyzix from way back. It’s a known fact that the self-made captain Bae has been pushing his music so hard fighting against the odds of maintenance. The Cholapitsa Hit-maker has been in the game for about fourteen years; becoming one of surviving legends in hip-hop game as far as music is concerned. Its undisputable fact that his ‘Cholapitsa’ track made it into ‘the list of hits of the decade’ and those who can recall how this song melted the airwaves and Variety-shows can agree with me without hunting for popular vote. In short we cannot talk about urban Malawi-music without recognizing the ‘Gamba’ himself.
There are a lot of techniques that artists have harnessed to remain popular and one of it is the art of collaborations. Collabos have power to perform wonders on an artist’s lifespan. As I watched closely, Phyzix has tried to evolve and grow to maintain his relevance in the game by releasing tracks blended in contemporary touch, collaborated with several artists that are making headlines in the circles. Recently Phyzix has released ‘Chinyamata Chikukoma’ which featured Multi-award winning star Wikise; ‘Michael Yekha’ he did with Tay Grin, Piksy, Teddy, Theo Thomson and Hyphen; Kuseli kwa Mpanda Remix by climax featured Phyzix, Bucci, Drobizo, Dette Flo, Santiago, K-Banton, Mwanache, Nitrix, Drizzle Akazonic and 6th. The goodness of flying high with colloabos is that artists tend to expand their fan-base by exposing themselves to the audience of their counterparts.
Musical ideas are not simple construct. Every song starts from scratch with a just a thought then graduates into lyrics which later is recorded into a song. A musical concept as a technique however has the power to keep artists in the game for long period of time. Flexible concepts are those that are not really limited to time, sometimes person’s name, event or occasion and also dedication. They can be applicable anywhere anytime and by anyone. Phyzix’s Cholapitsa song itself is the concept that has survived time, compared to what recent songs like “Chindekha” by Vube can do. Though it’s not easy to produce a concept that its song can hit the waves and stays longer, artists should really spend much time on their concepts.
Another known technique that has kept artists still known is “alleged beef” whether “staged” or “real”. From way back Phyzix was at the centre of “hot beef” with Jolly Bro who did couple of songs targeting “Man Phyzo” in most of his music era. A good number of fans followed this feud in the process helping artist like Phyzix gaining momentum in their fan-base. The component of beef has proved beyond reasonable doubt that fans usually follow the outcome of the beef very keenly. Remember how we followed this beef and songs like “Nyimbo Si Beef” by Phyzix and “Bwezani” by JB? The success of this element has lately prompted some artists to “stage beef” behind curtain just to boost attention from followers. Remember Saint and Jay Jay C? Was it “staged beef” or “real”? it’s a question that I have asked myself several times.
On top of that, Phyzix has been a centre of tongue-lashing, the most talked-hiphop artist on social media platform these days. Through posts, commentaries, video clips and talks, it has been noted that he is one of figures that someone somewhere is mentioning him.
When UMP failed to recognize Phyzo both in their two awards, it was another headline that trended and treated Phyzix unfairly based on effort he did in 2019. We even witnessed “the cold war” that has always been there between Fredokiss and Phyzix resurfacing when the Ghetto King-Kong” posted something on Facebook and later on deleted it poking Phyzix. We all know these two don’t see each other eye for eye and I don’t want to talk about it. But my point is Phyzix has remained the laughing stalk for not scooping any UMP award. Only if you can translate these negativities into positivity you will be able to see how much it has contributed to his relevance.
It’s an obvious fact that Phyzix has become centre of controversy due to the mixed feelings on his rapping skills, song delivery and also the fact that he calls himself “King of the Ghetto”. Some say his flows are feeble; others say his lyrics are puerile; even some say new school beats are hard for him; and others say he is not really the king of the ghetto. Similarly, this lyrical bar went viral and remained one of cited bars (by Phyzo) in many social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp “Ndinavaya brah I went.” A video of this verse sometime back circulated which was mixed with “another video of legendary comedian Izeki saying “Zina umangoona waziyamba” (Sometimes you just realised you are into something.) To say the truth we all laughed and shared it on different platforms. Now the question that we should ask ourselves is; did that really affected Phyzix? Or it added relevance to his career? What have these elements of “gossip” brought on Phyzix? Well, at least the Gamba has for now remained relevant in the music circles. We are still mentioning his name for every stride he’s making.
Many artists across the world try as much as possible to use self-made-public-stunts to keep their status alive. Remember Charisma’s picture in toilet? Anyway let’s not go that way. So the more we talk about these stunts the more we promote them. Phyzo’s journey of becoming relevant in the game hugely has been contributed by “Haters” “Gossipers” knowingly and unknowingly. We have successfully helped Phyzix make “stunts” at the same time promoted them a thing which has gained him publicity exactly what musical figure wants “Being the headline.” Is he really affected? Or his numbers are adding up? That will be another topic another day but at least the Gamba has for now has kept his name known in the music circles and that we can’t take that away from him.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and each and every day artist like Phyzix are making moves. Surviving the music industry does not only require positive applauses but what matter most is standing up after each fall. Much as an art of sustenance and relevance in society is not easy to accomplish over the years, us individuals have really helped other artists like Phyzix to boost their fan base and prolonging their lifespan in industry through our negative complements. Ability to adapt the talent with present taste will remain a key to all artists in the game because the audience’s needs keep on changing over time. This is what every artist like Phyzix needs to attain as time goes.
“The Author of this article is a Social Work graduate from Catholic University of Malawi. He likes commenting on Arts, Entertainment and Social related issues.”
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