Mostof the readers of this page will remember that I have a colleague Limbani ‘LC’Chaguluka who is so knowledgeable in as far as Malawi’s Hip-hop music isconcerned.
Ionce asked him a question if at all in Malawi there is a music Disc Jockey orshortened to a DJ. Below is the response that he gave me:
“Friday following under 19 soccer games atKanjedza Full primary school ground, in Limbe. I checked the time; it wasexactly 4:15 in the afternoon.
Unconsciously I started rushing home to findChayipa Hiwa’s musical show, still in its infancy.
I re-tuned the MBC radio to get the bestfrequency, despite being the only radio station in the land.
Father MC Song ‘I will do it for you’ wasbeing played, then followed by Monie lovie hit single entitled ‘It’s ashame’.
Chayipa Hiwa who was then known in showbiz circles as DJ Cha was one of the DJ’s then, acquainted and knowledgeable playing Hip hop tunes seldom in the years between 1988 to1992.
Irrespective of being called DJ’s then, most of the radio presenters who took the initiative of playing urban and Hip hop songs , whoincluded Danny P(Daniel Phiri) , The late Philip Mwala Moyo, and Gerald Nyamacherenga, did not qualify to be called DJ’s in the first place.
The reason was basically that, they were not‘turntablists’’. A turntablesim is definedas the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using Vinyl turntablesystem or record player in simple expression. This art ultimatelydifferentiates between a DJ and a music presenter.
Nevertheless, despite these short comings,especially in mixing the records andusing the DJ as their title when hostingtheir musical programmes, Chayipa Hiwa, showbiz name Dj Cha, the late Phillip Mwala Moyo, and Martin Chilimampunga have to beapplauded for taking the initiative of playing the first Malawian Hip hopsongs.
The late Phillip Mwala Moyo show ‘Nyimbo za Achinyamata’ changed the whole landscape and propelled Malawian Hip hop songs, which took even 3 months before youcould listen to one on MBC radio.
Mwala Moyo, I recall was the firstDj/Presenter to play one of the firstMalawian Hip hop songs on radio in the land back then.
Tapps Bandawe’s song ” shuwamagaye mabebi nonse “ line, still resonates in my head when I first heard therecord back then, while I was still in elementary school.
It was unheard of for a song of that nature to beplayed on MBC radio in early 90’s. Thenslowly Malawian hip hop songsstarted flooding the airwaves ,masterminded and orchestrated by the late Mwala Moyo , who once again needs to be applauded enormously for start of the long walk of thisgenre , which is mostly ridiculed asnoisy and senseless by most people, who are not able to understand the poetry ingrained in these songs.
Of course, it would be difficult todefend the state of hip hop today ,as the culture has been invadedby corporations and otherentrepreneurs, who have more power in changing thedirection of messages in the songs to promote their own agendas, primarilywhich is making profit over the essence of the songs .
DJ Danny ‘p’ showbiz name Daniel Phiri played hisrole as well in promoting songs done by Mzuzu Rap group Boyz Layz who made their impact, driven by UNICEF’s Aids awareness campaign targeting the youth.
Talented lyrical genius Criminal-A song titled “Guess who is back” was instantclassic. The song was a regularly on ‘Nyimbo za Achinyamata’ as it was wayahead of its time in terms of lyrics and production.
Ten years down the line, year 1999, finallyMalawi has a true DJ. Yes, I amreferring to someone who can be creative with sounds, breaking and scratchingrecords to produce the unique sounds accustomed to Hip hop.
The Dr was scratching and mixing records at will,a talent which is not common among presenters or the so called DJ’s. Gwynz aka Dr Gwynz did set a benchmark forDJ’s rules and principles, which every inspiring DJ was aiming at.
Irrespective of being renowned as Hip hop DJ, Gwynz could mix and break different music genres, without being afraid of crossing the lines. Ultimately Malawi had true‘turntablist’.
At thattime, Comrades, the first rappers in Malawi to fuse hip hop with Malawianheritage, whom later changed their name to ‘Khamuladzi’, were being recognisedby the hip hop enthusiasts as the most conscious Malawian hip hop group to evergrace the culture.
DJ Gwynz took the opportunity by breakingand mixing their popular song ‘Africa’ in a cleverest way which I have never heard of, truly cementing hisreputation as a true ‘turntables’.
So what’s, the significance of a DJ, especiallyHip hop DJ? Deejaying is one important element of hip hop, as such people who are given theresponsibility of playing hip hoprecords, be it on radio stations, clubs or hip hop shows are suppose be wellacquainted with history of the culture.
Shortfalls in the knowledge of the culture by theDJ’s can led to negative repercussions, in regards to the depth of songs beingplayed.
Most young people listen to hip hop, hence DJ’s must be well informed to play songs which can inspire and compel young people to their dreams, not conversely, since negativity is prevalent in some hip hop songs.
The legendary Krs-One once defined Hip hop as “Her Infinite powers helpOppressed People” , as such Hip hopmusic should not glorify delinquency or malpractices dueto nature of songs played or promoted bythe DJ’s. DJ’s are face of hip hop,incompetent DJ will ruin the fundamentals of the culture.”