The Noble Stylz and GZE Hip Hop TV battle would have become the richest prize money in Zimbabwean music history.
A confirmed R100 000 paycheck was tabled, with reports that other sponsors were willing to top it up to R250 000.
Unfortunately, the TV battle will no longer take place after GZE broke his silence this morning by announcing on his page that the battle was not for money but a lesson for respect.
“This was never a battle for clout or money, but a lesson in respect. Part of the reason for this battle is demonstrated by what’s going on right now;
Which is that regardless of how highly you view yourself as a person/ rapper, how conscious or “ill” you are, you have no license to disrespect those that actively choose to channel their talents towards the mainstream and go commercial,” wrote GZE on his Facebook page.
“In trying to publicly diss and demean others as inferior rappers or “lesser hip-hop than you, you could surprise yourself and your fans by getting stripped down and murdered on wax.
“For the culture. By the culture. Not everyone suspends their principles and jump to impulsive decisions at the sight of a paycheck. We have not come this far by tap-dancing for everyone who dangled a bag in front of us. Ours is an art form whose mastery we will show and prove for free if we feel the need to,” he added.
Read the rest of the statement here.
On the other hand, Noble Stylz has expressed his gratitude to the fans who warmed up to Zim Hip Hop during the battling.
He wrote: “Thanks to each one of you who gave an ear an eye and mostly to those who showed a heart too towards the pivotal moment where the essence of Rap was used as a stencil to push Hip Hop.”
“The engagement and crossover appeal shown when the culture rooted back into its element was evidence that Hip Hop also can be a staple Genre.
It would have been a perfect 360 business success had we rounded it off with corporates aboard but I am glad the genre isn’t where it was a couple of weeks ago. We are just vessels happy to intrigue you,” he added.
Read the rest of the statement here
Fans are still divided as to the decision made by both artists, Noble Stylz calling for a TV battle, and GZE turning it down.
Arts critic and journalist Leroy Dzenga believes the battle should have happened and turning it down has portrayed hip hop in a non-business way.
“If the culture entails bypassing opportunities to earn money, then it is a liability to those who uphold it. We need to take music as a business in Zimbabwe. It is not the nature of businesses to look away from areas of potential revenue,” he wrote.
Michael Mupotaringa a hip hop writer differs.
“In this case however it was not strategic to take that chance. Gze did not start firing shots as an income-generating project.
“It would diminish the motive for him to keep taking opportunities of aggression when he has already attained what he started the beef for.
“If the initial motive of his shots had been money then YES.
“But when carrying out anything focus on the initial goal because emerging goals may diminish everything you had attained from the first.
“The goal setter is the one who gets to decide if he has achieved his goal & not other entities that bring chances to redefine what the goal must be,” he added.
The lingering question now is what is going to happen to the R100 000 that was pledged.
Zimbuzz caught up with UK Based Journalist Maynard Manyowa who said that since GZE said he was not keen on the money, he was going to give it to Noble Stylz.
“It was largely for the entertainment value of the battle. My R10,000 will be given to Noble as Gze said he isn’t keen on it.
“The other R60k will likely send R30,000 to Noble instead. Since Gze didn’t partake. just as an appreciation,” he told Zimbuzz.
Asked if he would invest the money in other hip hop initiatives, Manyowa said he was not an investor but just found entertainment value in the battle.
“I don’t think so. Thing is, I am not an investor or promoter. I loved the battle and found it entertaining.
“Batsie suggested a TV showdown. I offered to chip in. For the showdown itself not for Hip Hop as a whole,” said Manyowa.
He added that investing in Hip Hop as a whole also was a tricky exercise.
“Who are the custodians who would get the money?” he quizzed.
“These are some of the questions that would need answers before we talk of investment or benefits to Hip Hop genre.
“What I can however promise is that Prophet Angel and Prophet Bushiri run several youth funds and I can always count on their support, if a Hip Hop initiative which makes sense, is sober and clear was put forward,” he told Zimbuzz.
Zim Hip Hop Awards chairman Aldrian Beefy Harrison had said even if the TV battle went ahead or not he was willing to put down $100usd to each artist and another $100usd to a charity of the artists choice, a pledge which he said he was still going to honour.
Batsie Masvinge of 263 Nights who had pledged the initial R10 000 told Zimbuzz that he was yet to consult the two rappers on the way forward.
“We are not sure at this stage what will now happen . I need to call both parties and here how they need it done and we find a solution,” he said.