How Macky 2, Dandy Crazy & Jk have affected the Zambian music industry.
Zambian musicians like JK, Macky 2 have been slavishly imitating just about everything, from Nigerian tunes, to South African Kwaito and now the introduced dab music with roots pointing to American trap music migo’s style of music.
It’s very hard for one to actually point out what really introduced the copying of sounds and styles of other countries, resulting in music that is lacking in what you might call a Zambian flavor and Zambian true identity.
Many older people in Zambia and true followers of real Zambian music flavor from the days of Zam Rock which was popular in the 1970s and 1980s and some of its influencers who were Smokie Haangala, and the greatest band of Paul Ngozi.
During these times the one and only Kalindula music had its moments and shined in the sun during the 1970s and 1980s and its great hits came from men like professor PK Chishala, Mulemena Boys, Amayenge Ensemble and many others. Even though Zam Rock, as you would expect was of rock music, and featured electric guitars and some lyrics were sung in English and/or local languages.
Kalindula, mainly used acoustic guitars and was sung solely in local languages. It also had a distinctive Zambian guitar tempo and unique style. Zam Rock and Kalindula were highly ‘Zambianised’: Even though the musicians borrowed tunes from Western and other foreign sounds, you could still hear the music was distinctly Zambian.
The Zambian music industry as many knew it fell apart in the late 1980s and the advent of the dark ages for Zambian music began. We saw a large number of Zambian musicians die in their prime, many blindly falling victim to the AIDS pandemic that affected every society in Zambia. These Artist’s left a huge gap because as they went to the other side, so did their unique genre and popularity.
This paved way for new artist and style after many tried to carry on the legacy and failed. The majority of Zambian MCs back started to rap in English, which had a downside effect, for it was been sang to fans who could speak only native languages.This explains why Zambian music was said to be an unprofitable industry for quite some time. As a result, many record studios were closed down. Until the rise of Mondo music in 2000. Mondo music along with JK came to save the day. Mondo produced a music compilation that introduced new artists, who dominated for a while, like the duo girls group Shatel.
The success of these and other Mondo Music artist’s also included characters such as Daddy Zemus, who was a Zam Ragga artist, and JK, Zambia’s number one crooner and others opened the floodgates for musical talent to flow. JK who real names are “Jordan Katembula”, started to sing RNB songs in Nyanja, Lozi and Bemba, the local rapping duo Black Muntu and the rapper Crisis Mr. swagger also followed the same route. After this, Zambian music for a very long time was mainly dominated in Lusaka, but was not long until this was actually altered by the Copper belt-based artists, who defied and managed to change the odds and created their own style of songs and dancing.
This is how what is today known as, “Kopala Swag” was actually born (Kopala is slang for Copper belt) and thanks to two Kopala artists, Macky 2 and Dandy Crazy to be specific, who actually dominated the Zambian airwaves for some time. After a long wait, finally it seemed that God’s fervor had again returned to our music industry. The singing, rapping and dance styles were uniquely Zambian. But despite how happy the music lovers were, this trend slowly faded.
Macky 2 became influenced by foreign styles. Macky 2’s style of rap and stage act draws on American hip hop and Dandy crazy draws from a West African dancehall star Daddy Shoki. And as the Internet became more accessible, making beats for most producers became easy and easily downloadable, many Zambian producers managed to have access to sounds and styles that could not be ‘Zambianised’.
Everything from kwaito to Indian beats flooded the airwaves and transformed the Zambian music industry. All thanks to Auto tune which gave many a chance to sing, leading to a new hit single Dropping every other day. Listening to any Zambian song these days been played on Zambian radio makes it difficult for one to get a clear concept if the song is local or not, it often becomes hard to identify or guess if the song playing is by a Zambian or not.
Zambian music now luck’s a base and recognition, you have to wait until the end of the song for the DJ to name the artist to find out whether he is a local musicians. But according to ThisisAfrica.com’s article, “Can Zambian music shake off foreign influences?” written By Mulonda Singongi on September 8, 2016. A point was raised I also strongly support stating that, “Some might say that the way in which Zambian artists are influenced by external artists is a weakness, but it might also mean that Zambian artists are not one-track-minded; that they are experimenters who can take a sound from elsewhere and make it their own”.