Dancehall fans would have reacted with excitement at the news that one of Zimbabwe’s finest musicians, Winky D, and dancehall kingpin Beenie Man had worked together on a mouthwatering and potentially blockbuster new single while the Jamaican was in the country recently.
It is, by all accounts, a tantalising match-up.
Adding the star power of Winky, who over the past few years, managed to tame some of the hardest dancehalls beats on his own, to the might of world famous Jamaican chanter Beenie seemed unfair on the rest of the Kambuzuma bred star’s competition.
Beenie Man and Winky riding the same beat is surely the stuff that dancehall dreams are made of.
On Monday, what seemed like a distant dream became reality when Winky unleashed what was expected to be three-and-a-half minutes of dancehall heaven. Also released was a spanking brand new video of the same tune.
For any fan of dancehall in Zimbabwe, the names Winky D and Beenie together will always catch the eye. The two are both firebrand lyricists, known for their dust raising anthems. When either chanter gets on the mic, they are known to greet with vicious blows any riddim tossed their way by producers.
However, hardcore dancehall fans that were looking forward to the two dancehall heavyweights exchanging vicious blows will feel let down upon hearing this track. Instead of a no holds barred lyrical duel, the two veterans pulled back their punches on this one and it in the end feels like a sparring match than a pound for pound clash.
Rather than the blistering full on assault we have witnessed from them on other tracks in the past, Beenie and Winky are laid back on My Woman, exchanging serene, breezy verses that do not bear any signs of hostility.
This is because the song, as the title suggests, is a love song. On the track, the two stars add their voices to the chorus of men who believe that they have been unfairly treated by women who do not know how to love a man.
It is a choir that is always adding more men to its ranks and in that sense, Winky and Beenie do not break any new ground lyrically. It is a well worn theme that the two chanters do little to revitalise in any way.
The two’s lyrics on the song are also nothing to write home about. In contrast to the excellent Dzemudanga, released by Winky last week, there is no need for listeners to split hairs over the content of the two stars’ verses on this one.
My Woman is not for the deep thinker or the conspiracy theorist. Uncharacteristically, Winky sticks to English on this song as he barely utters a word of Shona throughout the song’s duration. This also is a surprise, as Winky has become the master of bending local words and slang for his purposes. For evidence of this, fans just need to browse through his hit-filled discography.
His move therefore, seems more geared towards accommodating Beenie Man’s audience than his own and harsh critics will no doubt ask who is featuring who on this joint. With Jah Prayzah blazing a trail on the continent, perhaps the man who is regarded as his closest competitor is also trying to make inroads outside the country of his birth. Is Winky feeling the heat?
“Winky D has no competition. He’s his own competition. He doesn’t make music for the competition but for himself and his fans,” said the star’s manager Jonathan Banda in a recent interview.
Perhaps, like Jah, he believes that his product needs to be tweaked a little and repackaged before it is sold to the international consumer who is largely unaware of the local phrases and slang in most of Winky’s previous music.
Regardless of the misgivings of those that expected a tit for tat lyrical exchange between the two wordsmiths, the track is likely to gain massive airplay both on the radio and on party playlists as the festive season approaches.
Over a laid back beat produced by Nicky, the two chant about a universal theme that almost everyone can easily identify with. The chorus is also easy on the ear, and one can picture fans excitedly singing along to it whenever it may turn up during an electrifying Winky D set in December. The video is also a nice touch for Winky D fans that have been begging the seemingly camera shy chanter for visuals over the past few years. Gold chains, snazzy jackets, beautiful women and expensive booze are all part and parcel of a video in which the duo seem to be celebrating the good life in as much as they are moaning about their troublesome women.
However, although the song and video were excellently made, fans who have heard the two men at their best will wonder if the two took things a little too easy. Although it was a love track, fans would have no doubt expected a bit of dashing lyricism from two men who are well capable of it.
It seems like those who want to see the two wordsmiths chant with true fire in their belly will have to wait for a different collaboration.