Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
IT’S been long since people last heard from Maskiri as the impish musician has been in South Africa trying to make out a career for himself.
Known for his punchlines and skilful wordplay, Maskiri has not been in the limelight for some time now while his peers, Roki and especially ExQ seem to have found their footing in the local music industry.
This man who in his early 20s, gave Zimbabweans songs such as Zverudo, Dhara Rangu and Wenera popped into Chronicle offices this week.
The rapper said he has been in and out of South Africa for the past five years setting up a studio and working on a 12-track album titled Serious Business.
Featured on the album are another SA-based musician Nox, rapper Junior Brown and GT Beats. Once complete, it will be released under his Mhondoro Music record label based in Pretoria next year.
After some introspection, Maskiri said he has come up with a formula to compete in Zimbabwe’s music scene where Zimdancehall is dominating.
“The industry has changed from the days we used to sing. I’ve therefore been re-strategising as an artiste to see how I can have my share from this cake. There’s some new blood out there and people seem to like these upcoming musicians,” said Maskiri.
“In South Africa, I’ve been working on music that has meaning. This is what I think is lacking in the industry — music that has meaning and is of high quality. I have an album that’s coming out soon and I’ve released about four singles.
“These are Mombe, Wona, Bantu and Machurch which will all be included in the Serious Business album. I’m glad that so far people are liking the sound.”
Maskiri said he was dropping singles because releasing an album at once will be a waste of time.
“I’ve seen that giving people a full album is a waste of time. They simply don’t have the time to listen to it unlike singles. You can release the album this week and by next week, people will have moved on to other things,” said Maskiri.
Born Alishias Musimbe, Maskiri who is not married but has children, said his stay in South Africa has made him appreciate the importance of quality music.
“In South Africa, I’ve been recording music and I set up a studio so that we try and change the game. These days music is good but it’s not like it was before. This is because anyone can record anywhere, whether in a bedroom or in a garage, everyone has a studio.
“In other countries especially in South Africa, you have to go through the proper channels for you to be played on radio.”
In his youth, Maskiri was known as a bad boy as he often made news for all the wrong reasons. In 2005, he was reported to have broken his pelvis after jumping from the third storey of a building in Harare after being caught with someone’s wife.
He was also said to have performed while intoxicated or rapping obscenities especially in his Blue Movie album.
Looking back, Maskiri said his bad boy image was all a gimmick to get his name out there.
“That was a strategy for me to get my name out there and draw attention. People should expect the old Maskiri in terms of the music and the word play in songs but not the alter ego.
“What I want to improve is the quality of my music and sound,” said Maskiri.
He said he had no regrets for his wayward behaviour and was happy that he released Blue Movie which he said had worked to his advantage.
“I don’t regret any of the antics that I’ve done in the past. In fact this got people to know my name which they still remember 20 years on although with Blue Movie I think I got a bit too excited as the album was too controversial.
“It was however a gimmick for people to know me but now, there’s nothing of that sort as I’m mature.