By Kennedy Nyavaya
The battle for African dancehall supremacy between Zimbabwe’s pioneering chanter Buffalo Souljah (real name Thabani Ndlovu) and Ghana’s Shatta Wale may have quickly escalated from Twitter’s 280 characters into diss tracks, but the grand showdown is now poised for a “sting”, it has emerged.
Sting is a Jamaican concept where leading musicians settle their differences in live music battles.
In bullish style last week, Buffalo Souljah sent in the first lyrical jab in an offensive track titled RIP Shatta Wale and the West African would not take it lying down, instantly responding with the malice-laden Fool Boy.
This exchange succeeded a social media tiff, where Buffalo Souljah verbally stripped Shatta of the “King of African Dancehall” title, and now it has divided opinion across the genre’s followers in the continent fuelling further uncertainty on who is worth the crown.
But, fans might as well be the judges of the lyrical battle that has drawn lines between Zimbabwe and Ghana, based on live performances Buffalo Souljah has hinted.
“The sting is definitely happening. After this [beef] started repective management has contacted each other for the sting,” Buffalo Souljah told Standard Style on Wednesday.
Details of when and where the clash(es) will take place are still sketchy although there has been suggestion of a home and away or mutual grounds “either in SA or the UK”.
Pro-Shatta critics in Accra believe it to be a waste of time adding that the entire matter is Buff’s marketing gimmick to resuscitate his waning music influence.
Their assertion is far from the truth. Given his track record, the multi-award winning Buffalo Souljah is no pushover in the game and Ghana’s defence of their countrymen runs short at substantiating Wale’s claim to the throne, leaving the live lyrical war a possible antidote to settle the dust.
“So far, he is claiming victory, but that is because he is claiming win, but you must understand we in Zimbabwe do not have much following on social media like they have in Ghana,” said Buffalo Souljah.
“I’m already working on a bounce-back [track], so we will see what happens, but I can literally claim a win too which is not supposed to be the case.”
Questioned about the negative criticism he has received from fellow Zimbabwean artistes like Seh Calaz and music followers for supposedly biting more than he can chew, he simply branded it “self-hate”.
“Five years from now people will understand what we are trying to do. Instead of looking at the depth of the picture people are even trying to fight me and you see some self-hate, like we are our own enemies,” he said, adding that he is undeterred.
“That is not fazing me, I am moving with the ones that are supporting me, the movement and those that have the vision, that is why I kept on saying they have eyes but they do not see.”
Meanwhile, the Fear No Man singer is not new to beef with artistes from the same region as he was embroiled in a nasty row that almost turned violent with Nigeria’s Burna Boy four years ago.
However, he insists the beefs are not an outright violent showcase, but positive work “for the culture”:
“When we beef in dancehall, it is constructive, it is not supposed to be guns and weapons as is usual in the so-called hip-hop beefs,” he said.
Whether or not it goes as planned for him in this tiff remains a mystery, but Buffalo Souljah sees this as a “win-win” situation with mutual benefits for both artistes as well as the genre’s influence in the continent.
“There are people who want to know about our dancehall music in Africa. Now they are listening to the music from both countries, there is some sort of exchange going on, so it is good for the fraternity because the music is going to grow,” said the United Nations of Africa Music Group record label boss.