When Jah Prayzah and Winky D performed at a packed HICC on New Year’s Eve, debate raged among fans on who between the two had shone during the concert.
Some felt that the Ninja President had upstaged his counterpart in a show that was meant to crown a glorious year for him, while others felt that Prayzah had held his own.
The debate of who exactly won the night could easily apply to the wider raging fan dialogue about whom between the two currently holds the crown on the Zimbabwean music scene.
The fact that the two are now spoken about in the same terms as Tuku and Extra Basso show the progress they have made in the past few years.
However, while their rivalry is fairly new and has for the most part been conducted on friendly terms, one can’t help but gaze at Zimbabwean music history and conclude that the two are following a lineage of Zimbabwean music rivalries from the last few decades.
One of the long standing rivalries that have defined Zimbabwean music is the cold war between perhaps two of the country’s most celebrated musicians in Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi.
Although the two have never openly declared hostilities, the general impression fans got in their prime was that there was no love lost between them.
The Tuku-Mapfumo battle was succeeded by the Tongai Moyo and Alick Macheso fight for sungura supremacy, a battle that was to last until the death of the former.
It was never clear what the real reason for the battle between Dhewa and Macheso was, with some alleging that it was because of the sungura throne while others said it came about because of women and money.
What is certain is that since the death of Moyo and the subsequent end of his rivalry with Macheso, the sungura genre has taken a few knocks in popularity ratings.
Macheso acknowledged in an interview in 2013 that with his rival gone to spur him on in the spirit of competition, the genre had lost its verve and urgency.
For Jah Prayzah himself, the battle for supremacy between the two is much ado about nothing, as he believes that he and Winky cater for different markets.
“First and foremost Winky and I are buddies. We are friends before anything else and I am just grateful he has the youth on his side while I have the other side of the market”.
“I brought something new and original to the music scene which has managed to attract people of all ages and Winky has the youth on his side. When Winky performs no youthful person can sit down,” he said.
Jonathan Banda, the man credited with Winky D’s business savvy moves and his manager, said that although people had been commenting on the rivalry between his protégé and Prayzah, Winky had shrugged off similar comparisons in the past because of his empathy to the struggles endured by fans.
“I can only speak on the side of Winky D and as the last few years have shown, he has transcended generations. He appeals to a diverse group because he is someone that has experienced poverty and that is why he has managed to shrug off his competitors. Fans identify with him,” he said.