Zim dancehall fans are often embroiled in heated debates about which riddim is the best of all time. Some of the riddims that are quickly thrown into the mix include “Stage,” “Chill Slam,” “Zimbo Flavour,” “No Mercy,” and “One Clan,” to name a few.
Last week, Sunday Mail reporter Brighton Zhawi met with Michael Murumbi, also known as PTK, one of the top Zim dancehall makers, for an interview. PTK, who is now based in South Africa, had some fascinating insights to share.
Q: You seem to have slipped between the cracks. What have you been up to lately?
A: PTK is still around, but is now based in Germiston, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Killer T, Shinsoman, and Seh Calaz have all released singles this year, titled “Kundinyudza,” “Mbinga,” and “Usafananidze,” respectively. Furthermore, a new riddim is about to be released. “Empire Trucks” is the name of the riddim, which was created in partnership with Alliviet.
Q: Is it as hot as some of the riddims from the early days of Zimbabwean dancehall?
A: It’s ablaze. With artists such as Shinsoman, myself, Dashocca, and G Brendon, it has a completely different flavor.
Q: What’s your take on some people’s claims that you’re the best Zim dancehall producer ever?
A: It’s self-evident; I’m the one who’s saying it. I was the one who first introduced people to Zim dancehall, as well as some of the industry’s biggest names, including the late Soul Jah Love, Seh Calaz, Killer T, and others. Above all, I created “Body Slam,” the best riddim ever. The one is impossible to beat.
Q: Tell me something about the riddim “Body Slam.”
A: It featured more than 300 musicians. It was a complete success. The riddim’s proprietor is Simbarashe Chakare. He tried to improve the lives of the ghetto kids, and I believe he succeeded to some degree.
Q: Your 29th birthday was on May 11th; how does it feel to be getting older?
A: I only want to express my gratitude to God. I’m not sure where I’d be if it weren’t for him. We’ve come a long way, and the future looks promising. I’m currently working with South African, Zimbabwean, and even Jamaican artists.
Q: Are you referring to Jamaica?
A: Yes, I’m working on a project with Mr. Melody, and you’ll get it soon.
Q: What drew you to Zim dancehall in the first place?
A: Terry Vega, a friend of mine, and I would go to Mbare’s Beat Bakery Studios. He was the guitarist, and I was simply there as a friend for him. This was before Elder Zindoga, his maker, taught me how to make music. Killer T was also present. I began in 2010 and was raised in Mbare.
Q: Which musician is your favorite?
A: Every single one of them. They’re all excellent!
Q: What do you miss the most now that Soul Jah Love has passed away?
A: Losing Soul Jah Love was excruciatingly painful. I don’t have the words to explain the agony, but it was God’s will. We will always be grateful for his music. He was undeniably a hitmaker.
Q: Is Zimbabwean dancehall still on track?
A: To be honest, there are now just too many people in the Zim dancehall. The guys are doing a great job with their beats and songs. However, I believe the sound was superior back then to what it is now.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to the youth?
A: Keep the flames ablaze. Let us stick together. We need assistance in order to make progress. And, maybe most importantly, never forget to pray.