Tokwe Mukosi hit maker and conscious reggae/Zim dancehall artist Ras Caleb (RC) has rose as a beacon of hope in the industry to speak out against the issue of drug abuse that has crippled Zimbabwean youth.
Last year he released a track titltled Matsom tsom which laments the hurt and damage that the use of illicit drugs has inflicted on ghetto yuts all across Zimbabwe.
Review and Mail (R&M) recently caught up with the nimble voiced artist to hear more of his thoughts on the spate of drug abuse.
Below is an excerpt of the conversation
R&M: What inspired you to pen the song Matsom tsom?
RC: Matsom tsom was realized by the need to consc the youth on the dangers of drugs. As a resident of the ghetto, we see people who are affected by drugs every day.
R&M: Dancehall music has gained a reputation of glorifying drug abuse and moral decadence. As one of the pioneers do you think it is part of the problem and if it is, what can be done to cleanse the genre?
RC: Dancehall originated in the ghetto. The ghetto is stereotyped to be a haven for criminals, drug users and everything bad. However, we forget that soccer stars and other positive role models also come from the ghetto. Dancehall is a mirror of the society, so if you hear certain topics being addressed in the music, it’s important to understand that these are lived experiences in the ghetto.So people who shoulder the blame on the ghetto are just looking for a scapegoat to blame for all the social ills. Yet the root cause of these things are poverty and unemployment. On your second point, I think Zimdancehall is a blessing form God not an ill that was there. If there is anything that needs cleansing is the critics who stereotype Zimdancehall as a bad influence.Zimdancehall is like hip hop in the Tupac Shakur era where they expressed the ills that they go through every day.
R&M: You often dabble in the reggae conscious sub-genre. What are your thought s on the state of conscious music in Zimbabwe, is it well represented?
RC: Due to the pressure to go commercial, a lot of artists are afraid to sing conscious music because they think it won’t sell. The more the silly a song is, the more commercial it is and the more likely it is to become a hit.So more artists are not willing to sacrifice their commercial appeal and focus on conscious music.However, we do have a lot of conscious artists and this is not limited to reggae only.
Across all genres we have music that is woke and brings awareness, there is a lot of that from all genres.However, we can never have enough of conscious music, there is always room for more.
R&M: As artists, do you think you are doing enough to fight the issue of drug abuse?
RC: I guess we are all doing what we can within our influence. However, I think drug abuse can be combated by increasing recreational activities and facilities.
The responsible authorities need to be more involved. The police must stop the culture of receiving bribes from drug pushers. It is a collective effort that requires all community stakeholders to be involved.
Rehabilitation centers are also needed for drug addicts in order for them to be counseled and rehabilitated.
R&m:Lastly and on a more positive note what can we expect from Ras Caleb in 2022?
RC:In 2022, people should expect more music, we have already released a number of singles. There is Wenyama and Zvikoro zvenhema which are currently out.
However, I can promise that there is more in store for my fans. I will be working with producers such as Tamuka,Levels and Rodney to mention but a few.It is going to be a year of more consciousness and more entertainment.