Tesla Riddim Review
Title: Tesla Riddim
Label: Legion 16 Records
Producer: Legion 16 Records
Album: Tesla Riddim Compilation
Release: February 2019
Tesla Riddim is a brainchaild of Legion 16 Movement and Rebel Shumba, it features heavy weights in the Zimdancehall Mzansi Reggae arena. The Riddim which is already receiving quite a lot of airplay on one weekly popular reggae dancehall show, is a much needed initiative in the reggae and dancehall scene, now and again an artist or fan voices their dissatisfaction with the lack of unity amongst the Zimbabwe and South African Reggae Dancehall fraternity. Don Franco Tafari, born Francis Lucas Dumhi, who is a Zimbabwean reggae artist based in South Africa and also wears a Producers hat on this riddim, is always vocal about this issue on his social networks pages. It is encouraging to see that Legion 16 took it upon themselves to bring out this grand mixture of artists on one Riddim; when asked about what was the inspiration behind this he echoes the sentiments above and says:
“The energy behind the Tesla Riddim was trying to unite both the South African Dancehall Culture and the Zimbabwean Dancehall, we are trying to break the subdivision of saying this is Zimdancehall, this is Mzansi Dancehall, in the end it’s all Dancehall, The more we put subs we will end up with Zulu Dancehall, Xhosa Dancehall, Setswana Dancehall, Which will be reduced to Soweto Dancehall, Vaal dancehall, Harare Dancehall which will bring nothing but division to us. This project is a first of many, our new project in the pipeline will have collaboration between Mzansi and Zimbabwean Dancehall artists. This to us is strengthening the unity between two cultures” – Don Franco
Though this is not the 1st riddim to incorporate Zimbabwe and Mzansi Reggae Artists, it’s still a right step in the right direction and hopefully will continue to see more collaborative projects like this.
As the saying goes: “Music is an art which soothes your soul, it connects you to the people you love, when words fail, music speaks” Music has long proved that it’s a universal language that you don’t have to fully comprehend to appreciate what an artist is trying to communicate, what matters is how it makes you feel. Tafadzwa Mwandira aka CELSCIUS does this perfectly on Ceasar, unfortunately or fortunately depending on which side of the fence you stand on this matter; Ceasar is the only track being delivered in the Shona language. When my infatuation with Celscius delivery on this track waned off, I found out that he’s basically saying that “Ceasar is a hustler and you don’t have to know where he gets his money from”, frankly I’m not interested in Ceasar’s dealings, all that matters is that this song gets me all excited and makes me HAPPY. Unonzwisisa here!
The opening track Nuh Run Away opens up with a few secs of Ire piano synth then crescendos to suspense setting the scene, which doesn’t last long cause whilst you are still trying to figure out the instrumental then Boom! Black Dillinger AKA 12 Star General barges in with some highly fueled lyrics laced with content that cannot be repeated here, telling everyone and anyone that cares to listen that he can’t be messed with. Great opening albeit I didn’t Immediately warm up to this song, not for the lack of brilliance on Dillinger’s part but I find it’s one of those that will creep up on you slowly then next thing you are singing along to the chorus.
The Seunononga hit maker Guspy Warrior (born Emmanuel Manyeruke) the Dancehall Dada aka The Mafia 91 King also makes a feature with some Zimdancehall flare on “Dem Pree badness” I’m disappointed that there’s no Shona in his song (now you know which side of the fence I stand on) I kept waiting and wanting, but nothing, had to double check the track list to see if it was really Guspy on this track, nonetheless this is a personal thing and those who don’t feel the same will thoroughly enjoy this track.
Don Franco Tafari who prides himself in clean living, Rastafarian way of life and always seeks to educate righteousness through his music, pays tribute to his childhood Idols The legendary Shabba Ranks and The Forever Living Bob Marley with a bad track “Bad Like Shabba” The Call On Jah hitmaker rides the riddim with dancehall style, quite refreshing to hear him offering something different on this.
One track that stands out for me is L’TITUDE Force and Grub. L’TITUDE flaunts his singjay style on this beautiful track. Only after a few listens did I realise that the song actually deals with a very serious and disturbing topic: women abuse or domestic violance. Question is why did I only discover this after a few listens! If it’s meant to highlight one of the biggest scourge in this country! He’s inaudible on some parts if not most, it is a shame as the message contained here is of vital importance with all the women abuse we read about every day.
The Roses amongst the thorns are Moon Queen, Swazi K who is always featured or features Jahzo, and Saya Katana. We really looking forward to see these roses bloom. They hold theirs down in this Tesla Riddim with African Woman, Ain’t no Stopping us now and Tsunami respectively. Moon Queen hails from Sebokeng, a Township South of Johannesburg, has been steadily making her mark in the industry, she recently, graced the stage at Lutan Fyah show and Catch a Fire Fest, with some experience, more studio time, stage performances she will become a force to be reckoned with.
The new arrival in the Dancehall scene, the super stylish Miss Saya Katana brings the much needed fresh female badness into Tesla riddim. She’s the one to look out for, the “anime dancehall artist with African and Japanese ancestry”. She debuted in 2018 with a single titled “Lonely” off the Super Irienova Riddim produced by DJ Irie Dread and Nova. She closes the Tesla Riddim with Tsunami, a good song with some Japanese influenced style of delivery. Big up to the production team for bringing them on board and to quote Lady Slice: “Sausage Parties must fall”
Great effort by Legion 16 and producer extraordinaire Rebel Shumba in merging the different sounds and styles, new and old. A Versatile production.
Review by SoulSista Sekano
- Black Dillinger – Nuh Run Away
- Celsius – Ceasar
- Don Franco Tafari – Bad Like Shaba
- AfroSoul ft. Fruity Star – Ntombazana
- Guspy Warrior – Dem Pree Badness
- Swazi K ft. Jahzo – Ain’t no stopping us now
- L’TITUDE – Force and Grub
- Moon Queen – African Woman
- Pepsin ft. Bunpot – Ready Fi Di Ride
- Saya Kanata – Tsunami