ASAPH Lyrist, Storyteller and MC

After taking the Zimbabwean hip-hop industry by storm the Mambo hitmaker Asaph truly shows his lyrical skills, storytelling abilities.

Hip-hop has been the pulse of the youth for over 30 years with artists such as Run DMC, Tupac, Kingpin, Kendrick Lamar, AKA, and Tumi being the leading voices. The Mambo song catapulted Asaph into the legendary Zimbabwean Hip-Hop league of hitmakers such as Kingpin, Major Players, POY, EXQ, Cal_Vin, Junior Brown, Stunner, Tien Diamond to name a few.

Asaph is no stranger to the Zimbabwean hip-hop industry with multiple award nominations and awards to his name. Currently with two nominations in the upcoming Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards 2019. Born Tafadzwa Tarukwana aka Asaph is one of the best storytelling rappers in Zimbabwe. KA Magazine managed to catch up with the skillful artist for an interview. 

How did you start your musical journey to get to where you are today?

Well, basically I began trying to perform at as many clubs and shows as possible from as back as Tha Flow Sessions at Cape To Cairo to Bigger Than Hip Hop at Amakhosi Theater. After every song or good performance, more people would get to know about me and I’d “level up” and different people with access to different things began to put me on to Bigger shows and platforms from Kalawa Home Coming to a ShadeOGrey endorsement which really helped build my brand image and visibility.

What is your creative song writing process?

I get a beat from a producer and hear what the instrumental he creates feels like and what mood it gives me then I try and express the mood or feeling that I get from the instrumental into lyrics and flows. My concepts come the same way because a certain instrumental can give me a vibe that reminds of me a story or situation that I’ve been in and I tell that story and the instrumental will be like the soundtrack to this movie that I’m trying to describe in my lyrics.

How would you describe your musical style?

I’m a storyteller. I really love telling stories and making people feel something and think deeply and the message behind the story or the certain lyrics that I’ll be saying. I have different styles if were speaking about how the music sounds because SNDR and OVYAAS don’t sound the same, NO STRESS and MAMBO don’t sound the same so I believe I can be very diverse as well. I just try to make whatever feels right.


Can you tell us what inspired the ‘Mambo’ your hit song?

When I got the beat for MAMBO Rayobeats had sent it in a pack of over 20beats. I listened to them until I got to MAMBO and the horns really stood out to me because they sounded like a real royal statement. The horns on the beat also reminded me of a similar sound that can be heard on BAM by Jay Z and Damien Marley and that’s how I thought of having the idea of using a Dancehall chorus. I took my sample chorus to Fish F Mc Swagg and Tha Dawg of Illduce Studios and they added the body to support my ‘ndini mambo’ chant. I had already written the verses based on the MAMBO concept and it was a hit.

Can you share with us what your most memorable performance to date and Why?

My NO STRESS performance at the Bulawayo Arts Awards 2018 will always be my most memorable show. The energy in that room was too charged and the band I was playing with really knew what they were doing so the quality of that set was very good and NO STRESS was really loved by everyone at that time so the energy in the room was right and the Audience even gave it a standing ovation.

Who are your heroes or people you look up to?

I look up to Nipsey Hussles grind and how he gave back to his community. I’m really trying to emulate that heart for community and even youth development here in the city. Musically I look up to AKA, Kendrick Lamar, Winky D and Oliver Mtukudzi.

Asaph on the June 2019 cover of KA Magazine
Asaph on the June 2019 cover of KA Magazine

Can you give us your favourite quote and one of your own?

My favorite quote is “If all you see is what you see then you won’t get to see all there is to see” and to me that basically means look beyond yourself. My own quote is not really my own because I didn’t create it but I’ve used it so much many of my friends and people who follow my music think I did, I even recorded a project and named it by this phrase. “Diamonds Deserve Diamonds”

Who are your favourite musicians?

Kendrick Lamar, Tekno, Drake, SZA, Chengeto Brown and Kanye West.

What is on your music playlist now?

Right now on my playlist there’s Buju Banton, Tory Lanez, Giggs, dvsn, Offset, Gudo Guru, Nutty O and Chengeto Brown

What new projects, collaborations, shows can we look forward to?

I just finished work on a project titled “The Peoples Rapper” and it will be a 8 track tape with 4 new songs and last year’s singles and bonus songs some new and some you’ve heard like “Mambo” and “Good Time Anthem” are both on there. I’ve recently got a show I’m hosting on Skyzmetro FM called Good Time Friday’s so I haven’t been performing as much I needed time to settle in properly but after the release of the EP, I’ll be hosting live sessions at the Vista like I was doing last year before the Bulawayo Arts Awards.