Does music taste define personality?

THE cliché is “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are,” but this time, it has been redefined to “tell me your music and I will tell you who you are”.

Music is universal, but stereotypes have been created among the different genres of music, as certain types of rhythms draw a certain type of crowd to it.

But does listening to or singing hip-hop make you hip? Or does listening to sungura make someone backward or with a strong rural background?.

In the same breath that people have associated professions with certain behaviour or certain hairstyles with certain characters, so have they also likened behaviour with music?.

After third-year University of Zimbabwe student, Kranos Nyangari, committed suicide at the beginning of the year the parents blamed hip-hop music for influencing his son to kill himself.

The father, Wilbert Nyangari said his late son did not know what he was doing as he was under some demonic influences that had been initiated through hip-hop music.

“The day he was introduced to this music is when all things went wrong,” Nyangari was quoted then. But does the type of music someone listens to define a person and/or influence their behaviour?

Zimbabwe hip-hop artists like Desmond Chideme “Stunner” and Mudiwa “hood” Mutandwa, always want to portray themselves as the “cool” boys in town. Even if they are not listed amongst the country’s richest, they sing about having money and “bowling” in town.

Stunner refers to himself as a “shark”; something only those who care to listen to his songs can understand what it means. The artist also sings about dressing good and dissing other people.
Though Mudiwa sings gospel, because his music is hip-hop gospel, he is seen as Stunner’s competitor, as they are always clashing.

And in their videos they out with flashy cars, money and will be partying. Some of the fans are just taken as wannabes who have nothing in the bag but act like they are rich, walking around with dropped pants and headphones on their heads.

And then there was dancehall. Zimbabwe dancehall has taken the music scene by storm with the artists creating controversies on their road to fame.

This genre has appealed to a huge public, with the lyrics differing from being bedroom antics to ghetto life and getting wasted.
It has been associated with rowdiness, as the artists are often accused of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And even getting to a point of fighting on stage like Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love.

They also have been in conflict with promoters after failing to show up for shows like Soul Jah Love and Lady Squanda.
Is it a coincidence that most of the male dancehall artists in
Zimbabwe have dreadlocks.

There is also the good old sungura sound, which is usually associated with people from the farms. But, a point to note in this case is that the music also appeals to company executives, and other rich people, who play the music in their cars.

However, for sungura there is lack of creativity in most of the videos, where usually there are dancers wearing bright coloured shirts dancing on top of a hill or on some dusty platform
The late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo, however, represented a different type of sungura, with his flamboyance and his dress code.

Another type of music that has received a lot of stereotyping is the traditional music or the mbira music, which is associated with things to do with the ancestral spirits and spirit mediums.
This is potrayed by the way the artists dress, as they prefer dressing in traditional gear and no shoes.

The artists even sometimes go to the extent of acting like they are in a trance. Then there is jazz, which is associated with the mature and there is no vigour. —Bridget Mananavire

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