Now it's my time — Cal_Vin

BULAWAYO - Receiving a staggering eight Zimbabwe Hip-Hop Awards nominations and another one from the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) has emboldened Bulawayo-born rapper Cal_Vin to declare: Now it’s my time!

The Luveve-born artiste, who was born Calvin Mgcini Nhliziyo 29 years ago, believes the nominations demonstrate that he is now a national star.

“The nine nominations simply mean that I am visible. In reality this makes me the face of hip-hop not only in Bulawayo but Zimbabwe as a whole. It has now been validated who can deny that?

“All this is good for my ego; rap music is strongly driven by ego. Now I can stand up and say I am so and so and who can dispute that? It is all about competition and it is all about being outstanding.”

To cap an amazing year, the young musician who calls himself Lokishini Obama is billed to perform at the annual Kalawa Jazmee Shutdown end of this month at Bulawayo’s Queens Sport Club where he will share the stage not only with his admirer Cassper Nyovest but with other top musicians from South Africa.

“Well indeed it’s a great way to end a great year. I have never performed for such a huge crowd but that will be the day I will address them all like a true Lokishini Obama.

“It has truly been a wonderful year for me. Just recently I was ranked number eight on the list of Bulawayo’s most influential persons and another list cited me as the best hip-hop artist in this part of the country and I am proud of that,” said the Z’khuphani singer.

The Bulawayo boy admits that Cassper Nyovest’s endorsement early this year was the major catalyst of his sudden rise to the top.

Cal_Vin collaborated with the celebrated South African rapper in March this year and within seven days of its release, Z’khuphani Remix hit more than 50 000 downloads on making it one of the hottest tracks this year.

“Basically Cassper heard my song Z’khuphani during a radio interview on ZiFM stereo in February and showed interest in remixing it so my people got in touch with his people before we started working together .

“We put Z’khuphani Remix out in March as a free download and until today it could be the most downloaded song in Zimbabwe,” said Cal_Vin.

Even Cassper spoke highly of their collaboration and described Nhliziyo as Zimbabwe’s hidden talent with the potential to raise the country’s flag high.

The Doc Shebeleza singer, who was the headline act at this year’s Shoko Festival, said he actually felt intimidated by Cal_Vin’s huge talent.

“My favourite Zimbabwean rapper is Cal_Vin, he intimidates me. If Cal_Vin was to rap in South Africa, he would be greater. I think his music should be played more,” he said then.

The collaboration with Nyovest was the springboard for the local-based rapper to fly high locally as well as in South Africa. From there on, the young rapper appeared in South African journals like Hype Magazine and SA Hip-hop Magazine, instantly making him a hit.

The 29-year-old, whose ambition is to go international, takes pride in the 19 projects under his belt that include mixtapes, singles, albums and EPs.

Cal_Vin told the Daily News on Sunday that his rise to the top had not been an easy one.

“I started rapping in 1996 when I was  10 but I got into professional industry in 2003 when I was signed by Mike-a-blaze company who were then looking for artists under their stable. By then I used to call myself C Dog.

“I only managed to record one track and the deal fell away forcing me to create my own production company called Volte-face Records. I used to use my friend’s computer to do all my recording until in 2006 when I bought mine,” said Lokishini Obama.

With his career seemingly stagnant, Cal_Vin turned to gospel music in 2008 forcing him to change his trade name to Church Boy.

In 2010 Zimbabwe’s new hip-hop hero left for South Africa where he stayed until 2013.

“While there I managed to meet a lot of professional artistes like Liquideep and Buffalo Souljah from whom I learnt a lot and got the necessary exposure.

“But when I returned, I decided to drop gospel music as it was not commercially viable. I also then changed my name to Cal_Vin and told myself it was time to work hard.”

Last year, Cal_Vin released a 14 -track debut album titled Perfect Balance which carried the hit song Babengikhohlwa before dropping another one titled DatLuveveBoy in December of the same year. The latter album carries his most popular hit to date-Z’khuphani.

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