#OPINION: Collaborations or Features

By Harold Kapindu

Collaborations or features play a significant role on an artists’ career. In most cases, up and coming artists collaborate with established artists when they are making an entrance in the industry.

We have seen this working for artists like Akon who collaborated with legendary rapper Styles P on “Locked Up”, Chris Brown’s collaboration with Juelz Santana on “Run it” and locally, Tay Grin’s collaboration with David Kalilani Formerly known as Stix on “Break Out”. Mind you, artists like Styles P, Juelz Santana and Stix were already big artists and the collaborations worked out for Akon, Chris Brown and Tay Grin who were new to the industry.

Collaborations also help artists to expand their fan base. When artists collaborate, they introduce each other to a new fan base for a respective artist. A good example is a collaborative effort between Nas and Junior Gong on “Distant Relative” EP. The EP introduced Nas to the reggae fraternity while bringing Junior Gong closer to the Hip Hop community as well.

Of recent, we have seen musicians collaborating with DJs and producers. Collaborating with a DJ is important since DJs are either on radio or performing in gigs. This helps push the music and the featured artists. Producers and musicians easily create masterpieces when there is great chemistry. The chemistry between DJ Premier and late Guru always stand out in this respect.

Collaborations must be strategic. Artists should know what they are looking for in collaboration. I have noted with great concern that most Malawian artists collaborate for the sake of just doing a song. No plan whatsoever. This is a waste of time and resources. In every endeavor that an artist is taking must be valued in monetary and career terms.

Tay Grin and Zani Challe must be applauded for the strides they are making in flying the Malawi flag so high. Tay Grin’s recent collaborations with Nigeria’s 2Baba and Orezi and Zani Challe’s collaboration with Patoranking are quite strategic and seem to be working out for them. This is something that budding artists must learn. Collaborate to progress and not to impress.

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