If you were/are an Urban Grooves fan you probably remember the 2003 hit single ‘Letter To My Ex’ which became an anthem on Radio 3 (now PowerFM) from the album Rudo Rwedu. That was the introduction to ladies man Shayne Ndingindwayo a.k.a Shayndingz. Since then it has been pretty much uphill for the Urban Grooves artist. He is back with a new album, Backstage, currently doing rounds on the airwaves.

Backstage is his sophomore offering and seals his stake in a well decorated career spanning over 5 years now. The album is under Chigutiro Records of which Shayndingz is a stakeholder and is produced by Sipho ‘TBA The Playboy’ Mkhuhlane. The lead single Celebrity featuring Diana & Maskiri has already done very well on TV(video on Youtube) and radio, despite the controversial lyrics ascerting the beef between him and fellow artist Stunner. The song is about how our music ‘celebrities’ really live in Zimbabwe proclaiming that popularity on radio doesn’t quite represent material wealth or day to day living. The title track Backstage is a smooth jam featuring Tererai Mugwadi where Shayndingz talks about life as an artist, his journey and how he enjoys ‘the life’. He maintains the same laid back confident flow he has popularised only now with a lot more drive in his delivery.

This time around he comes back with a level of maturity and this is prevalent in songs like Gogo featuring Nox. The song is a dedication to his Grandmother focusing on her inspiration and guidance in his life. Nox did a great job on the hook, it is one of the best songs on the album. Ndinokuda featuring Nyasha is a song for his daughter explaining so much about Shayndingz’ personal life as if it were an open diary. What i like about the song is that it is exactly what our young artists need to do more: sing songs from the heart that are part of our lives daily but not only limited to love. I appreciated that in these songs he let us know more about himself and really used the music to express his inner feelings. Of all the songs on the album, Iwe Ndiwe featuring Ngonie Kambarami is a cut above the rest. The beat is infectious and Ngonie totally ripped the chorus. It is a straight-to-the-point love song about a girl who makes him feel complete and he proclaims more than love for her. The song is a certified hit.

Shayndingz has definitely improved and still relies on the same formula of great collaborations to reduce monotony and add substance coupled with versatility. It is safe to say Backstage is a balanced album and maintains the same consistency throughout. However, i think now that we(and he) know exactly what Shayndingz can do and is comfortable with, i would like to see him step out of his zone a little, like he did with the song Dai Tiri Tose on his previous offering, to give us a new dimension to his music. This serves as a let down because the songs do become predictable in the end. It can be argued that lyrically he has no real ‘depth’ compared to other rappers. This may be true in its own right but to his credit for what he does, he does well and keeps it simple. I think he has so many hit songs because at times fans do not want complex music… they simply want to enjoy what they hear which is what he gives them. Quality-wise the standard is good, among some of the better Urban Grooves productions i have heard in a while.

I think the ones to enjoy this offering most are those who like mellow RnB-influenced Urban Grooves with a laid back rap. You will probably also dig this if you like artists such as ExQue, P.Diddy and David Chifunyise. It’s worth having in your collection!

Cover Art – 6/10(Pretty good, different but points lost for the spelling mistake)
Music – 6.5/10
Mixing and Mastering – 7/10
‘I Like Factor’ – 7/10

Celebrity Remix featuring Diana & Maskiri

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