Posts Tagged ‘Prince Zimboo

30
May
09

Prince Zimboo: Diplo’s Major Lazer Collaborator, Husband to 999 Wives, And Hip-hop’s African Borat?

So who is he? In all likelihood, Prince Zimboo is the alter ego of Jamaican dance-hall producer Asanney “Asani” Morris. An embedded video on Zimboo’s MySpace page reveals this in passing, although the video was made by documentarians visiting Jamaica who might have gotten it wrong—in interviews and raps, Zimboo refers to Asani as his friend. (In a twist that adds to the artsy intrigue, one of Zimboo’s champions is the Jamaican photographer Peter Dean Rickards, who published pictures that purported to unmask definitively the elusive British street artist Banksy).

Assuming Morris is the man behind the dashiki, it’s hard to say precisely what he’s up to. But maybe Prince Zimboo is something like the African Borat, a character who exemplifies and satirizes stereotypes of Otherness for laughs. From his purposely vague biography (one moment he says he lives in a cave; the next, a palace) to his raps about zebras to his Twitter posts about luxurious camel hides, Zimboo offers a milewide caricature of primitivism. And like Borat, with his “sexy time!” and “jagshemash!,” Prince Zimboo has an arsenal of catchphrases that are a delight to imitate: His mantra (“I am looking for wife 1,000”), his courtship advice (“Man have to know how to dress!”), and his truncated cackle (“Heh”) could all make for hit T-shirt slogans, given the right marketing strategy. Of course, Sacha Baron Cohen’s agenda is more pointed. Borat needs rubes whose ignorance he exposes and exploits; with Prince Zimboo, the ruse is much gentler.

What Tami Says: Prince Zimboo is No African Borat

Prince Zimboo fails, in my estimation, because stereotypes about Africa and African people are so pervasive that I reckon too few people will spot the humor. African men live in the jungle surrounded by exotic flora and fauna, wear dashikis, are hyper-sexual and have hundreds of wives? This is different from the popular understanding of the African continent how? Zimboo need only tote an AK-47 and rap about starvation to complete the picture.

Jonah Weiner likens Zimboo to Borat. I disagree that these characters occupy the same space in pop culture. The African stereotype and people’s perceptions of the Central Asian country of Kazhakstan are unequal and not comparable.

Check Zimboo’s Myspace mess here: http://www.myspace.com/zimboomusic

Video mess by the Rickards Bros. : http://www.afflictedyard.com




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