Jonathan Mbiriyamveka Entertainment Reporter
When three guys – Benson Chihava, Thomas and Richard Marufu – met to form a hip-hop outfit called Major Playaz it was almost by coincidence.
They came from different backgrounds and had different approach to music but shared the same vision to rock the stage.
It was a talent search held in Harare as far back as 2001 that gave birth to the group, Major Playaz.
The trio did not know each other prior to the show and were only brought together through the love of music.
So impressed were the judges that they advised the three to form a group and since the guys needed to continue with their music they agreed.
“The way we got together was really almost by coincidence. We took part in a talent show as individuals and after the performance the organisers wanted the three of us to go through to the finals and they told us to combine as a group.
“The reason for that was that they could not pay us as individuals but rather as a group and so they said we should come together as a group and we agreed.
“From then on, we became to be known as Major Playaz. Doe-Boy and Thomas aka Dutch were so were into rapping and I was a singer,” Benson Chihava more popularly known as Chyllur (pronounced as Chiller) said.It was Richard aka Doe-Boy who suggested the name Major Playaz.
According to Chyllur, the group took off to a good start as at that time there were other American teen groups such as B2K and Jagged Edge which were rocking the airwaves.
With Chyllur providing his addictive melodies and hooks on every song, the two rappers, Doe-Boy and Dutch waxed lyrical on the bouncy hip-hop gems like no man’s business.
Soon Major Playaz became a brand popular among the youths in the capital Harare. Almost week in, week out, they would tour around Zimbabwe performing sold out concerts including guest appearances at different schools’ promos. They were also crowd favourites at Miss Teen Zim and Miss Schools beauty contests.
To compliment their style of music, Major Playaz were also fashion icon in their own right. They brought so much swag to the game and everybody loved them for that.
During that time the members were still at school and restricted their shows to only during weekends.
In 2001, Major Playaz made a breakthrough with a single titled “Shake Muzimba” produced by Delani Makhalima, who owned Galaxy Records.
At that time, Delani was one of the top urban grooves producers with several talented voices under his stable.
The names of performing who made it big during Delani’s era include Plaxedes Wenyika, the twins Roy & Royce, chanter Decibel and rapper Exquisite or ExQ in short.
Besides being a talented vocalist, Plaxedes was also an academic and had to juggle between school and music, while ExQ ran his own businesses and Decibel left Zimbabwe in search of greener pastures and relocated to the United Kingdom.
But when Major Playaz joined Galaxy Records they added a soulful R&B flavour to the record label. They were often referred to “Masalad”, a street lingo word for youths from the affluent suburbs.
In the summer of 2003, Major Playaz dropped their hugely successful single “Come 2 Party” taken off the album titled “The Construction”. This time, the group moved from Galaxy Records to Wheels of Fortune Studio owned by the late revered producer Fortune “MacDaddy” Muparutsa.
“Come 2 Party” was a club banger by any standard and since its release Major Playaz topped the charts once again.
The group scaled dizzy heights which meant more shows and big endorsements along the way. The group’s popularity went up following the release of the video.
The video was also one of the first videos from Zimbabwe to be played on Channel O and MTV Base.
The last we heard from the group was when they had gone to South Africa looking for better recording deals that unfortunately failed to take off.
A number of reputable labels had offered them deals which did not work out, a situation which saw the two members – Dutch and Doe-Boy – leaving Zimbabwe to pursue studies in Australia.
Chyllur, the lead singer then enrolled at the school of music before he left for greener pastures in Mzansi.