Urban Grooves was a reference to music created by young urban musicians in Zimbabwe in the period roughly 1999 and 2009. The music included genres such as Hip Hop, Soul, R&B, and Dancehall. The term was however not used to refer to Sungura, Chimurenga genre which was already long established at the time. Music producer, Delani Makhalima, is considered one of the key individuals that made the rise of Urban Grooves possible. Musicians like Maskiri, Roy and Royce, Roki and David Chipfunyise are credited for laying the groundwork for the genre.
Urban Grooves began in the 1990s and 2000s through the 75% local content that required all local radio stations to play music by local artists. This was advocated for by the then unpopular Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo before being fired from this position. The policy required all radio stations to play only music by local artists for the sake of promoting local talent. it was popularised by the then Radio 3 now Power FM, it mainly depicted social ills and inequalities sometimes in humorous ways.
Popular Urban Grooves Artists
- Betty Makaya
- David Chipfunyise
- Extra Large
- King Pinn
- Memory Zaranyika
- Plaxedes Wenyika
- Roy and Royce
- Sanii Makhalima
- Shame and Nathan
The first hip-hop artists started emerging in the mid-80s with Peace of Ebony becoming the first hip-hop group in Zimbabwe. In 1994 the group won the best new group out of Southern Africa award in Radio France International Discovery contest for their single "Vadzimu" subsequently becoming the first Zimbabwean group to earn international recognition. Mizchif made history by becoming the first hip-hop solo artist to sign an international record deal with Sony one of the best recording labels in the world.
A new generation of artists includes Tehn Diamond, Jr Brown, Synik and POY.
There were only a few dancehall artists, amoung them, Decibel. The Urban Grooves dancehall eventually evolved into a popular Zimdancehall genre in the late 2000s, with artists like Winky D, Soul Jah Love, and Tocky Vibes.