By Nwabisa Mazana
This article was originally published in the Print Edition 4 of VARSITY.
Hanna Kuruneri is a 19-year-old queer black creative born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She describes herself as “The Friendly Neighbourhood Rapper”. This is why her Instagram is filled with videos of her rapping and dropping amazing bars on familiar beats. Her rap skills are so amazing, they got her a nod of approval from Nasty C. It is no surprise to see that every video has more than 4K views.
Describe Hanna to us. Who is she?
I’d like to think of Hanna as a more fluid member of society. A mixture on many levels. For starters, she’s half Zimbabwean and half Ethiopian. She finds joy in expressing herself through her clothes, through her hair, through her music, or her comedy. She is currently doing her second year in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She hates pineapples on pizza, can’t swim to save her life (no, you can’t teach me). However, what you need to remember is, that she’s a diehard Harry Potter and Kehlani fan.
When did you fall in love with Hip Hop as a genre?
Funny enough, I fell in love with Hip Hop twice. The first time was here in Cape Town when I was about 5-years- old. My family was here on vacation and my cousins introduced my sister and I to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. That was the beginning of my obsession with learning lyrics and rapping along to songs. The second time was about 6 years ago when my sister played me J. Cole’s “Lost Ones”. I remember feeling so emotionally connected even though I could barely relate to the content. That’s when I realized what a powerful tool rap can be.
Do you have a favourite Rapper?
If I had to pick, it’d be J. Cole. He was the first artist I ever felt connected to so deeply. The man just has a way with words, and not just skill-wise. He’s a true story teller.
You recently got a nod from Nasty C, how did that feel?
Super surreal. I was probably one of the last people to find out that he had commented on my video, but I was stunned when I did. I remember I was walking out of a tut test. I checked my phone and saw my friends freaking out about it on our group chat. I’m honoured, humbled and grateful. I am a huge Nasty C fan. For him to acknowledge me at all, on any level, means a lot. I’ve received a huge amount of support since then and I just want to thank everyone deeply for that. I’m in awe of the love I’m getting.
Can we expect any big projects from you this year?
I don’t know honestly. But,I’ve been working towards releasing a mixtape sometime next year for quite a while now. I already have collabs out, and some that are going to be dropped soon. I also have quite a few songs of my own. I’m excited to record and release since I haven’t technically released my own first song yet. I guess I’d say my music is coming your way sooner than you think. Stay tuned.