This multi-lingual freestyle from Winston “Iller-Strator” Mundiro is one of our favorite examples of the power of hip-hop to communicate internationally. Iller-Strator participated in our residency in Harare, Zimbabwe, earlier this year, and we recently reconnected to learn more about his experiences with hip-hop and the Next Level program.
What would you like people to know about you, just in general?
My government name is Winston Mundiro. I’m turning 24 years old this December. I’m from family of three, and did my schooling at Njube high school.
How did you become interested in hip-hop?
How I became interested in hip-hop is kind of a cliché: In the block where I resided, there was always cyphers and battles, so I really wanted be in them. So I picked up the pen and paper and started writing my own rhymes.
How did you connect with Next Level?
Us and Next Level connected at a radio station named ZiFM, then started doing projects together at a place called the Book Café. It was so amazing working with those guys. We loved it.
Were there any specific experiences that you had with Next Level that you thought were especially important or interesting?
Yes, of course there were! Kane [Smego] taught me a lot of stuff about hip-hop, like how to communicate with my fans. He taught me breathing technique, as in how to perform a track without straining myself, and lots of other stuff…Next Level helped us learn how to facilitate cyphers and to work together as a team. I respect that.
What do you think Next Level artists gained from their interactions with you?
Beat boxing, learning our culture – as in how we live here Zimbabwe – and most importantly they now know that Zimbabwe is a beautiful and peaceful country.
What do you hope to do in your career in the future?
With my career in the future I want to do the very same thing that y’all guys is doing: moving around the world teaching people how to do hip hop as edutainment to jobless youths like y’all did for us.