Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Yanga Chief appears on one of AKA's three new singles.

AKA Still in Top Form in 3 New Singles ‘Monument,’ ‘Cross My Heart’ and ‘Energy'

AKA releases three new singles 'Monument,' 'Cross My Heart' and 'Energy.'

Being an AKA fan has been tricky for the most part of 2020. Supa Mega hasn't released music since December 2019. Fans experienced him only through a few guest verses.

A stream of insults hurled towards his arch nemesis Cassper Nyovest on Twitter divided the Megacy and angered many South Africans in March. During this explosive meltdown, problematic tweets by AKA mentioning Cass' parents and the use of the word "moffie" (a derogatory South African term for queer people) put him on the wrong side of the internet. He would late apologize for the homophobic slur.

Last week, AKA clashed with media personality and businessman Sizwe Dhlomo. The comical scuffle resulted from AKA revealing to his followers he never received a cent from Reebok for The SneAKA, his personalized Reebok shoe released in 2019.

Things took a different turn this month, however, when AKA launched his subscription-based app AKA TV whose best piece of content has been an exclusive treat to AKA's Orchestra on the Square Show. A week later, he posted a video of him and his band jamming. AKA appeared to be in good spirits in the clip and fans loved what they heard.

The artist announced he would be releasing three singles on Friday, swaying the conversation from Twitter meltdowns and a beef that has overstayed its welcome to music. His Twitter antics were referred to as cheap marketing gimmicks by many (and you know, one can't really blame them).

The three singles "Monument," "Cross My Heart" and "Energy" each contain different flavors, but are tied together by a refreshingly buoyant aura. They provide an escape from the current situation and teleport one to a time after the storm.

In "Energy," which features a stellar hook from Gemini Major and a sample of the house classic "Summer Daze" by Nick Holder, AKA speaks of being "top of the mountain" and being "at the peak of my energy." It's the house-sampling trap anthem you never thought you needed. The song, which was produced by Makwa, gives one the same feeling of having a heavy load getting lifted off their backs.

"Cross My Heart" is an infectious love song containing Supa Mega's signature sound which is inspired by 80s dance and pop music. A sound that has never failed AKA since he adopted in 2016, and a sound that he keeps refining. The song makes a reference to a woman in AKA's life who is clearly his peace right now and keeps him grounded.

"Monuments" features Grandmaster Ready D and AKA's frequent collaborator Yanga Chief. Among other things, AKA raps about the Covid-19, rapping, "It's easy to stay to stay home when you ain't gotta deal with no domestic abuse/ Please count your blessings, don't be complaining about your wife or connection."

In the three singles, AKA exudes his omnipresent confidence and sounds ready to dominate the game again. Both his singing and rapping sound sharp, and all three songs are poised to be radio staples in the near future. Mega Season has officially begun.

Stream AKA's new singles on Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer. Download AKA TV here.

AKA - Cross my Heart (Official Audio)

AKA - Energy (Official Audio) ft. Gemini Major

AKA - Monuments (Official Audio) ft. Yanga Chief, Grandmaster Ready D


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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