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Earl Sweatshirt in 'Nowhere, Nobody' (Youtube)

Earl Sweatshirt's 'Nowhere, Nobody' Short Film Tries to Figure Out His Legendary Father's Legacy

The influence of South African poet laureate Bra Willie on his U.S. rapper son is placed under a microscope.

At the beginning of this month a year ago, Thebe Kgositsile, better known as Earl Sweatshirt, lost his father, South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile. Still, at this time, his fans around the globe were becoming increasingly anxious for new music.

What followed ten months later was Some Rap Songs. Now, the internet's favourite rapper is augmenting his third album with a short film called Nowhere, Nobody.

The eight-minute film is written and directed by Random Acts of Flyness directors, Terence Nance and Naima Ramos-Chapman. Although it's based on music from Some Rap Songs, it's more of an art film than an extended music video. Nowhere, Nobody reflects the non sequitur skittishness of the album from which it borrows its music.

In all this, the central theme of idols and idolising remains consistent.


Earl Sweatshirt - Nowhere, Nobody youtu.be

There's no question that Keorapetse Kgositsile's legacy is something that follows Earl Sweatshirt wherever he goes. As a staunch anti-apartheid activist, Kgositsile—or Bra Willie as he was affectionately known—made a name for himself through his work during exile in the US, bridging the gap between South African and African-American poetry. In 1996, he was inaugurated as South Africa's first National Poet Laureate and, in 2008, was honoured with the National Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to the field of literature.

All of this matters, especially when your proximity to an icon is that of a son. But what can you actually do with any of this? In multiple scenes, the rapper can be seen attempting to engage with statues. In some cases, he even uses hands from a statue to try and connect, even with a human being painted as a statue, and sometimes as a woman (vocalist, LaDiamond Blue plays his female version).

Around the time Sweatshirt lost his father, he revealed to Rolling Stone that their relationship was a "non-perfect one" and that "talking to him is symbolic and non-symbolic, but it's literally closure for my childhood. Not getting to have that moment left me to figure out a lot with my damn self."

The quiet tension embedded in the quest for tangibility is how the film tries to depict this. You can only idolise so far until you can't anymore—until it's meant all it possibly can and you have to go and live your own life. But having said that, Bra Willie (as Kgositsile was affectionately known) will never die since he lives on through his legacy. The film's most striking image captures a casket filled with statue hands. It is only half open and the other half draped in the South African flag.

Among all this, additional themes of black fatherhood and the relationship black men have with black women are also explored which makes this film of less than 10 minutes just as jam-packed as the 15-song, 24-minute Some Rap Songs. Ultimately, it's the world's most ambitious promo spot for an album tour which Earl Sweatshirt is embarking on beginning March this year. So if you do nothing else today, clear ten minutes of your time to watch Nowhere, Nobody.

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Runtown. Photo courtesy of the artist.

How Runtown Got His Groove Back

In the past year, Runtown has had to look behind him to shed the ghosts of his former label. Now he's looking forward to more success.

In May of 2018 with two months left on his contract, the Nigerian popstar Runtown woke up one morning to news that his record label, Eric Many Entertainment, was suing him for damages worth N267 million. A potential local court injunction against him meant Runtown might face the possibility of being barred from making music until the suit was resolved. It was the the start in of a string of legal battles between the singer and his label that threatened his very existence as an artist.

As Runtown planned his next steps, his boss, Ukwudili Umenyiora was doing everything he could not to let him go. The suit was a ploy to get him to extend the contract, or reach a settlement that would allow the label to keep a stake in his future business. In the press, Runtown was lambasted daily by suspected paid agents of the record label.

After the record label tried to prevent a performance in Canada, and sent cease and desist letters to radio stations, asking them to pull Runtown off playlists, something cracked in his camp. His legal team mobilised. They launched an offensive, filing cases and petitions on many fronts across Lagos, Abuja and New York. His boss and aggressor, Okwudili Umenyiora, was arrested twice by the local police on petitions by Runtown. To stop the media harassment, Umenyiora signed a legal agreement promising to back off. With the coast clear, he could then focus on the music.

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Video still via YouTube.

'Ratnik' Is the Dystopian Nollywood Action Film You Didn't Know You Needed

Watch the dramatic teaser from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola.

A film 2 years in the making is yet another cinematic moment contributing to the growing diversity of subgenres in the Nollywood industry.

Ratnik is a dystopian action film from Nigerian filmmaker Dimeji Ajibola his production company Flipsyde Studios. The teaser recently dropped this month ahead of the official trailer—and from this 1-minute clip we're anticipating suspense, explosions, peculiar superhero characters and impressive vfx that we're seeing more of in Nigerian films.

Get into the teaser below.

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Moonchild Sanelly. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Swiss Producer Dejot Enlists South African Leftfield Artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, RADIO 123 and More in His New EP ‘Uhujano’

Listen to Dejot's latest EP.

Swiss electronic producer Dejot has a fondness for South African and its musicians. "What was really surprising to me was the fact, that when I played my music, my demos or ideas, people started to dance immediately," says Dejot in an email to OkayAfrica. "I was really surprised, that there was something in my music that hit them and made them move. This is very different compared to Europe or Switzerland, where people mostly stand around and just listen to it."

Last year, Dejot produced the rapper Robin Thirdfloor's EP Bhotela in its entirety. He has also worked with Bongeziwe Mabandla. This year, for his latest EP, Uhujano, he enlisted South Africa-based artists Moonchild Sanelly, Waterlillyrose, Robert Machiri and the duo RADIO 123.

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