Focalistic marries hip-hop, amapiano and kwaito in new EP 'Quarantined Tarantino.'

Focalistic’s New EP ‘Quarantined Tarantino’ is a Satisfying Blend of Hip-Hop, Kwaito and Amapiano

Stream Focalistic's new EP 'Quarantined Tarantino.'

In his latest EP Quarantined Tarantino, Focalistic manages to strike a balance between the South African artist's hip-hop roots and his recent flirtations with amapiano and kwaito.

For the first three songs, Quarantined Tarantino traces the relationship between 90s' kwaito and amapiano, sometimes blurring the line between the two. One of the project's many highlights "Patrice Motsepe" follows the same format and manages to simultaneously sound nostalgic and current.

The beats on the rest of the project lean towards trap. His interpretation of the production and the usage of Pitori slang are some of the factors that differentiate him from his counterparts.

Quarantined Tarantino is presented as a collection of scenes from Focalistic's life story. Explaining the title, which is play on words on famed director Quentin Tarantino and the current lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the rapper said:

"When the lockdown was commissioned, I felt like a lot of people were feeling trapped. A lot of people felt like this was a moment where they couldn't do anything about everything. Especially the ones in the arts. My way of resistance is the EP. I'm resisting becoming complacent, resisting the temptations of leaving my art, and hopefully I can inspire people to be as productive as they can."

Focalistic's imprint 18 Area Holdings teamed up with the label Vth Season to release Quarantined Tarantino. "He is one of the most complete artist package we have seen in SA," said Raphael Benza of Vth Season in a press release. "A genius wordsmith in multiple languages, versatile producer and exciting entertainer." No lie detected.

Focalistic has been releasing music consistently since his emergence circa 2017. He has collaborated with the likes of Cassper Nyovest, Emtee, Major League DJz and Mr JazziQ among a few others.

Stream Quarantined Tarantino on Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer.

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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