Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Hymphatic Thabs.

Hymphatic Thabs Proves His Pedigree on SOTRA Cyphers Appearance

Hymphatic Thabs' verse on SOTRA Cyphers proves the veteran South African emcee is still as sharp as he was 20 years ago when he released his debut album.

South African hip-hop legend Hymphatic Thabs stopped by SPeeKa's studio to deliver a freestyle on SOTRA Cyphers. SOTRA Cyphers is a series of cyphers curated by the Soweto-based producer SPeeKa at his R.E.A Studios in Soweto. SOTRA Cyphers is in its fourth year running and the 40th instalment, comprising three emcees, was released last week. Hymphatic Thabs' exclusive serves as the first exclusive instalment of the year.

Falling on the 21st of January, Hymphatic Thabs' appearance coincided with the 20th anniversary of his first album, Error Era, which was released in 2001. This fact made the appearance all the more meaningful. Before his verse starts, he makes mention of his latest album, called Centre of the Universe, released in 2019.


The Lesotho-born, South Africa-based emcee proves his pedigree, breaking out into a six-minute-long soliloquy replete with highbrow concepts. He starts off with an introspective couplet, rapping:

"As I swing just like a pendulum, am I singular or plural? Swimming drunk and drinking, damned and sinking like I'm futile, since you are so rural, Thabs, think about your future, don't just sing a song for sing alongs, simplify what's crucial."

It is this kind of thematic advisory to self that populates the rest of his verse, as he oscillates between speaking to and about himself in first- and second-person point of view. Posing a question to himself, he asks, "Why fantasise on huge wealth if you can't define your true self? Centralise your thoughts and sanctify your cause or purpose."

The latter part of his verse sees him adopting a more dichotomous style of delivery, written in binary form, as he raps mostly opposing ideas against each other, rapping, "It is big, it is small, it is bricks, it is walls, it is Vic-toria Falls, it is zilch and yet it is all, it ticklish and yet it is sore, it is sick and yet it is the cure, it is the rich that give to the poor."

A veteran in the game at this point, this SOTRA Cyphers exclusive proves that Hymphatic Thabshas never lost a step. He is still as sharp as he was when releasing Error Era 20 years ago.

Watch Hymphatic Thabs' performance on SOTRA Cyphers below:

HYMPHATIC THABS (a #SotraCyphers exclusive) www.youtube.com

News Brief
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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