Audio

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba Needs a Grammy: The Digital Maskandi Star Talks His New Song, 'Sun City Flow'

Digital Maskandi star Mashayabhuqe KaMamba takes us inside his new song, “Sun City Flow.”

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba returned from a quick stint overseas last month more inspired than ever. “I’m a changed man, completely changed,” the Digital Maskandi singer and producer tells me over email about his trip to Paris to perform at the city’s Afropunk festival. “I learned a lot in Europe. Paris will force you to challenge yourself and explore. I did all of that in a space of a week,” he says.


The Johannesburg-based musician has come a long way since his slept on 2013 debut, The Black Excellence Show EP. At 29, he's well on his way to becoming one of South Africa's most beloved left-of-center stars. Today, he returns with a new song.

"Sun City Flow" might be Mashaya's hardest offering yet. It's produced by 19-year-old Johannesburg-based up-and-comer G-$TAR BEATZ. The two met online. "He started following me on SoundCloud. I decided to check out his page and found a song that caught my attention," explains Mashaya. In a "Wolves"-like move, they're still perfecting the sound. "Until we get that rare 8mix of Sun City Flow with a very futuristic sound," says Mashaya. Don't be surprised if you see him updating the song in the coming weeks and months, in addition to the two mixes he's debuted today.

Photo by Ojoz. Courtesy of Mashayabhuqe KaMamba.

Conceptually, "Sun City Flow" deserves a closer look. According to Mashaya, it could be read as the soundtrack to a short film. Its protagonist, Zamalek Japan, is a man dissatisfied with how he’s being treated in his own home, persecuted by the mainstream systems for fighting for his art. In this hypothetical short film, the man goes to eMsamo (a sacred place) to ask his ancestors for answers. “It's a story of someone who's got questions about the culture and industry [he finds himself in]."

In an email to Okayafrica, the singer relates the character to the Prince of Newtown, Thembiso Twala. “He’s been fighting for art in Mzansi. He’s been designing accessories using spoons and forks. That’s authentic, but people still pay him no mind. It’s not cool. He’s a legend in my eyes."

For Mashaya, Sun City is a metaphor. “It could be my cousin in jail at the moment and it could also mean we’re just trapped in our minds, failing to help or embrace local talents." Self-love, he adds, is the message behind the song.

"I think I need a Grammy," Mashaya sings on the track. Questioned about the lyric, Mashaya tells me it’s got nothing to do with egotism. “My father told me to say things I wish for myself. I shouldn’t be afraid of saying ‘I will get a Grammy one day’...I don’t believe I need to be at a certain level of my career to start thinking like this.”

Listen to both mixes of “Sun City City” below––one by MarazA and the other by Bonafide Billi. Head to SoundCloud for the full lyrics.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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