Audio

‘Zelalem,’ An EP & Vintage Ethiopian Folk Mixtape From Producer Mikael Seifu

Ethiopian beatmaker Mikael Seifu shares his new EP 'Zelalem' and a 50-minute vintage Ethiopian folk mixtape.

Zelalem EP cover.


As we’ve told you, we’re really excited for Mikael Seifu’s new EP Zelalem. The Addis-Ababa-based producer’s had a hold on our ears since we first came across his Ethiopiyawi Electronic style—a blend of traditional Ethiopian folk sounds with UK garage & house beats—and his latest EP only furthers those sonic experiments.

Zelalem, which means “Eternity” in Amharic, is made up of five songs that sample and reshape the Masenko and Krar instruments used by Ethiopia’s azmaris to create hypnotizing productions that Seifu calls “eternally Ethiopian.”

“Mikael’s music does not westernize or electronicize extant Ethiopian music," Seifu’s label RVNG Intl. adds. "Instead, Seifu uses Ethio-Jazz’s spirit of brewing estranged styles for his own musical tincturing.”

Zelalem, out today via RVNG Intl., is accompanied by a 50-minute cassette mixtape from Seifu that compiles Ethiopian and African folk music. There's no tracklist or much more info out there about the mix, so if you recognize any of the tracks give us a shout.

Stream the Zelalem mixtape below and, if you’re in NYC, head to Mikael Seifu's EP release party tonight (details in the flyer underneath).

Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

ProVerb’s Memoir Is A Huge Slap In The Face To South African Hip-Hop

In his memoir, one of South Africa's revered lyricists ProVerb and his co-author compromise his rich story with trite motivational talk.

The Book of Proverb

ProVerb has had a strange relationship with the SA hip-hop scene. Albeit being one of the most gifted lyricists the country has ever seen, he has grown to flow less and hustle more. Despite this, his name still comes up when the greatest (South) African rappers of all time are mentioned. MTV Base placed him as the 7th in their list of the greatest SA MCs of all time in 2018 for example.

The rapper-turned-media personality dedicates a paragraph of his memoir, The Book of Proverb, to explaining his complicated relationship with hip-hop. "Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support or success from it," he writes. "Music is and always will remain a pass ion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me. If I was given more support, I might continue, but for now, I'll focus on my other hustles."

On the cover of the book which was released towards the end of 2020 by Penguin, Verb is wearing a charcoal blazer and sporting a white ball cap, so one can be forgiven for getting into it expecting both sides of his story. This memoir, however, is too vague to be a worthy read if you aren't necessarily reading to get motivated but to be simply informed and inspired.

While a few of The Book of ProVerb's chapters touch on his rap career, most of the book is about ProVerb the man, personality and businessman. Not so much one of the country's finest lyricists. This omission is a huge slap in the face for his fans and SA hip-hop fans in general.

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Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr Explores the Sweet Spot Between Nollywood & Hollywood

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