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Ndlulamthi. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Watch Cape Town Lyricist Ndlulamthi Perform Songs From His Stellar Sophomore Album ‘Hard Livings’

Ndlulamthi performs and breaks down some songs from his album 'Hard Livings.'

Cape Town rapper and poet Ndlulamthi recently performed a few songs from his sophomore album, the masterpiece he released last year titled Hard Livings. The MC is one of several artists who have performed in the YouTube series, Smile Sessions. The show takes the same format as similar ones, such as JR's Feel Good Live Sessions and NPR Tiny Desktop Concert, where an artist performs a selection of songs in front of an intimate audience.


Read: Ndlulamthi Offers A Screenshot of Life in Cape Town's Black Townships in His New Album 'Hard Livings'

Ndlulamthi gets to break down some of the songs from Hard Livings: "Gun Dubula," "Abahlali," "Late Bels Ngomgqibelo," "Diary," "Usengu Tatam." He opens the set with his niche classic "Andivoti," featuring close friend, producer and collaborator FiveSix, and closes it with the personal tune "Usengu Tatam," which is about his father.

Ndlulamthi's style of writing is layered, and the explanations he gives between songs during the set will help shed some light and give context especially to those who don't have the lived experience of being black and living in the hood in Cape Town, which is the focal point of Hard Livings. If you are educated enough to understand IsiXhosa, don't miss out on some serious food for thought.

Watch the whole performance below, and be sure to download Hard Livings here or stream it below:

Smile Sessions - Episode 7 [Season Finale] - Ndlulamthi www.youtube.com



Read: How IsiXhosa Became The Official Language of Wakanda on 'Black Panther'

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

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Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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