Sipho The Gift 'Somewhere' [Premiere]

Okayafrica premieres South African rapper Sipho The Gift's nostalgic VHS'd "Somewhere" video directed by Sam Turpin.

Earlier this month we premiered a Drake freestyle from rising South African rapper and Well$ collaborator Sipho The Gift. Kimberley born and Stellenbosch based, Sipho touched down on our radar by way of Kinshasa producer/rapper and Immaculate Taste founder Alec Lomami. "Bars for bars the guy has what it take to be one of the best out of SA," Alec told us. He's currently in the process of wrapping up his debut mixtape, Coming of Age, which he produced in its entirety. The project is due out in early 2015, and we now have its first official single, "Somewhere," which we're excited to premiere here today. "The song epitomizes the struggles of a young man through his right of passage," Sipho told us. "There's constant uncertainty along his path to manhood, but for much of the journey he is in constant limbo. The song is an expression of the aspirations I have, my experiences and the thoughts that led me to where I am right now." Johannesburg alt-rap newcomer Sam Turpin (who broke down his debut Eternal Sentiment EP for us back in March) directed and edited the song's VHS'd video, which like Tommy Ills and Fratpack's "Pacmanbass" takes its queues from the Fresh Prince days. The nostalgic clip plays like a Saturday morning cartoon session set to Sipho's easy breezy backpack rap. We're still waiting on the full length version of the song. In the meantime watch the "Somewhere" video directed/edited by Sam Turpin. Sipho The Gift's debut mixtape Coming of Age is due out in early 2015.

>>>Listen To Sipho The Gift's "Poundcake Freestyle"

Update 9/18: A full version of "Somewhere," featuring Well$, is now available to stream and download.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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