News Brief

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Calls Out South Africa's 'Democracy and Delusion' In New Album & Book

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh to release 'Democracy and Delusion' this month.

South African hip-hop artist, academic and activist Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh will be releasing his debut album, which will be accompanied by a book.


The book will come out later this month on August 28, while the album is due on September 6.

The project titled, Democracy and Delusion, will be politically-charged, as fans have grown to expect from the rapper.

In 2014, he broke his long hiatus from music with a no-holds-barred single which took shots at President Jacob Zuma. The song was a remake of Tunisian rapper El-General’s equally politically-charged “Rayes lebled.”

The book will consist of 10 chapters in which Mpofu-Walsh will debunk myths and, well, delusions about South Africa’s 23-year-old democracy. The album will feature artists like renowned poet Lebo Mashile, rapper Solo, and Fees Must Fall activist Busisiwe Seabe.

The rapper tells the Mail & Guardian: “The album wasn’t any easier than a master’s at Oxford. Do you know how much intellectual thought, melodic ability and technical skill is required?”

He went on to talk about how he feels about South African hip-hop’s apolitical nature. “I don’t understand how the artists and celebrities have this huge platform that could be used for so much,” he mentions, “and it’s being used for protection of the status quo. We need to show there are different ways to use the medium. This is an album of impact that doesn’t say the same thing that these artists are saying: look at me I’m so cool, I have all this money, etc. It’s about where we are in this country.”

Mpofu-Walsh was first introduced to South African hip-hop as part of the teenage trio Entity alongside rappers AKA (yes, Supa Mega) and Greyhound. They released their album Royal School of Hip-Hop and the video single “Touch and Go.” The trio had a great run until they disbanded around 2008.

Mpofu-Walsh now joins artists such as Tumi Molekane and Emile YX? who have, in the past, released books to accompany their musical projects.

You can listen to a song from Democracy and Delusion, which plays automatically on Mpofu-Walsh’s website. The track shows the rapper is in touch with current hip-hop trends as he mixes rapping and Auto-Tuned vocals over sinewy synths and pads. He talks about current affairs such as the State Capture and land reform, among other issues.

You can read his full interview with the Mail & Guardian here.

Keep up with Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh on Twitter, Facebook and his website.

Revisit our analysis of South African hip-hop's relationship with politics from 2016, here

Music
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The 20 Essential Olamide Songs

We dive into the Nigreian star's discography to bring you the 20 Essential Olamide Songs.

Let's get something clear: no Afropop act outdid Olamide in the 2010s, and even fewer can claim to match the sheer weight of his cultural influence. By all metrics, the 31-year-old musician reigned supreme over the sonic zeitgeist of the last decade, musically encapsulating, more than anyone, Nigerian music's trudge from fascination with Western-tinged music to the mass appeal of afrobeats.

Rising from Bariga, Baddo first punctured mainstream consciousness with his belligerent bars that positioned him as an upstart with a point to prove before going on to hold the gaze of a generation with anthemic offerings that distilled conceptual narratives on hedonism, life in Lagos, and forces that moved culture into multiple hits singles.

All this was done while maintaining a level of output that is unprecedented in Nigerian pop. From 2011 to 2017, Olamide put out at least one project every year while guesting on an uncountable number of songs that lasered his identity on contemporary Nigerian popular culture and ensured his music was always on rotation.

Carpe Diem, his 2020 album, marked the next step in the evolutionary arc of Olamide's career, easing him into elder statesman territory musically – and providing further proof of what a gifted musician Olamide is.

In honor of Olamide's career, we delved into his discography to bring you The 20 Essential Olamide Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

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