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

Interview

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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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