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Stogie T’s 10 Best Guest Verses

We rank 10 of Stogie T's guest verses from great to seriously great.

Revered South African MC Stogie T recently announced that he was done lending guest verses to other artists. It's the end of a serious streak. Since 2016, when the MC changed his name from Tumi Molekane to Stogie T, he has rapped some of his best verses, not just on his 2016 self-titled album and the mixtape Honey and Pain (2018), but on songs in which he's featured by other artists.


One of the most talked about South African hip-hop songs at the moment is Zakwe's "Roots," in which Stogie T is a guest, alongside the talented singer Jay Claude. The verse has been steadily showing itself as a gem since the song was released in July as part of Zakwe's 2018 album Cebisa.

Stogie T, whose career nears two decades, is one of the few rappers who can, in 2019, make you look his way, simply because of their raps. Last year, he broke the Internet with his outstanding freestyle on Sway In The Morning.

Regardless of what has changed and what has stayed the same in his rebranding three years later, one fact remains, whether you call him Tumi or Stogie T, he is still sharp as ever with the pen. We can even go as far as saying he is writing and rapping some of the best verses of his career at this time. He's so confident that, according to him, if he's collaborating with another rapper, he will send them his verse first. No cap! But those days are over.

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Below, writers Sabelo Mkhabela and Sekese Rasephei attempt the lofty task of narrowing down 10 of the best guest verses by the MC since he changed his name to Stogie T.

10. DJ Speedsta “Vicky” (ft. Jay Claude & Stogie T)

On this 90s' R&B homage, which tackles the ever so common theme of hollerin' at a fly girl who is not so keen on the advances, Stogie gets slick with the approach. He woos the titular character, Vicky, by delivering a crafty verse riddled with double-entendres. To prove that he's no regular guy, after chatting her up to no avail, he decides to "switch the plan up" and court her by employing the slickest wordplay based on 90s' R&B songs and artists alike. He raps, "I play shy, she drew her hills next to me/ freak enough for Joe to see, how you knock me off my feet, fucking up mint condition upholstery…" It's wizardry how just those two bars are loaded with so many references: "shy" (Shai), "drew her hills" (Dru Hill), "freak enough for Joe to see" ("FreekN' U," a song by Jodeci), "Joe" (Joe Thomas), "Knock Me Off My Feet" (a song by Donell Jones) and Mint Condition (the R&B band). — Sekese Rasephei

9. Kommanda Obbs “Ke Tauwe Fu (Ft. Stogie T)”

The verse Stogie delivers on the Lesotho MC's song is a master-class on using your creative license to interpret a concept. While the song is essentially about being stupid drunk, and pretty much glorifies the state of drunkenness, Stogie flips it on its head and addresses, among other things, the hypocrisy that most consumers of alcohol harbor ("Rastas who eat meat, a pastor having an affair with the shebeen queen"), peer pressure, ("with the crew having baby sips"), and moral irresolution ("wanting to hit club girls that look like your baby sis"). However, he does this in the wittiest way, without sounding preachy. And of course, it wouldn't be a Stogie verse without exceptional wordplay:

"You tryna gather yourself/ but the sense is left, can't counter yourself/ Hence the stress, you outta your depth/ Protect your neck, Wu-Tang yourself, at least you ain't fucking with meth…"

Here he references and plays on the following artists and songs:

Wu-Tang Clan – "Wu-Tang Ain't Nuthin' To Fuck Wit'"

Wu-Tang Clan – "Protect Ya' Neck"

Meth (Method Man)

— Sekese Rasephei

8. Matteo “The Unwilling Passenger (El Mundo, Pt. 1)” (ft. Stogie T)

Ever so often, as the OG he is, Stogie will drop some jewels meant to be game he's teaching to those willing to listen. While one might get caught up in the braggadocio, if you listen intently, there's nuggets of wisdom being shared. He does this impeccably on the second verse of this cut by French producer Matteo, where he raps:

"Take the lane less travelled at/ Make a statement, if not for nothing, aye, it's for your heart/... your light bars are your load shed, I'm gone, bitch, you open for shows, I'm focused on an opening, on a coast where the boats is, with lawyer associates, trying to own shit, aye, fuck is you smoking?, they want you not growing, stuck in the moment, for their memories, when they think of me, but I'm living not posing, still involved, and still evolved…"

If there are Easter eggs in his music explaining what motivated him to evolve to Stogie T, this verse is one of those. He asserts himself as his own person, while advising us to do the same. Do not be boxed in by what people have defined of you. Evolve. Achieve tangible goals for yourself and your long-term enrichment. He clearly needed to be who he is today, Stogie T, in order to feel fulfilled in this view of himself. Wordplay isn't the focal point of this verse, but that doesn't mean he's short for it. The subtleties are always there.

The line "Your light bars are your load shed" could mean your average lines are your lessened pressure and also a play on loadshedding and light bars, referring to electricity.

"With my lawyer associates" is a play on the literal meaning of having lawyers as one's associates, but also playing on the fact that lawyers are called associates in their professional capacities. — Sekese Rasephei

7. Zoocci Coke Dope “I Knew” (ft. Stogie T & Die Mondez)

In this verse, Stogie scoffs at the naysayers and non-believers. He separates himself from the rest, rapping, "Our values are different, y'all don't respect consistence/ I lasted the distance, you went from weed to cough mixture/ And in the same time, through the grape-vine/ I heard you whisper, 'Could T still be the great one?'". The "drink" reference here is incredible: "cough mixture," "grapevine" (wine), "T" (tea). He goes on to say:

"I tell you what it looks like through my eyes/ I invite you to dinner, you tryna drink my blood/ God MC, and for a time they wasn't believing/ Had to be the juice (Jews) that made 'em put God to a T/ I got a crew to fix (crucifix), shape up/ You got a barber to see/ Around here (hair), we do not fuck with your team/ You a storm in a cup of tea/ It's nothing I mean, my furious styles fathered a scene".

Here, he continues the "drink" metaphor, then adds The Last Supper reference, which is augmented by the reference to Jesus' crucifixion and the Jewish deicide, then he references the classic scene in Boyz N the Hood where the father, Jason "Furious" Styles is cutting his son Trey's hair, while giving him life lessons. Also, in Christianity, Jesus is seen as the Father. As is always the case in his verses, there's more than meets the eye, it just takes a great deal of attention to detail to pick them all up. — Sekese Rasephei

6. Da L.E.S “Get Ready” (ft. Maggz & Stogie T)

Stogie T is not necessarily the star of this one—Da L.E.S. is, for doing what most would've deemed unlikely, and that is to genuinely hold his own in the company of these top tier lyricists. That said, this is still an imperial verse from Stog'. He kicks off the song, and his first two bars are demi-god level. "Five foot something, not quite a six/ My bitch wife full time, that's not a bitch." The raw honesty, the brashful delivery, that's how you start off a posse cut. The lines, "The genuine article, I could plug your magazine/ The rest of you vultures just smelling like some culture thieves,"

play on the words "article" and "magazine". Also wordplay on him having a very honest and genuine cover story on The Plug magazine during its early days circa 2016. He also plays on the phrase "culture vulture," alluding to not associating with the rest of these (publications maybe?).

In the lines, "You niggas roadkill, I am Stogie in the driver's seat/ We know you're story, you a phony, you ain't gotta be," he further plays on the metaphor of "smelling" like culture-vultures by referring to "road-kill" which usually smells, and will likely be consumed by vultures, as they tend to revel on rotten flesh. Him saying we know your "story", you a "phony" harks back to him being a "genuine article" in the "magazine" which will usually have "stories."

He further raps:

"And Les' called me like a medic for the body, I told him/ 'Less talk and give me time, place and topic'/ I'm in the stu' (stew) like Nigella, with my fellas, still ain't take a loss son (Lawson)/ You eating salt with black pepper"

Les is Da L.E.S, short for Leslie. When he says, "Less talk," it's a homonym for "Les', talk" or "Let's talk". Being in the "stu'(stew)" like Nigella Lawson, the English chef. Clearly, Stogie was cooking on this verse. — Sekese Rasephei

5. Al Da 3rd Twenty Sixteens “Intro”

BETR GANG member and producer Al Da 3rd opened his Twenty Sixteens project with a show-stealing verse from Stogie T. Over a buzzing synthesizer, the veteran MC touches on a lot of things, but most notably his journey and transition. His wordplay is as sharp as his storytelling, picking his words carefully. For instance the lines, "Transport you from gutter to butter, you don't gotta wonder what skill is for/ Life, hotter then mealie pap/ How these corn balls get the mealies though?" are tied together by the reference to food: "butter," "mealie pap" and "corn." But the highlight of the verse is when he raps, "Watch how I move, they stuck in my youth/ These Party People now find me (in) Taboo." In the lines, the MC is referring to how when he became Stogie T, he alienated some of his old fans. Party People was a series of events that that was popular in the 2000s. It hosted mostly rappers and singers with golden era sensibilities, just like Tumi used to be in his days as T from the V. The Party People crowd now finds him taboo, he says (they do). The second meaning is that Taboo is a club popular within the new generation of hip-hop, which Stogie T now appeals to. It's what the man thrives on—giving you double entendres and intricate wordplay while still sticking to the subject. — Sabelo Mkhabela







4. Ziyon “Cool” (Ft Stogie T)

Adding to an already impressive string of collaborations in the form of "In Defense Of My Heart", "Feel So Good" and now this joint, Stogie T and Ziyon's musical chemistry is undeniable. On this cautionary tale, about keeping your wits about you, Stogie delivers a masterpiece, complete with slant rhyming and sing-song flow progression that would make Yasiin Bey envious. A recurrent theme in Stogie's music is how he is on a "higher plane" than the rest of his peers, and that he's a "giant (or Superman) to a bunch of ants", and while this can be seen as dismissively arrogant, it doesn't hurt because it's true, plus, this is hip-hop. In the line, "Who would've thought, we let the dogs out/ Keep it 101 to skin these Cruella pups…" he references the novel,The Hundred and One Dalmatians as well as the main antagonist in the novel, Cruella De Ville. — Sekese Rasephei

3. AKA “StarSigns” (ft. Stogie T)

Stogie T and AKA hardly miss. Zeus' "Dats Whats Up", Stogie T's "Miss Joburg", AKA's intro to Levels and the intro to his Return Of The King album are all examples of memorable collaborations between these two MCs. On this single off AKA's double platinum-certified album, Touch My Blood, Stogie steals the show with an audacious verse which has lines that among other things, seem to be taking aim it his oft-fraught relationship with his former signee, Riky Rick. He starts the verse off in full big-brother mode, alluding to advice he's given to Supa Mega before going on an onslaught addressing his detractors.

Standout lines include the use of a homonym in "You gon' know it's running (nose runny) like an allergy," as well as the clothes and material theme throughout the lines, "Different cloth, see the two–piece/ Stogie big enough for two mes (Tumi)/ You thick as ox skin, think I lost it, written off, like I couldn't free/ How ironic, so much Gucci, but no material of music." — Sekese Rasephei

2. Lastee “Illusions” (ft. Stogie T)

Many MCs can rap extremely well, but sometimes they can just say a bunch of dope stuff without any coherence. Stogie is an antithesis of this. On most verses, there's always a clear storyline, character development, beginning, arc and end. His verse on Lastee's "Illusions" illustrates this perfectly. He breaks down the familiar story of a lady who'll get whisked away, or more aptly, flown out for a weekend-away by a suitor of good financial standing. The fantasy usually doesn't last, though, so while it was good while it lasted, she'll eventually get discarded before she gets too comfortable. Of course, the story is told with layers and layers of wordplay and entendres. An excerpt:

"If I let you tell it, you gon' under-sell it/ So I'm playing Fresh Prince 'til they see, I Am Legend/ I fly her business/ I got the kind of change that climate change/ She warming up to a nigga/ And that's the ticket/ Mami's ridiculous/ And double-clicking her gram/ She two-timing her man, figures/ And when her momma got sick, it's me she halla to eWallet her the hospital admission…."

Below are a few of the double entendres from his verse explained:

"Sell," "business," "change," "figures," "ewallet" continues the common theme of money.

The first meaning of, "fly her business," is that he makes her fly business class, the second meaning being that he makes her business fly (upgrade her).

"I got the kind of change that climate change"

The first meaning is that he has the kind of money that will make her warm up to him. The second meaning is that the temperature changes in high altitude when one is on the plane.

"All fun and games, back on Monday/ Your fairy-tale no longer here (hair), Rapunzel"

One can imagine that the kind of girl Stogie is talking about here is the one who has a penchant for wigs and weaves, so after all that flying out business is done, her furry tail (fairy-tale) is no longer hair (here), Rapunzel. And if you know the story of Rapunzel, then you know that she used her hair to escape her "reality," so the meaning is even deeper. — Sekese Rasephei

1. Zakwe “Roots” ft. Stogie T and Jay Claude

It's not so frequent that a hip-hop song makes the whole game talk just because of the raps in South Africa (you know how we roll in these parts). On Zakwe's "Roots" single, Stogie T spits a moment of a verse that further cements the MC as one of the greatest to ever do it, and has everyone talking. The song has a straight forward concept—both MCs and Jay Claude on the hook are reflecting on how far they've come in the game and life in general. With the level of intensity that one has grown to expect from the MC, he traces his trajectory from growing up in exile in Tanzania, sharing his story in his music for his listeners' benefit, to where he currently is. It's the precision in his delivery, the ability to sound emotional and confident at the same time, the diversity in his references, and of course the customary layered wordplay and writing. He's able to talk about money without making it sound cliché: "Before Nelson Mandela was on money, I was folding leopards you would swear it's origami." His lines are connected by underlying analogous imagery, for instance, when he raps, "Every death gave me life/ Still-born, so me and Christ share a likeness/ None like him, no Siamese, it's all timing," he plays around with the concept of birth, using fitting words and phrases like "gave me life," "still-born" and "Siamese." But beyond wordplay and other rapping techniques, the expression on this verse is also top notch—peep: "Born in Tanzania, that seems far-fetched/ But none of you know the world that's in my closet/ I make lines speak to the heart of the darkness/ Everything hidden unless you listening with your conscience." — Sabelo Mkhabela

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Photos by David Pattinson.

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