Music

Stogie T's ‘God’s Eye’ Touches on Black Lives Matter, the Terrorist Islamic State & the Human Condition

Stogie T's 15-minute long song covers a diverse range of topics.

South African rapper Stogie T released a 15-minute long track this morning called "God's Eye." The song is essentially an EP—he raps over different beats, with the songs being separated by skits.

The project is released to commemorate the youth who were slain by the apartheid regime in June 16 of 1976. T always releases music on June 16, if it's not an album (Return of the King was released in 2014 on the same date), it's a series of verses from different artists.

But this year, he opted to go at it alone. Skimming through "God's Eye," you'll hear different themes including rap politics, Black Lives Matter, and the terrorism of the Islamic State, among others.


Read: The 11 Best South African Trap Producers

In just 15 minutes, the revered wordsmith switches flows and raps from different perspectives—on two of the songs, he raps from the perspective of a slave trader and a lieutenant of the terrorist Islamic State.

Just like most of the man's work, you'll pick up Easter eggs with every successive listen. So, your weekend plans have changed, you have some raps to decipher on "God's Eye."

Sonically, "God's Eye," is diverse but still monolithic–it's not sure if it wants to be boom bap or trap, and that's the beauty of it. TruHitz and Cokayn, two producers the rapper has been working with since changing his stage name to Stogie T from Tumi, are the only names behind the music on here.

Listen to "God's Eye" below and download it here.

Music

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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