Music

ASAP Shembe Is Channeling the South African Genres He Grew Up On to Tell His Own Story

ASAP Shembe shares his spiritual take on music.

This profile is part of OkayAfrica's ongoing series, THE WAV 2019, following the young artists shaping the future of the South Africa's music scene. You can read more profiles and interviews here.

ASAP Shembe's name has nothing to do with A$AP Mobb. The "ASAP" is an acronym for "Aba Sindisiwe Aba Pheli", which means "those that have been saved will never perish." "Cue the message," says ASAP Shembe after giving the breakdown. "And the message is "what you leave in the world," and the mechanism that I'm using to relay my message is music, and it's really just like a constant reminder, mfethu, ukuthi you are your own savior in this chaotic world. You need to find your truth with, and I found my truth through this name."

ASAP Shembe's lyrical content is just as loaded. While he doesn't consider himself a rapper, his hip-hop roots run deep. "I do take elements of rap into my music," he says. "But I don't consider myself a rapper, because I do so much more than just rapping."

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