Video

Cape Town's Future Kwaai Diva Umlilo Releases Darkly Luminous 'Chain Gang' Video

Cape Town's future kwaai diva Umlilo releases the music video for "Chain Gang," the second single off the 'Aluta' EP via Naas Music.


Cape Town's future kwaai diva Umlilo (formerly Siya the Anarchist) is gearing up to release his next EP, Aluta, on Naas Music. After delivering back in July on a darkly glittering video for the first single off the project, "Magic Man," Umlilo now shares the similarly posh visuals for "Chain Gang." Helmed by rising South African filmmaker Katey Lee Carson, who was previously behind the short graffiti documentary Painting Cape Town, the piece features Rita, a troubled 27-year-old who died under murky circumstances, visiting her own funeral where her friends dourly pay their respects and a gold-bespectacled preacher (played by Umlilo) searingly eulogizes the young woman. "No pain, no gain/No mama's left in vain/Another breadwinner dead/Lost forever to the game," Umlilo raps over stuttering drums and electronic squeals, Rita's tragic life and death enigmatically sliding into focus. Explains Umlilo:

"We live in a world where people keep getting gunned down everyday for all sorts of reasons they cannot control from skin colour, religion, poverty or sexuality. At the other end of the spectrum is this vacuous pursuit of money and bling. It all has a chain effect making us all part of a chain gang whether we like it or not. The song explores this perpetual cycle to survive, to live and die with dignity in this modern jungle."

As a portrait of a surrogate family with a pained soul at its center, "Chain Gang" (which you can download here) is a luminous, deeply moving work. Check it out below, and keep posted for more from Umlilo and news of the forthcoming Aluta EP.

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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