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.

News Brief
Umlilo and Sean K. Photography by Jono Kay, Stuart Hendricks.

Watch Umlilo & Sean K's Video For ‘Emoyeni’

South Africa and Namibia connect on "Emoyeni."

In their collaborative song, "Emoyeni," Umlilo and Sean K sing about the changing of the seasons and it coming with a change in one's life.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

#FemmeInPublic Is an Assertion of Trans, Femme Identity in Cape Town

#FemmeInPublic is a transgender rights movement "disrupting the heteronormative and colonial gaze" in Cape Town, South Africa.

#FemmeInPublic is a Cape Town-based movement exploring trans, femme identity in South Africa.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

Keep reading... Show less
Art
Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.