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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
Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

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