"When you say you're doing it 'for the culture' think about who's culture you're really representing. Are you simply adopting the world's culture or are you bringing your culture to the world?"
I don't know where to start, nor how many times I listened to this project. My soul is way above earth's gravity at the African pride that is beaming out of this piece of art. Aewon Wolf does it yet again touching a nerve with his deliberate and intentional cultural agenda. Something that leaves much room for intense admiration for a young artist functioning in this era of 2 minute results and expectations; digitisation, and the highest level of identity confusion from Africans.
He opens the project with a stark announcement of his arrival with a powerful clip that reiterates how Africa has lost touch with its own strength and value. Khumz' piercing vocals tug at your heart as a reminder to go back to who you are. I mean, this intro alone is enough to shut down Friday and have us all go home. Just as his PSA closes, he dips into the familiar and heartwarming Bambelela which more than signifies Aewon's esteem for his roots with the Afropop influence in Mnqobi's chorus merged with the consuming sounds of mbaqanga and touches of iscathamiya. The music seems to flow so well despite the high influence of traditional elements in it 'cause the transition between the former track and What You Looking For is so seamless it feels like the natural occurrence of a sun rising after a dark night. The top quarter of the project focuses on Aewon's "mack game" where he shares his feelings about love and doing it the right way, traditional rituals that make things to connect with makoti through the uncles. It's all in the rich Zulu influences on the tracks with Mnqobi.
After we've taken care of home we head out into our rockstar life with huge doses of a Zulu boy steadfast in our pockets as you hear the "eshe" ad-lib on the dub-step/electro influenced In The Wild. Man, I wish I could do a whole thread breaking down the significance of Aewon's traditional references on this project. While still on that happy note we drive up to Lefika (Maftown) with Khuli Chana who's a chameleon when coming to moulding his Motswako flavour into any space. He shows up so well alongside Aewon on Wang'thola in another collab between them. We dip into another party thereafter, this time around with a heavy house kick accompanied by the enchanting vocal wizard Mnqobi on The Other Side - ayi ngeke, uyacula ubuti bafowethu. After this, Aewon dips into a "heal the world" type of direction in this part of the project where he makes sure to spread love if it hasn't been obvious that the whole project is actually based on love, the love of self, culture, your people and your roots. He makes it completely obvious for you on Little Love.
Say, how many of you can relate to the harsh life of trying to get through your painful degree that your family can't even afford, with no money for food, torn clothes and writing exams with gremlins dancing in your stomach? Bless Aewon for reminding us that even successful people like him have really seen the kind of Adversity that many a South African child faces on the road to self improvement. He zooms in beyond your own personal struggles to highlight the problems that the black community faces such as violence against women. To me Khuluma directs the conversation of "men are trash" where society looks on in an abusive family situation saying, "indaba zabantu ababili awuzingene." Aewon has more than won my heart with this project. There's nothing that my heart longs for than the stories of our people being told by our bright, young artists. This is how the ancestors increase your hand mntase.
We close off the project with a slight reprimand and self reminder of the choice to continuously stay true to yourself, but most importantly the teachings of the people who raised you. Don't come into these city lights and get blinded into weird things that won't get you any closer to yourself and your true destiny. Say it with me, "we're all South African as f%!k" Happy belated birthday to the king of African youth pride and cool; the leader of the pack of Wolves, the new age spawn of Ladysmith Black Mamabazo's kindred spirits. ALL HAIL AEWON WOLF!