"Dear brothers and sisters. The people who support and buy our music are the poor of the African world. We have to include their sufferings in our recordings because we cannot keep asking them only to romance and dance. The time has arrived for us to restore the best elements of our heritage back into our lives. To relearn and reteach our own languages and history to our people and the rest of humanity."
Azania, meaning South Africa, a country that has been under colonial rule for decades only to regain "democracy" in 1994 yet nothing has changed, at least for the natives of this land. We dare not to speak about the struggles of the past as it brings back old wounds, but how do we heal if we don't look back to see how far we've come to trace the progress and plan for where we are headed in the future?
Sizwe Moeketsi, rap name Reason, reflects and relives the struggles and ills still faced by the people of South Africa through a song he released ahead of Freedom Day in April 2018, Azania. Assisted by jazz legend, Sibongile Khumalo, on a Swizz Beatz production he speaks on poverty; unemployment, and other ills including the youth caught up in drug abuse. Azania sets the tone and sentiment for the rapper's album which is of the same name.
Nkosi Yam', a song coming right after the intro done by singer Nelisiwe Sibiya, is gospel you can flex to, themed around faith and gratitude, he thanks God for the blessings he has given him, as well as keeping him in the game. In the same manner, he reflects on his journey and longevity on a MaWillies sampled song titled Banani Mavoko. Here he raps, "Everybody's asking for some deep shit/ Everybody telling me they need this/ Back when I was on it they was tweeting/ Everybody saying this some weak shit," referencing how people will consider the "real rap" as weak, but when he makes the switch to more mellow sounds, they say they need that which they considered whack. Aren't we a bunch of confused people?
"I'm from a cashless society/ The biggest part of the economy/ Where poverty is the equality," Reason spits trading bars with lyricist Ginger Trill on Cashless Society as they address the effects of apartheid in the hood and the fact that no one is willing to voice out the poverty. Staying in the hood, on 10111 with The Muffinz he speaks on police brutality asking whose side are they on, "It's unfair cause it's never clear who's the enemy, like everybody on the other side is a felony," going on to say, "It's very hard to tell who you protect when you shoot at me."
On a lighter note, other songs featured on Azania include: Champagne & Water featuring Mick Jenkins; an all East Rand banger with Kwesta and Kid X, O Suna Mang, Home Alone, a steamy Una Rams assisted song about inviting a girl over to your place called Byela Mina, a Gemini Major feature 420 #Ntp, as well as Bag Dat Happiness 4 Sale with trumpeter Mo-T. Reason touches on parenting with 4 The Kidz featuring pH Raw X and Mr Beef, and then he calls out rappers for being pretentious looking at how they take shots at each other on twitter but go quiet when they meet on Lying.
This is a solid body of work, and this being his 6th album I think it's safe to say that this is not a trap album, this is not a boombap album, THIS IS A REASON ALBUM. Check it out: