Choosing to drop his four-track EP with zero fanfare, Sjava ended his self-imposed hiatus with the surprise release of Umsebenzi. The artist is pictured on the cover in plain clothes in the middle of an open field and holding a sheep by its bridle—an image that speaks more to ritual than the title’s literal translation of “work”. Merging traditional elements with modern composition, Sjava embarks on a journey of artistic evolution as he showcases Afrosoul and R&B anchored by his deliciously rich vocal timbre. But it’s his knack for storytelling that stands out boldest, whether he’s asking a higher power to grant him love and wisdom (“Umcebo”) or warning a future lover that terms and conditions will ultimately apply (“Imigomo Nemibandelo”). Umsebenzi is an honest and heartfelt collection where the singer is stripped bare.