We Made It
Everything about 2020's We Made It has been carefully curated to celebrate Mi Casa's journey together. From the heavyweight features, to the precise lyrical detail, to the outline of Africa on the album artwork that pays tribute to the blue graphic on the cover of their 2011 debut album. Everything is deliberate.
“The whole strategy behind this album was to flip everything we’ve ever done on its head and get ourselves completely out of any comfort zone that we’ve been put in over the last 10 years,” vocalist and guitarist J’Something tells Apple Music.
Renting a house in the middle of Mpumalanga, surrounded entirely by nature, the trio invited duo Jay Em to co-produce the album alongside them, creating a much-needed creative bubble where they could zone out and hone in on the album’s construction.
“Ten years later, after thinking that we would break up, we pulled together and we pushed through. And that, for us, is a very important message in our story: that on the other of uncertainty lies fruit that tastes sweeter than anything else,” he explains.
Here, J’Something talks us through the 13 tracks that are sure to resonate socially and musically with both old and new audiences alike.
Sober “This record is the most honest we’ve been. I swear on it and Mi Casa’s never sworn on a record. Now we’re talking about sex and making out, this is how honest and real we’re being. Also we’re in our thirties now, we’re married and we’ve got kids—we’re men. And I think for a very long time we were scared to be honest because of the pop commercial-ness of Mi Casa, but this is one of those tracks that push the boundaries a bit more.”
Obsessed “Lyrically, this is in my top three songs that I’ve ever written, it’s such a power track. I start off saying, you’re obsessed and you think you’ve got it all together and it irritates me how you’re always right and I’m always wrong. And then I say, wait, I’m actually the one who’s obsessed. And then I say, no wait, we’re both obsessed so let's just shut up and make up, and that’s the culmination.”
How Could You (feat. Rouge) “I like to call this a trap-soul movement, because I feel like that’s what we really tried to tap into, and there’s this extension of R&B that’s developed recently that’s an infusion of soul and trap. I’ve never been heartbroken, so that’s why I’ve never written a heartbreak song, but I try to make sure that everything I write about is authentic and speaks to someone or something in my life. So the one Jay Em brother had recently gone through a bad heartbreak and my brother was also going through a really hard time, so I drew a lot of inspiration from that, singing, I was only good to you how could you do this to me?”
Love Everything About You (feat. Jay Em) “Even though Jay Em were a part of every song from a production point of view, this song was led by them and I wanted to make sure that that was showcased. This stems from the idea of girls looking into the mirror and thinking that they’re never enough—wondering, am I pretty enough, am I dressed okay? But the song says you don’t have to change anything for anybody. I obviously write a lot of our songs for my wife, but I'm inspired by the bigger picture, and that’s what that song speaks about. Don’t ever shy away from who you are because of peer pressure.”
Church Bells “This was a song I wrote on the feelings I had when I had my lobola. The music video and the song speak to this futuristic look at an African traditional wedding between two people who don’t live at that place anymore and are revisiting their home. Its message mixes Western culture with African culture, and as far as ceremonies go, the lyrics speak about how I’m feeling for this person and how desperate I am to be with this person—that I can’t wait to tell the world how I’ve found her.”
Sweet Wine “If you listen to the record as a whole, you’ll find that this is the only song that sounds like an old, traditional, typical Mi Casa record. The idea was to give you a song that speaks to our past and speaks to all the things that we’ve done, saying, we’re only getting better—like wine. But it’s also musically paying tribute to where we’ve come from.”
Eve “This speaks about current situations from an African point of view, things that we can’t believe are realities, like girls going missing, slavery, pollution. All those things that are going on in society that we wanted to highlight and say, like, yo, are we paying attention? It all started with the story of Eve and Adam—but listen, there are not only snakes in the garden, there are snakes everywhere.”
Banza & Pasty “Banza [Kgasoane] is Mo’s dad and Patsy is Mo’s mom. Banza was part of Mango Groove, he was the lead trumpeter, so the lineage of Mi Casa is really something that I’ve been pressing in on—we come from roots that were stemmed in greats. We were so influenced by Mango Groove whilst Mo’s dad was still alive, so the challenge I gave Mo for this was to try and get into a zone where his dad is playing trumpet for his mom. When people listen to it, we want them to think of Mo’s parents and this legend of a trumpeter and how he would play for his wife if he was still around.”
Mamela “The song that unfolds after the interlude is this incredible Afropop record that excites the shit out of you because it’s so beautifully written. Mamela means listen, and it speaks about a song that I started to write during one of the hardest times of my life that gave me an appreciation for every day. I find it hard to not shed a tear when I’m performing this, because it means so much to me.”
Chucks “We try and make songs predominantly to inspire. We try to write songs that leave you feeling good, that leave you feeling optimistic. We wanted to write a song that spoke exactly to that, but the magic that happened here was that we resonated so much with the chorus that everyone in the house, including our private chef that we had, sang on the chorus. So we all try and emulate the unity that we have in this song. The first time we performed this was at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town and after the show we got called back because 6000 people were singing the chorus. So the song speaks about hope and trying to find the positivity around us, because we have so much to be thankful for.”
Mr. Loverman “Mr Loverman is a smooth man, he’s a man who knows how to start a party. He’s not trying too hard but he seems to get the attention of all the girls. Sometimes you look at a guy and you’re like, he’s just so smooth, how did he do that? And this song speaks to that. There are many smooth guys in my circle and I was thinking a lot about them.”
Home Alone (feat. AKA) “This song came to life while we were watching TV and talking about our favourite movies, and I mentioned Home Alone. Then we were like, maybe we should do a track about long-distance relationships and how we wonder what that other person is doing all the time and how we wanna link up. I also love how it translates at the end with the climax and how it ends up turning.”
One Day (feat. Stilo Magolide) “We didn’t chase making a commercial hit on this album, and yet things turned out so organically with this song, because we’re more inclined to pop, but this one’s all about us becoming fathers. The whole song evolves around going on a trip to celebrate because our band is growing, our team is growing, with Stilo’s verse speaking directly to the mother and then to his future child. Melodically it’s inspired by the whole Soulection movement that’s going on at the moment.”