Speak N Vrostaan

Speak N Vrostaan

On their collaborative project Speak N Vrostaan, Kwesta and Kabza De Small celebrate the township, its people and the soundtrack to their lived experiences. “This is an album for the people,” Kwesta tells Apple Music.” We could either be stubborn about what we wanted to do or be honest about who we're doing it for. The title is really about wanting what we're saying to be fully understood by them.” Folding together their separate worlds, the rapper and amapiano producer also sought to develop a musical connection without leaning too heavily either way. “We didn't want to do too much of what we’re primarily known for,” Kwesta shares. “We wanted to find something that spoke to both our backgrounds and kwaito was the most natural landing spot.” Here he talks us through the album, track by track. “Abu Dhabi” (feat. Professor) “All these songs came up on the spot and pieced themselves together. We were in the studio hanging out and Kabza was working on a beat, as he generally does. I sort of started mumbling and obviously the first word that came to mind was ‘eKasi’. This beat kinda feels Afrotech-ish, so it took me to a dark place. I wanted to talk about the bad side of the hood and how dangerous it is. As I came up with more words I was like ‘Let's talk about that—we know all about death and hunger in this life—but today we’re not gonna walk around with that hanging over our heads. I just wanted to forget all those things. I recorded the hook without words and when I needed to figure it out, in walked Professor out of nowhere. So you have Professor who's a legend, then you have me who came after that but right before Kabza. So it's these three generations on one song and it’s something we didn’t even plan.” “Huzet” (feat. Papta Mancane, MAE & Fka Mash) “‘Huzet’ was so special: I think it's just the refreshing sound of it. Fka Mash was on the keys and just playing around with chords. Kabza’s like this ball of energy—he just walked into the room shouting 'huzet' and that was the beginning of a magical moment. He sat down and started building around those chords with everyone screaming ‘huzet’. There's parts on the song where that’s actually Robot Boii’s voice! The song stayed like that for a couple of months before MAE came on. He was in studio, we bumped it and the Township Counsellor himself was like ‘Now you're speaking to me’. As soon as he jumped on the whole song came together. Not in my wildest dreams did I think he'd do what he did to it. Mine and Kabza's bars are very wordy and he just came in with the melody. He didn't even write it down and did just two takes!” “Golokoqo” (feat. Sizwe Alakine) “I love working with Sizwe and it's not just because we come from the same hood. I like his cadence and approach to music ‘cause it's not typical. This was us just having fun and that's why the song has almost no structure. We had just wrapped something up and we were messing around in that cooling down moment. Sizwe has a song with Mr JazziQ that they'd recorded at Kabza's studio. They took a portion of that and flipped it on its head; keeping the rhyme scheme but saying something different.” “Mrholo Wayizolo” (feat. Masterpiece YVK & Papta Mancane) “This wasn’t meant to be on the album but we posted some footage of us creating music and the response was un-ignorable. I think it's the relatability more than anything. ‘R.I.P mrholo’ is either a line you use for fun when you're going out and balling, having fun or there’s the reality of it—there’s never enough to keep anyway. We live the hand-to-mouth lifestyle as the common people in this country and if you manage to get some things you like in between that, that's dope.” “Is'pantsula” (feat. Papta Mancane) “This is an ode to Trompies. If you listen to some of Spikiri’s stuff, especially “Ngeke Balunge” I think you can pick that up. The inspiration for the groove and style of beat was taken from that. For me Trompies popularised being pantsula, having absolute confidence, being who you are and screaming it out to the world. This is quite layered 'cause there's also another side to it, attached to a personal story. I had a cousin of mine who passed away last year and his nickname was Pantsula. He really loved kwaito, and another intention of mine with this album is as a small dedication to him. It's kind of a way to bring him closer to me and everybody that loved him. Without paying homage we're not acknowledging the blessings.” “Emathandweni” (feat. Young Stunna) “This was Kabza doing his experimental thing and I loved the instrumentation so much! I kept it as a beat and just kept playing it because I didn't know where it sat—it’s like ‘80s R&B and has that funk. It's a song that speaks to my situation with regards to our home and being married. I'm just describing that and talking about things that are very me… very Senzo.” “Umngani” (feat. Papta Mancane) “Makwa was there for almost every session and mixed and mastered the whole album. We have such a great history musically and it was dope to reconnect. No one would have been better to contribute to the album ‘cause he's about this sound. When I hear this I don't picture the posh side of the hood that has infrastructure. With that big bass and very hard beat I picture gravel roads and dusty streets. Here we've just left the popular spot and now we're at a little tavern in a garage that opens after hours. I didn't want to overcomplicate it—it’s just about that feeling. You'd have to know it to understand.” “Umbono” (feat. Papta Mancane) “This one was produced by the guitarist Tshego AMG, who's also my music director. I went back to Kabza and played it for him and he came up with this hook. A lot of the vibes are Kabza’s and for someone who's never on the mic, it's amazing what he comes up with. This is a little bit more uptempo and maybe closer to amapiano than anything else on here. Yes, we're addressing the haters and getting rid of evil spirits but this song is really just playful.” “Sghubu s'ka Kabza” (feat. DJ Tira, Hulumeni & Masterpiece YVK) “We’d just spent the entire night recording and I'd crashed on the couch. You know how sometimes you're hungover and need just one cold one to get you back on a level? Well that’s how I woke up and [Da] Muziqal Chef was on the chair making this beat. I came up with 'Sghubu s'ka Kabza' and thought ‘What if I do something corny and tell a girl that sound is how she makes me feel’. ‘You make my heart dance even when I'm sitting down’. There's a bunch of us on this song and again that’s something bottled from the great Spikiri—camaraderie.” “One on One” (feat. Toss) “This beat had always been there and had the chorus done by Pervader. He told me not to forget this one when I did something more hip hop. Kabza kept playing it and I realised I liked the beat so much because it reminded me of the Zola and Amu combo. Those beats weren’t typically kwaito but Zola's attitude and hood demeanour made it that. When that clicked in my head I was like ‘We're gonna need someone’. I thought of Toss' clips of himself rapping on amapiano beats. He's got a very different approach and distinct voice. I was like 'This is our Zola for this type of joint’. I wanted him to own the song and that's why he's at the beginning and end. Just like how the album starts; we got these different eras together so it doesn't seem final. It feels like there's still something coming.”

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