Editors' Notes On his debut album, Molimo, Manu WorldStar weaves a mystical essence from Afropop melodies and hip-hop inflections. “‘Molimo’ means ‘my spirit’ in Lingala. I decided to call it ‘my spirit’ because this album holds the deepest thoughts and desires of my spirit,” he tells Apple Music. “You get to understand what is dear to my heart, what values I have and how I love to be in love.” Below, the rapper talks us through the messages behind each track.

Celebrate
“Growing up my parents always told me that the first thing you have to do is thank God for what you have. I wanted to start this album in the same way. I’m celebrating where I’ve come from—where I am now, and what I’ve achieved. This song is very special to me because I’m really also talking to my mum on the first verse. I’m telling her, ‘Thank you for being patient with me, I’m at a point now where I want to take care of you so let’s thank God that we made it.’”

Molimo
“The album title came from this song. I’d finished the whole project but I didn’t know what to name it. It embodies everything that I’m saying with this album. I believe that when people play this song—knowing that it’s the title track—they’re not gonna believe the sounds that come out of this. It’s a celebratory song, too, kind of braggadocious, ‘cause in the chorus I’m saying, ‘My spirit…there’s good things coming towards you.’ It’s a very fun, vibe-y song.”

Nalingi Remix (feat. Sjava, Roberto & $pacely)
“Sjava, Roberto and $pacely…I hit them all up in the DMs and my fans were very present in the process. We came up with his record that was super amazing. It just took the song to an African space. I did all I could with the song on my own and now I needed some help from my African brothers.”

Wonderlust (feat. Rowlene)
“I’ve known Rowlene for a few months and she’s a very beautifully spirited person. The day we got into the studio we made a lot of demos and ‘Wonderlust’ came about. I’d already made the song and when I played it to her she drew towards it. I feel like a big part of what drew her is because she’s living the song’s content, too. We’re both at a stage of our careers where we’re picturing what it’s gonna be like when we’re five years ahead: ‘Will I ever be a real don dada?’”

Choko
“I wasn’t in a great space when I wrote this but I used this song as my therapy-slash-testimony. I felt very stagnant where I was and I wanted to feel different. I prayed to God for blessings…monetary blessings, spiritual blessings and healing. That same night I went to the studio and when I heard this beat I immediately remembered the prayer I’d said in the morning. I used that as a reference and as I was writing the song I was healing myself.”

I Choose You (feat. Gemini Major)
“Gemini co-produced this one with Master A Flat. We were all in the studio that night, the same night we actually finished ‘Wonderlust’. We came up with this record which is so beautiful. From the beginning to the end of this process, it was amazing. It took us two hours to create this whole song—from scratch!”

Mmangwane (feat. Focalistic)
“I did things a bit differently with this one, ‘cause all the songs on my album I was literally with the producers. This time around I wanted to see if there’s gonna be a diamond in the rough somewhere. This one’s produced by this young guy from Rustenburg, Sihle. I was going through these beats (in my email) and when I heard this one my spirit called out Focalistic’s name. It was a lovely experience singing in Sotho and Tswana. This has ‘Nalingi’ vibes, but very local.”

Pressure (feat. Mariechan)
“Another beautiful song! It’s about feeling pressure but understanding that love can conquer it. It’s showcasing how love can sometimes not be great, but because I love you I’ll stick with you and I’ll stick with it. I had released a snippet of it and people loved it and started calling it the chale song.”

Pray for You (feat. Aubrey Qwana)
“Aubrey took this to people I would never have reached. That’s why I love this collaboration…we get to touch hearts in different places. Ami Faku also helped write this song. She was in the studio when we were creating it and I didn’t want her not to have a hand in this. It’s a very powerful song and I feel like people are gonna use it to be inspired.”

Never Die, Multiply
“When I wrote this I felt low. I had just lost a good friend of mine and it hit me hard because he took his own life. I wanted to create something in memory of all the lost boys. When I say, ‘I got angels to the left and the right,’ I’m saying those angels are my brothers that I’ve lost. I’m really trying to pay respect and also celebrate their spirits being with me even though they aren’t. And to the ones that are still here: let’s stay focused because together we can multiply.”

Choko (Part 2) (feat. ANATII)
“I didn’t really expect this ANATII verse. I was thinking I might intro my album with this song. I was sitting with the demo and my girl said, ‘This song would sound amazing with ANATII.’ A week later after my album was done, I booked out a studio for mixing and mastering. Mind you, all the songs on the album were done except for ‘Choko’. As I’m about to finish my session and pack up—whilst ‘Choko’ is playing—in ANATII walks. He’s bumping his head and he’s like. ‘Is this you? No ways dude, let me get on this song.’ It’s literally God!”

Fire Emoji (feat. Rouge)
“We did this song two years ago and I always knew that I wanted to keep this for my album. The reason I chose to end with this is because I wanted to end with a celebration.”

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2:51
 
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3:47
 
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3:22
 
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3:11
 
6
2:48
 
7
4:05
 
8
3:18
 
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3:18
 
10
2:42
 
11
3:38
 
12
3:29
 

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