A certain music industry rag wrote a certain article that really got me in my feelings on a couple of levels: not only was it simply badly written, but it was below-the-belt and made unnecessary digs for no reason other than -my guess- to establish some kind of relevancy by hating on a woman who’d done nothing except mind her own business. I’m still a li’l upset. The woman in question is Awa Khiwe, Bulawayo’s rap goddess, That Nkayi Girl. You can read my response to that article here.
4 or 5 days ago Awa Khiwe released her new single, Ngeke Bengimele. While I have thoughts about addressing haters, Awa merely states her truth and keeps things moving because if you’re going to address haters batshele ka one basale betshiselwa. She says “Ngeke bengimele…vele kumic I’m murder/I’m at the top ng’hlezi ngedwa” and futhi shame, she’s not wrong. She proceeds to break it down using abongwaqa abaqamul’ is’phaqa and with a lyrical mastery I envy and am determined to study. It takes the skill of the gods to use ordinary language to say extraordinary things, and Awa is a goddess. Believe it.
I don’t know things about music which is why I won’t comment on ‘the beat’ except to say it melds with the rapper’s cadence rather effectively, but I do know things about writing.
When I tell you that this is incredible writing you must know that I’m not playing.
Ngiyimbulu entweni zamabala. I like it when language is used skillfully, masterfully, and above all accurately and creatively; that sh*t turns me the pharque on. When you can use ordinary language to say extraordinary things, I fall a little bit in love. You see, anybody can open up a thesaurus and use big words to describe everyday things, but it takes real skill and talent to use simple words in new ways. Who else could have come up with “ngibadla khatshana njengombhobhobho” to make a point about the spot at the top that’s been empty for four years, except the queen of Ndebele rap, That Nkayi Girl? How dare bazibize queen uAwa Khiwe engekho?
There isn’t a Bulawayo lyricist alive who can string words together and make us feel things like Awa Khiwe can. As you listen you’re impressed by the lyrical content, blown away by the size of the ego that dares to say “I am the best,” and then humbled and silenced into agreement when you realise that it’s not bragging if it’s true.
Awa Khiwe’s got barz and the world was never ready
Abanye bayazama but shame abakafiki. Yes, I’m including all your favs. Show me a writer who can use IsiNdebele like Awa can, outside of politics and religion/anti-religion, and I’ll show you Bulawayo’s No.2 lyricist.
Lingangiphikisi ngile allergy.