I was sitting close to the back of the room. Hungry AF and slightly delirious from the day I’d just had. Earlier, I had given my first ever presentation about music journalism in an office space full of aspirant youth, after all.
But there I was sitting in this room full of older gentlemen and a few pretty ladies, listening to a soccer legend break down his trials and triumphs. I don’t even really know the purpose of a corner kick so you can imagine how out of place I felt.
But the promise of what was to come was too good to not attend.
This was going to be the first time in ages that I’d see Kanyi Mavi perform. And she didn’t disappoint. The rapper is one of the illest lyricists I’ve ever heard. She primarily raps in Xhosa and with equal parts effervescence and the nonchalance of a writer who knows you’ll probably get this line on your way home. But you already know all of that.
I was happy to watch her perform her new single, Andizenzi. As I said to Lulama, (my friend and the soccer enthusiast who let me roll with her that night) this is probably Kanyi’s most pop-sounding song ever. It’s like Katy Perry with bars. Or maybe, on second listen – click play below – it’s just the laser beam-y sounding bits.
Sporting a white romper, an oversized jersey, Timbs and blue lipstick – complemented by the white face markings she usually dons during performances – this felt like an upset of conventional rap settings. She was performing at a soccer event!
All of that to say: Kanyi isn’t playing by the old rules. She was already adept at giving them the middle finger anyway by consistently bringing her culture into one that regards the American one so highly.
“Xa k’fika lentombi, kuchinch’ isimo salomphakathi,” she raps. I believe it.